True happiness and contentment lie in who you are. Humans naturally being social beings shackle themselves to the perceptions of others, and in the process of trying to fit into the so-called acceptable identities or templates, they forget themselves. They forget or ignore some of the most integral and interesting parts of their identity that make them unique. In an era, such as we live in, one such debatable and fought over topic is the topic of gender identity and expression, an essential part of every human being. Gender is a concept that can be broken down into three categories: gender identity gender suppression and physical sex.
In more exciting news, The British Council was awarding grants for several projects…and guess what, we won one too! Several others including Tracy Holsinger, Ashanti, and Hashtag Generation were awarded grants for similar empowering projects as well. Our project aims at developing tools and interfaces … Continue reading Granted! Funds For SRHR Capacity Building.
As the Youth Advocacy Network, we don’t just advocate for rights. We do what we can to empower people lead better lives. This includes training, mentoring, and spreading awareness—all while having regular day jobs.
One of the projects our co-founder Sarah was recently involved in was to help combat sexual and gender-based violence in the plantation sector of Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka already has a Domestic Violence Act, and is a signatory to multiple international machineries and mechanisms. Yet, there is a significantly higher amount of sexual abuse and violence in the plantation sector than in other urban regions.
Well, there are multiple reasons for this. However, to put it simply, some of the biggest factors are poverty and lack of education. The plantation workers have long been an exploited segment of disenfranchised people. Though they have basic rights now (like the right to vote, and being granted Sri Lankan citizenship), they still have long, hard battles. The daily wage system is especially problematic, in addition to being geographically isolated from basic and necessary infrastructure, and not being able to communicate fluently due to language barriers.
Over 31% of women in the estate sector are underweight, as are most of their children. The under five mortality rate is 33/1000 live births as opposed to the national figure of 11/1000 live births.
Additionally, women in the estate sector have extremely low knowledge of gender-based violence, sexually transmitted disease, and related healthcare services.
Alcoholism is rampant in the estates, especially among men. 40% of the estate sector families are drinkers, compared to the 17% in urban and rural areas. This in turn leads to violence in homes.
Estate employees live in line rooms—tiny lodgings with barely any ventilation. They also lack basic facilities. Numerically, only 66.3% have sanitary facilities, 11% has clean drinking water, and 68% of the homes are equipped with electricity.
According to the poverty headcount index in 2012/13, 8.8% of the estate sector families live below the poverty line. 18% of married women between the ages of 15-49 have never been to school.
What can be done to alleviate this?
Community members stated that gender-based violence can reduce if there were effective, and active systems in place. This includes strengthening the police system and enforcing the law properly, getting the support of estate managers in resolving community issues, and ensuring male involvement in discussions.
In addition to this, everyone from children upwards should be made aware of legal repercussions as well.
This includes collective discussions with all concerned authorities. To this end, we organised sessions with
- Public health midwives
- Public health inspectors
- Child development officers
- Women development officers
- Government Agents office staff
We covered topics ranging from sex and gender, forms of violence, the current situation in Sri Lanka, fatal and non-fatal outcomes of sexual and gender-based violence, laws and policies, how to respond, and more.
As a result
We can happily say that access to quality SGBV services for community members,
specifically, women and girls, has improved. There’s also an improvement with Government officers and authorities, in their service delivery
skills on SGBV. They have developed non-judgemental attitudes, especially in gender-responsive, rights-based approaches.
We did have several challenges; from being able to conduct sessions with the police, to getting permission, and developing a healthy relationship between the authorities and volunteers, especially in breaking the power-hierarchy. Not to mention it was also time consuming! However, we think we have managed to make this project sustainable, at least to a certain extent.
And we are definitely happy that we managed to help empower these communities, in a measurable way.
In September 2015 Youth Advocacy Network Sri Lanka initiated the National Youth champions Think Tank on unsafe abortion and network building meeting. The Youth Champions of Asia Safe Abortion Partnership and young peer educators of YPEER Sri Lanka decided to come together and form Youth … Continue reading What we discussed on issues related to SRHR and bodily autonomy of women at the Think Tank
BEIJING+20 YOUTH STATEMENT ON SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH AND RIGHTS AND GENDER EQUALITY SRI LANKA 2015 We, as the young people of Sri Lanka, recognize the important achievements in the field of education and employment opportunities for women since the Beijing Platform for Action 1995. … Continue reading BEIJING+20 YOUTH STATEMENT ON SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH AND RIGHTS AND GENDER EQUALITY SRI LANKA 2015
Beijing+20 youth review and advocacy training was an eye opener for me in terms of understanding the Beijing Deceleration and Platform for Action and the 12 critical areas of concern. It made not only me but the rest of the participants also who are activists … Continue reading The Beijing POA imagines a world where women and girls can exercise their freedom and choices, realize all their rights & participate in decision making meaningfully. IS THIS A REALITY?
සමරිසි විරෝධි සාමාජයක් ජිවත් වීම ගැටලු රැසකට මග පාදයි. අපගේ ප්රජාව තුලින්ම ආදරය, රැකවරණය සොයා ගැනීමට අප පුරුදු වී සිටිමු. ජිවිතය තුලදි අපිව අප ලෙසම පිලිගන්නා අය හමුවෙන බවට අප දැන සිටිමු. එහෙත් ක්වුයර් ප්රජාව තුලද බොහෝ බේද ඇත. ඇතැම් කුවියර් පුද්ගලයන් තම සමාජයේම අනෙක් … Continue reading ආසියාවේ දිවිගෙවන කුයර් පුද්ගලයන්ගේ ජීවිතය – 02
பால்நிலை அடையாளங்களில் மாற்றம் கொண்ட மற்றும் எதிர்பாலற்ற ஒரு சூழலில் வாழும் வாழ்க்கை பல ஏற்றத் தாழ்வுகள் மற்றும் திருப்பங்களுடன் வருகிறது. எங்கள் பால்புதுமை சமூகங்களுக்குள்ளேயே, சில சமயங்களில் தேர்ந்தெடுக்கப்பட்ட குடும்பங்கள் மூலம் கூட, ஏற்றுக்கொள்ளல், அன்பு மற்றும் புரிந்துணர்வு ஆகியவற்றைக் கண்டறிய நாம் கற்றுக்கொண்டோம். நாம் யார் என்பதை ஏற்றுக்கொள்வதற்கும், நம்மை நாம் நேசிப்பதற்கும் எமக்கு உதவும் நபர்கள் எம் வாழ்க்கை … Continue reading ஆசியாவில் பால்புதுமையினரின் வாழ்க்கை – 02
Life in a non-cis, heterosexual context comes with its own ups, downs and twists. Within our own communities, we have learnt to find acceptance, love and closure, sometimes through chosen families. We have learnt that there are people along the way that will help us … Continue reading Being queer and Asian – 02￼
සෑම ක්වියර් පුද්ගලයකුම තම හැදුනුම්කම සහ එයට බැදී ඇති සමාජ මත සමග ගැටීමට සිදුවෙයි. එය ඔවුන් ලෝකය සහ තමාවම දකින අකාරය තීරණය කරයි. මෙය ලෝකය පුරාම දක්නට ඇති තත්වයක් වුවත් ආසියාතිකයන්ට මෙය තවත් සංකීර්ණ වන්නේ එය ජාතිය, ආගම, පීතෘමූලිකත්වය, ස්ත්රී පුරුෂ සමාජභාවය වැනි කාරණා සමග … Continue reading ආසියාවේ දිවිගෙවන කුයර් පුද්ගලයන්ගේ ජීවිතය…
வெவ்வேறுபட்ட சமூக பிரச்சனைகளுக்கும் சிக்கல்களுக்கும் முகம்கொடுத்தல் என்பது அனைத்து பால்புதுமையினருக்கும் பொதுவான ஒரு அனுபவமாகும். இந்த அனுபவங்கள் அவர்கள் சிந்திக்கும் முறையை வடிவமைப்பதுடன் அவர்களின் உலகத்தையும் அவர்களின் நிகழ்காலத்தையும் எதிர்காலத்தையும் புரிந்து கொள்ளும் விதத்தையும் மாற்றி அமைக்கும். இந்த சிக்கல்களில் சில ஒன்றுடன் ஒன்று இணைந்து இருந்தாலும், ஆசிய நாடுகளில் வளரும் நபர்கள் ஆணாதிக்கம், பால், இனம், மதம், பால்நிலை அடையாளம் மற்றும் … Continue reading ஆசியாவில் பால்புதுமையினரின் வாழ்க்கை
The experience of being queer and dealing with societal issues and norms is one that almost every queer person will have to go through in their lives. It shapes their way of thinking and how they will continue to perceive the world and themselves in … Continue reading Being queer and Asian
ng the beast, and rewarding a stranger who came to help with marriage, sex and a lifetime of service are things that fairy tales teach little girls.
One of the most integral parts of oneself is one’s identity. What more, what humans thrive on is the expression of that sense of self and individuality.
අනන්යතාවය යනු පුද්ගලයකු ගේ වැදගත්ම අංශයකි. මෙම ස්වයංභාවය හා පුද්ගලිකත්වය පිළිබඳ ව හැගීම මනුෂ්යයකුගෙ දියුණුවට බලපාන ප්රධාන සාධකයක් වෙයි. සංකීර්ණ සමාජ ආකෘතීන් හා ප්රකාශනයන්ගෙන් ගෙන් සමන්විත වූ ජීවියෙකු ලෙස මනුෂ්යයා වඩාත් දියුණු වන්නේ ප්රකාශනයට අඩු සීමා සහිත වූ අවකාශයන් තුලයි. ස්වයං අනන්යතාවය පුළුල් විශයකි. ස්වයං … Continue reading ස්වයං අනන්යතාවය සහ ප්රකාශනය