The principle of subsidiarity and the provincial level training


The principle of subsidiarity is fundamental to the core functioning of the WPA-SL in all aspects of programme design and implementation, especially to its decision-making.  The WPASL designed its programmes in such a way that decisions are made through a decentralized process of consultation and social dialogue with Regional Partners


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  • Colombo 2 (IMADR)
  • Trincomalee (Kantale United Women’s Organization, and Society for Social Education and Development)
  • Polannaruwa (Ape Shakti and Rights Now)
  • Monaragala (Community Resource Center and Vikalpani)
  • Jaffna (Center for Women and Development)
  • Matara (Human Power Foundation)
  • Hambantota (Ruhunu Rural Women’s Organization)

In close adherence to the aforementioned principle, provincial level workshops were designed by WPA-SL to promote gender justice among local communities and women leaders. These workshops focused on developing the leadership and analytical skills of elected women representatives in provincial councils and local government institutions, including those engaged in provincial administrative functions--i.e. Divisional Secretariat and GramaSevakas. Provincial level workshops provided an orientation for the network members and political activists.  In addition, these workshops enabled WPA-SL to identify potential women leaders in the respective districts and political parties. Lawyers, civil society activists, media personnel, and women’s activists were involved in facilitating interactions and participatory learning.

Four main themes were discussed: challenges related to women’s political participation, scanning the political climate within Sri Lanka, existing political trends such as the 13th, 17th and 18th Amendments, and incorporating the broader experience of politics and the post-war situation.  Further, some training programmes focused on International Conventions in order to provide orientation on obligations, norms and standards to which the government is obliged, and others focused on the Constitution of Sri Lanka.  In 2010, seven provincial level workshops were held with 205 participants. In 2011, nine provincial level workshops were held with 156 participants.  Each workshop was attended by 25-30 participants. 

Provincial level training gallery

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Including the Excluded

The WPA-SL is grounded in an understanding of women’s relations to social conditions – an understanding of gender as an important relationship within the board structure of patriarchy in social relationships, condition and positions.  Sri Lankan women have been enjoying the right to exercise the universal franchise from 1931. Nearly 52 per cent of the population is women.  Sri Lanka also produced the first woman Prime Minister to the World in 1960. Further, women are the major contributors to the country’s foreign exchange earnings and Sri Lankan women’s literacy rate is higher than other South Asian countries. All these things being true, however, women do not represent themselves enough in political and public decision-making bodies in Sir Lanka. Sri Lanka has the worst record of women’s overall participation in national and local legislative bodies in the South-Asian region. Though the majority of women exercise their political rights as voters or campaigners during election times, there was only less than 5.7 per cent of female representation in the parliament in 2010 and in the municipality and local government level participation remains at 1.9 per cent. The percentage of women in parliament between the 1930s and the present has never exceeded six percent.
This shows in conception of the ideology of governance, and in this male-dominated power game of politics, women have been excluded.  Therefore, it is important that women revolutionize and bargain to get their space in policy making with their adroit and finesse.
WPA-SL strengthened partnerships for action, impact and influence through campaigns on political inclusion of women. In short, WPA-SL mission is to engage in `right based’ campaigns to promote women in governance and politics.This campaign was launched during the Pradeshiya Saba Election period.

  • Vote for women campaign during Pradesiya Saba Elections
  • Elect  Women,  and engender local governance
  • Media Campaigns – “making unknown - the known”

o ensure women’s active participation and leadership in politics and governance at all levels, and to promote gender justice, peace building and democracy.