Local News Update: The High Commission of Canada to Sri Lanka together with the Asia Foundation launched its flagship development initiative in Sri Lanka named ‘Women’s Voice and Leadership’ (WVL).
This launch took place on December 17, 2019, at the official residence of the Canadian High Commissioner with over seventy participants representing other missions, development partners, women’s rights organizations, civil society organizations, government and non-governmental participants.
In Sri Lanka, the Asia Foundation will implement the WVL project with a CA$3-million contribution from Global Affairs Canada for the period from 2019-2023.
Addressing the gathering at the launch, the High Commissioner to Canada in Sri Lanka David McKinnon said “Canada firmly believes that promoting gender equality and empowering women and girls is the most effective approach to building a more peaceful, inclusive and a prosperous world”.
The WVL will contribute to Canada’s foreign policy objective of promoting reconciliation in Sri Lanka. This project would also build upon Canada’s previous support to Sri Lankan women’s rights organizations (WROs). 27 WROs representing all provinces of Sri Lanka have been shortlisted to receive funding through a competitive selection process.
Sri Lanka has achieved notable gains in women’s empowerment and gender equity. Yet women’s lives are hindered by continuing challenges. The WVL is unique in its design where the project’s goal is to support the capacity and activities of Sri Lankan local WROs and movements seeking to empower women and girls. Its focus is not thematic but one of supporting WROs to make their own choices about what they want to do in order to advance women’s and girls’ rights and achieve greater gender equality.
“This is indeed a special day for us. We have worked for nearly a year setting in place everything that is needed for the project. We have been in touch with a number of women’s organizations, some of which are here today, and now we are ready to start work. We look forward to the next 4 years where we will have a chance to support the valuable work done by women’s organizations in Sri Lanka and contribute to women’s empowerment,” said Dinesha De Silva Wikramanayake, Country Representative of the Asia Foundation in Sri Lanka.
Canada initiated Women’s Voice and Leadership as a response to a globally recognized gap in predictable, long-term funding and support to women’s rights organizations and movements around the world. The WVL project in Sri Lanka is one of 32 such projects around the world.
In Asia, there are also projects in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Myanmar, and Pakistan. This project supports Canada’s overarching objective of reducing poverty and building a more inclusive, peaceful and prosperous world through the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. This project will be part of the five-year, CA$150-million Canadian global commitment to WVL program.