Facilitating Rural Women’s Participation and Recognition in Sustainable Livelihoods in Post-War Sri Lanka

by Oxfam Monash Partnership

(Community)

A Global Compact member

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We worked with rural women in Sri Lanka to examine the barriers and enablers for how they contribute to the agriculture sector (paid and unpaid).

Project implemented: March 2018

Project goal

To generate evidence to inform policy and advocacy, and to enhance more equitable participation and recognition of rural Sri Lankan women in agriculture.

delivering on

why is this project important?

It has highlighted the key role that we can play to strengthen the evidence base and use this to champion positive change in Sri Lanka.

Key steps to make it happen

1Agreed research approach

Participatory action research was our methodology of choice to ensure that it plays a direct role in women's empowerment.

2Community discussion

The research team discussed the findings with the study women and worked with them on the changes women would liked to see.

3Evidence based campaign

The research team then worked with Oxfam in Sri Lanka to initiate a two-year campaign based on the study recommendations.

4Communication of findings

The summary report was officially launched at Monash College, Australia involving key stakeholders to communicate findings.

impact to date

2093 rural women from Hambantota, Polonnaruwa and Ampara districts were empowered through participatory action research to bring about changes they would like to see.
A community action plan and documentary (filmed in both Singhala and Tamil) were developed to support other communities of women in Sri Lanka to advocate for change.

Study findings and recommendations helped inform Oxfam’s campaign on “Make it Happen: Empowering Rural Women in Sri Lanka” (available at: https://sri-lanka.oxfam.org/)

“Facilitating Rural Women’s Participation and Recognition in Sustainable Livelihoods in Post-War Sri Lanka” research project is an initiative of the Oxfam-Monash Partnership. It helped generate an evidence-base that will be used by Oxfam to inform policy and advocacy towards promoting a more equitable participation and recognition of rural Sri Lankan women in agriculture. This study is based on field research work carried out between 2014 and 2016 in Sri Lanka, involving a survey of 2093 women and 66 in-depth life narrative interviews. It examined how rural women in three districts of Sri Lanka participated in agricultural livelihoods throughout their life course, contextualised against the social, political and institutional interactions within the broader political economy. It identified the barriers women from multiple ethnic, religious and age groups faced, and the facilitators that enabled them to participate in agricultural livelihoods.

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