January 27, 2023     cib    

On May 25, 2022, as a landmark in Sri Lankan local government political history, the Women Councillors’ National Platform (WCNP) was launched. This event was supported by the Commonwealth Local Government Forum and the European Union. The Platform was launched in a one-day programme which allowed each of the twenty-five district women councilor networks (caucuses) to come together, with over one-hundred people attending.

The programme included a selection of key activities to strengthen the initiatives of the women councilor networks, together with the timely launch of the Sri Lanka WCNP. All the women councilors taking part made a pledge to recognize their duties and to come together to increase the participation of women in politics.

This key point was further highlighted by the signing of a charter by the participating women mayors and chairpersons to ensure a commitment to the progress of this important work and deliver it to the next generation of young leaders, candidates, and aspiring women politicians.

Partnership for Municipal Innovations - Women in Local Leadership (PMI-WLL) is a project implemented by the Federation of Sri Lankan Local Government Authorities (FSLGA) in partnership with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, and funded by Global Affairs of Canada. The highlight of the event was that under the PMI-WILL project, FSLGA shared a directive among district caucuses, addressing Municipal Councils, Urban Councils and Pradehsiya Sabhas.

The aim of the directive is to help local councils ensure that a women’s advisory committee is established. Women’s committees are critical to ensure that the unique issues relating to women and young girls are addressed in the local community. With more women councilors, these important issues are more likely to be raised and addressed. Every district caucus in each province needs to present the directive and get it approved by the respective Provincial Governor. However, whilst the Central Province is in the process of getting the gazette published, in all other 341 councils, the directives are still not in place. As such, there is still plenty of work to be done, to which the newly formed Platform will be a meaningful contribution!