Generally, women are among the first victims of conflict. During the 26 years of civil war, many among them were victims of forced relocation, violence, harassment, human and material loss. After the war, we identified an impressive number of women heading households (WHH). Their husbands were lost or handicapped/mutilated as a result of war, they had been abandoned, rejected. The towns of Oddusuddan and Puthukkudiyiruppu were identified as the most affected by this phenomenon in the north of the country.
The first difficulty encountered by these women is to be able to count on a stable source of revenue that allows them to provide for the needs of their family. This role of head of family is quite unusual in Sri Lankan society. Women had to start making decisions traditionally left to men, having very little experience of the work world and a limited education. However, the families have access to land and agriculture and the development of livestock seems completely suited to the region.
- Development of CBOs (community-based organizations):
The CBO’s objective is to render the women economically independent to exceed certain social barriers. The CBOs also ensure that livelihood projects put in place by each of them will be feasible and lasting. Within these CBOs, the women share their successes, as well as their mistakes and hope to be able to progress together. Additionally, in each of these CBOs, they form savings groups within their towns, each group consists of between 7 and 20 women.
- The granting of micro-loans:
The CBOs started long-term micro-credit programmes. The female members of these groups commit to give 25% of their investment to their CBO, in addition to the monthly saving of their group.
- Livelihood developments:
Our partner association grants a small amount of financial assistance (non-refundable) to beneficiaries in order to allow them to begin an income-generating activity. Additionally, it also provides infrastructures to the beneficiaries, to encourage entrepreneurial ventures (ex: a production unit of bags for young girls or a packing unit).