Strengthening Governance and Increasing Women’s Representation in Local Government (Kurunegala, Monaragala, Badulla)

May – August 2008

WMC launched this project in 2007 and it was continued in 2008 with the same objectives of increasing women’s knowledge of local government, building their capacity to contest local government elections, helping them enable good governance, etc. The observation teams continued the monitoring of selected Local Councils in Kurunegala, Monaragala and Badulla. In total 14 Local Councils were observed in 3 districts by 25 women observers.

The completed activities for the period were the following.

1)   Monitoring (Observing)

Observations of local government processes through attending meetings continued on a monthly basis in all 14 local councils. Monthly experience sharing meetings were also held in each district to provide an opportunity for the participating women to share their experiences with each other. Representatives of local councils collaborated with observers in solving contemporary issues in each district. The observers were also able to influence the local authorities to look in to various Public issues that needed to be addressed.

2)   Advocacy and Awareness Raising at District Level

The main objective of these programs were to raise awareness among community based organizations, activists of women’s organizations and members of Local Councils by analyzing the information gathered during observation of local government sessions.

Some of the significant changes achieved through these workshops were the construction of a good foundation with political parties regarding an increase in women’s representation in local government authorities prior to the upcoming elections, recommendation by the local government authorities to include women nominees for committees in local governments, creating awareness about gender budgeting among relevant officers who are responsible in drafting budgets in local councils, etc.

3)   Field Visits and Knowledge Sharing

As with the previous year, getting to know the communities and their issues through field visits enabled better understanding of how to address the issues at the grass root levels. The field visits were a source of sharing experiences amongst the districts and have enhanced WMC’s networking capacity and experience in the field.