1. Policy Level Activities
1.1 Amendment of Act on Prevention of Domestic Violence, Update the Action plan of prevention of domestic Violence Act and Conduct Awareness programmes to aware instructions working in the same field.
1.1.1 Ammendments to the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act No. 34 of 2005 on Prevention of Domestic Violence were made by a group of legal experts by utilizing the experiences obtained in the execution of the Act and through the research conducted.
1.1.2 The Action Plan prepared for the implementation of the Act No.34 of 2005 on Prevention of Domestic Violence was updated by using the experience in the implementation of the Act during the last ten years and on the research conducted.
1.I.3. As indicated in the Action Plan awareness raising programmes were conducted for the officers of the Women and Children Units in Gampaha, Rathnapura and Monaragala Divisional Secretariats.
A training Module is being prepared on the Act with emphasis on gender, legal provisions and the role of the Police Officers to be used in the Police training.
Cabinet approval has been obtained for the draft Bill on Establishing the National Commission Women. The Legal Draftsman’s concurrence has been obtained and has forwarded it to the Attorney General to seek his clearance.
1.2 Gender Analysis in School Text Books
The members of the National Committee on Women have reviewed the School Text Books and a discussion was held with the Minister of Education on the review with a view to obtain the support of the NIE and the Department of Education Publications for including gender appropriately in preparing the school text books. Discussions were held with both the institutions and finally it was decided to conduct a Gender Mainstreaming programs for the Text Book writers.
1.3 Amendments to the Birth Certificate
Removal of the column 6 of the Birth Certificate on whether parents are married was discussed in length with relevant Ministries. In considering the issues faced by the child as well as the mother. Some of them are the difficulty in admitting the children to schools whose parents are not legally married, difficulties confronted by mothers who were subjected to rape in registering the child birth social stigma faced both by the mother and the child.
This matter was reffered to the Parliament Oversight Committee on Gender and further discussion with the institutions concerned on the issues, which will be emanating as a result of amending the birth certificate. As per the instructions given by the Committee the following media programmes were conducted to ascertain the views of the public on the matter.
- Radio Programmes
- Television discussion
- Obtaining public opinion through social media, Face Book and Twitter
- Articles in the Ministry Web site
Responses received from the public were very positive for the removal of the column.
1.4. Ensuring Rights and Well-fare of Women Female Prisoners
The members of the National Committee on Women paid an observation visit to the Welikada Prison in September. It was observed that women have been imprisoned as a result of drug trafficking, prostitution, monitory frauds etc. At the time of the visit there were 477 detainees and 16 children below the age of 16. The following issues were raised by them.
-Unable to pay the fine
-Unable to give correct evidence
-No proper relationship between the prison and judiciary
-Undue delay in hearing cases
-Inability of the poor inmates to obtain legal assistance
-Necessary background is not available to appeal
-Lack of sanitary facilities
Further discussions were held with the Prison management and accordingly the management agreed to take further action on the matters raised.
1.5 Research on Social Protection Measures for the Females of the Informal Sector
The purpose of the research is to compare the social protection policies available both for the formal and informal sectors and to provide recommendations in order to develop policies for women in the informal sector. Data has been collected from nine Districts representing the nine Provinces.
In the selection of the Districts more emphasis has been made for the Districts, where a highest percentage of women contributing to the informal sector economy.
2. Programmes on Prevention of Gender Based Violence
2.1 Forum Discussions
2.1.1 Discussion on CEDAW Concluding Observations
The discussion was held with the participation of both the government and non-governmental Organizations highlighting the responsibility of the relevant Ministries to take necessary action regarding the areas coming under their purview.
Point out the matters by the Secretary
Participants of the Forum
2.1.2 Forum Discussion on Elderly Women
The objective of the Discussion was to identify potential areas for the wellbeing of the Elderly Women. Presentations were made on the present situation of the elderly women, their health needs and role of the government for the welfare of the elderly and on addressing their needs. NCW expects to contribute to policy issues pertaining to elderly women.
2.2 Programmes on Reproductive Health
The National Committee on Women in collaboration with the Family Health Bureau has prepared a training module for training of Women Development Officers and Counselling officers on the subject. The training has been carried out in Western, North Western and the Central Provinces. The subject areas covered by the training are sexuality and reproductive health, identifying organs of the body, underage pregnancies and consequences, family planning and giving birth to a healthy child.
2.3 Programmes on Preventing Work Place Harassment
Of the eight programmes planned five programmes have been conducted for the employees working in the private sector companies. At these training programmes the subjects of gender, cyber violence , harassments in transport, remedial actions and the challenges were discussed Around 1,500 participants have attended these programmes.
Programme conducted in Polgahawela
2.4 16 Day Activism Programmes
Several programmes are scheduled to take place to commemorate the 16 Days of Activism, which falls from 24th November – 10th December. Two Mobile service programmes will be held in Puttalanm and Anuradhapura to provide legal aid, counselling, health services and essential services offered to the public by the Divisional Secretariat. Media discussions and SMS campaigns will be organized to raise awareness among the public for requesting their support to eliminate violence during the period.
3. Gender Mainstreaming Programmes
3.1 Training of Heads of Divisions of the Provincial Councils
This programme was held on the 31st July and 1st August at Hector Kobbekaduwa Agrarian Research Centre, which was attended by 50 officials representing the Women Ministries and Planning divisions. The programme focused attention on gender concepts, integrating gender in planning, gender budgeting and developing interpersonal relationships among Ministries.
Sensitization workshop conducted in Colombo
3.2 Gender Mainstreaming Programme for Ministries Working on Resettlement, Rehabilitation and Reconciliation
Integration of gender in the policies and programmes of the three Ministries working on the above areas have been analyzed prior to the conduct of gender mainstreaming programmes. Two programs in the Ministries of Reconciliation and National Integration, and Rehabilitation and Resettlement were conducted with the participation of 160 officials. The subjects of gender, gender mainstreaming and gender budgeting were discussed at these training programmes.
3.3 Gender Data Base
Data of the 1938 Help Line and the Complaint Centre is being sent regularly to the Ministry data base. A pilot project is in operation in the Colombo District for the collection of GBV data. Training programs were held for the officers of the Women and Children Units, Police Officers and relevant stakeholders of the Colombo District on collection of data according to the format revised. From July this year data of Colombo District are entering to the database.
4. Programme Implemented for Increasing Political Participation of Women
4.1. Certificate Course on Empowering Women in Politics
In terms of the provisions stated in the CEDAW and the Women’s Charter the National Committee on Women has been conducting Diploma as well as Certificate course for women since 2010.
In 2016, a certificate course was conducted for potential women candidates in collaboration with University of Peradeniya. Forty women participated at this programme.
Certificate holders of the Course and Resource Persons
4.2. Training and Enhancing Communication Skill of Women Aspiring to Enter into Politics.
The objective of the programme is to encourage women to enter into politics, for active participation in policy formulation and to enhance the knowledge and quality improvement of women, who aspire to enter into politics.
Accordingly a programme to enhance skills as well as knowledge and capacity of prospective women candidates, the National Committee has conducted 04 programmes in Badulla, Nuwara Eliya, Colombo and Kurunegala, in collaboration with the International Foundation for Electoral System. More than 250 women, representing the major political parties and who have received nominations have participated in these programmes.
4.3. Training of WDO on Voter Education.
In order to educate the public on the need to increasing participation of women in politics, educating the voters and electing sensitive representatives, the NCW has conducted 3 programmes for the WDOs in Anuradhapura, Badulla and Monaragala. 210 WDOs participated at the programme.
A similar voter education programme was conducted for the women leaders of the Bala Mandalayas in the Districts of Nuwara Eliya, Anuradhapura, Kurunegala and Puttlam. Two hundred and forty women leaders participated at the programmes.
5. Follow up work on Research conducted by the NCW.
5.1. Research on Cyber Violence
Based on the recommendations made in the Research, the NCW has written to organizations working on cybercrimes for amending the laws regarding cybercrimes, data collection and conducting awareness raising programmes, for the officers working on Gender Based Violence.
The officers of the 1938 Help line was given a training on cyber violence.
Policy level discussion
5.2. Research on Violence Against Women in the Plantations
Based on the recommendations made in the study, a pilot programme for elimination of Gender Based Violence (GBV) has been commenced in Haputale Estate, in consultation with the Plantation Trust. Data on GBV, Child abuse, alcoholism, and work place violence are been collected by the Community Development Officer. Programmes based on these subject areas will be conducted in November.
5.3. Research on Child Mothers.
Awareness raising programmes were conducted for the youth, on reproductive health, rights and the laws applicable.
Discussions was held with policy makers on improving the sections on reproductive health in school text books. Modules on reproductive health has been developed in collaboration with the Family Health Bureau.
6.1.“Kantha Probodaya” Radio Discussion Series in 2017
The “Kantha Probodaya” Radio discussion is broadcast to create awareness among the listeners on GBV and current women’s issues.
The questions raised after listening to the programme, has been answered by the Legal Officers attached to the NCW. So far 04 programmes in Singhala and 03 programmes in Tamil have been broadcast. It is planned to conduct 04 more programmes within the course of the year.
6.2. Script Writing Competition on Happy Family Concept.
It is expected to develop a short video film on Happy Family aiming at developing social values to counter violence, adultery, rape, suicides, and illegal love affairs.
6.3. Media Discussion to Develop a Policy on Portrayal of Women in Media
A meeting was held in October in collaboration with the Media Ministry in order to develop a women sensitive media policy, aiming to develop positive portrayal of women and media reporting on GBV.
Participants at the decision making levels of both printed and electronic media participated at the meeting. Initial planning is ongoing for developing the media Policy.
6.4. “Vanitha Vibava Magazine”
The 3rd and 4th issues of Vanitha Vibawa magazines are being printed. These issues includes articles on women’s development, creative writing and programmes implemented by the Ministry and NCW.
6.5. Partners in Progress
Articles have been collected for the magazine Partners for Progress which includes research articles and current topic on gender.
7. Complaint Centre and 1938 Women Helpline
7.1 Gender Complaint Centre
The Complaint Centre provides relief services to those who are subjected to violence and on violation of women’s rights. Accordingly complaints are received on violation of rights, which are referred to government and non-governmental organizations to investigate and for provision of referral services. The clients are provided with legal aid given by the lawyers attached to the National Committee on Women.
Complaints could be made by making visits to the Centre or communicating through letters, faxes or by e-mails in any language preferred. The complaints are usually on Violence Against Women, sexual harassment, family disputes, maintenance, work place harassments etc. Up to August 2017 the Centre has received 206 complaints.
7.2. 1938 Women’s Help Line
The Women’s Helpline was established in March 2016, as a project to extend the services provided to women affected by violence. The Helpline receives complaints in all three languages and is in operation from 8.30 a.m to 5.15 p.m on week days. The Helpline records the complaints received and refer to appropriate organizations namely the Police, Police Women and Children’s Desks, Legal Aids Commission, National Child Protection Authority, Foreign Employment Bureau and the Divisional Secretariats. Services are given to the needy through the Ministry officials working at the Unit in the Divisional Secretariats. Legal aid is directly given to women by the Legal Officers attached to the National Committee on Women.
Although the complaints are referred to outside agencies the unit monitors the cases till they are been resolved. The complaints received are gradually being increased. In 2014, 398 cases have been received and 777 in 2015. In 2016 1382 were received while the number received upto August 2017 is 866. The number of cases referred to outside organizations in 2017 are given below.
Divisional Secretariats 133
Legal Aid Commission 65
Other organizations 16
7.2.1 Stress Management Programmes Conducted for Officers of the Women Help Line and the Complaint Centre
Programmes on Stress Management and capacity development programmes have been conducted for the officers attached.
Stress management workshop conducted in Horana
8. International Women’s Day Walk
In order to arouse women’s voices on their wellbeing the Ministry has organized a Walk to mark the International Women’s Day on the 1st March 2017. The Walk was carried out in the 25 Districts with participation of over 7,000 women.
Hon Minister of Women and Child Affairs, Prof. Maitree Wickremasinghe, Hon Minister for Foreign Affairs, Thalatha Atukorale, Mrs. Chandrani Senratne, Secretary, Ministry of Women and Child Affairs, Additional Secretary (Development) & Brand Ambassador-Ministry of Women and Child Affairs, Ms. Jayanthi Kuru-Utumpala participated in the Women’s Day walk conducted on 01.03.2017
Participants of the walk
Programmes Expected to be Implemented in 2018
- Policy and research
- Gender mainstreaming
- Prevention of Violence Against Women
- Increasing participation of Women in Politics
- Media programmes
- Strengthening 1938 Helpline and the Complaint Centre
- Programmes in parallel with International Day of Girl Child