Women’s Development Foundation (WDF) was founded in 1997 to work with women from all the ethnic communities in Ampara. Their focus is specifically on supporting women to overcome the experience of war and in this they work with war widows, their families, and women and girls in general, to uplift their participation and leadership in community activities and decision making.
WDF have special field workers for village level women’s committees who work closely to empower them to enhance their participation in community level issues. These committees are ethnically mixed and the field coordinators belong to all three ethnicities of Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim and come from different faiths.
The foundation believes that women in Ampara district are living under very difficult conditions as they suffer from ethnic conflict, the aftermath of the tsunami, economic difficulties and repressive cultural practices. Through their activities WDF has formed seven women’s committees Ampara District. This has given the women a sense of achievement and empowerment through unity. Also as these are multi-ethnic associations, harmony between neigh boring villages belonging to different ethnicities has increased and friendly relations have been established between women from different ethno-reliDDgious communities.
WDF sees one of their major achievements as a commitment towards recruiting war widows for their work. Widows in Hindu culture and Muslim culture have low status and cannot play prominent social roles. Because of the war there are many widows in the area suffering from this. WDF have reached out to these women and have included them in their groups, giving them social status through facilitating their reconciliation and healing from the experience of the war.
- An empowered healthy women society
Contribute towards building up a women’s society, for social cohesion by empowering self- sustained groups, creating social protection, basic services on economic development, training and advisory, through mobilising community group networks with Government Officers and Non-Governmental Organizations and engaging in activities such as referral and advocacy.
- Priority for women
- Respecting child protection policies and procedures for children
- Respecting cultures
- Respecting human rights
- Gender equality
- Responsibility and accountability