Saja publishes another research article in International Journal of Multidisciplinary studies on Gender and training needs

Community learning needs in Gender Based Violence with special reference to northern districts in Sri Lanka


The communities in the Northern Sri Lanka recognize gender based discrimination as one of the major problems in their daily activities that leads to disturbances of life at family and community level. There was hardly any evidence of community based mechanisms to address the roots causes of gender based discrimination. Although communities have a basic understanding of the causes of gender discrimination and Gender Based Violence (GBV), key community based entities such as Women Rural Development Societies (WRDS) and youth groups lacked clear understanding of gender based issues, legal framework and the available state mechanisms. Communities’ interaction with the GBV stakeholders also seemed to be very weak and lacked confidence in GBV response mechanisms. Despite ad-hoc interventions to address GBV – primarily reactive, GBV remains a great concern for communities. The existing development programmes failed to focus on prevention of GBV, long term commitment and structured mechanisms from community to district level. Communities were little aware of the available mechanisms to address GBV too.

Learning needs assessment carried out in 2013 in two selected districts in the Northern Province, highlighted that regular awareness raising to sensitize the communities on GBV, confidence building programs specifically for the youth and vulnerable women groups such as women headed households were found to be immediate priorities. Community watch groups could be formed from WRDS and trained to identify, monitor and respond to GBV and should be linked to mechanisms in divisional and district levels. The network can be widened and strengthened through connecting networks in neighboring villages to make them part of larger women voice networks at district and national level. Making men understand gender equality and rights of women are also key to the successful programme outcomes of any future interventions.