Felicitation from FISD

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FISD felicitated the community leaders of Anuradhapura, Monaragala, Gampaha , Mathale , Districts  who have taken unstinted leaders efforts to support the programme on prevention of Gender Base Violence, Child Rights Protections and Promotions , and Preventions Of the Alcohol and Drugs.

Foundation for Innovative Social Development – Strategic partner for the 5th International Conference on Poverty and Sustainable Development 2018

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Foundation for Innovative Social Development – Strategic partner for the 5th International Conference on Poverty and Sustainable Development 2018 – to be held on the 6th-7th December 2018 in Colombo, Sri Lanka

Please visit following web URL for further information.


Inauguration of the Sri Lanka Stakeholder SDG Platform and National Dialogue on the Linkages between Alcohol-Drugs-Tobacco, Women-Youth-Children and the Sustainable Development Goals

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The Sri Lanka Stakeholder SDG Platform was inaugurated with a National Dialogue on the linkage between Alcohol, Drug and Tobacco related to women, Youth and children and the Sustainable Development Goals was conducted on March 08, 2018 at Sri Lanka Foundation Institute, Colombo 7.  The objectives of the national dialogue were doing a rapid mapping on alcohol, drugs and tobacco use and SDGs and to propose strategies and actions. Furthermore, to support discussions and demonstrate how global and national alcohol and drug policies are a cross-cutting development issue that impact upon of the SDGs.

The inaugural platform was co-organised by Foundation for Innovative Social Development (FISD), Family Planning Association of Sri Lanka (FPASL), Alcohol and Drug Information Centre Sri Lanka (ADIC), Centre for Environment and Development (CED) and Global Sustainability Solutions (GLOSS) with the support of platform partners.  The Sri Lanka Stakeholder SDG Platform (SLS-SDG Platform) is a collective representation of CSOs, private sector, academia, professional associations, etc. to facilitate an Inclusive Transformation towards sustainable development in Sri Lanka.

Civil Society Organizations, private sector organizations, Government Sector Organizations, international organizations and academia participated at the inauguration of the SL SDG platform and the national dialogue on Alcohol and Drugs and the Sustainable Development Goals. These organizations represented apex level of sectors of development, youth, Environment, Universities, banking, commerce, Presidential Task Force on Drug Prevention and independent policy research. The expected outcomes of the national dialogue  was to map-out linkages between Alcohol-Drugs-Tobacco, Women-Youth-Children and the Sustainable Development Goals were to initiate a national level for discourse on the different ways and means that alcohol, drugs and tobacco impedes development especially in terms of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Also, to identify and analyse policy incoherencies and gaps in policy implementation with regard to alcohol, drugs and tobacco towards achieving SDGs, And to support global and national alcohol policy initiative for achieving reduction of the use and problems related to alcohol drugs and tobacco, collate good practices and success stories related to prevention and policy implementations, and motivate development practitioners to integrate prevention of alcohol drugs and tobacco as a cross cutting sector into their ongoing development plans.

Introductory Presentation of Sri Lanka Stakeholder SDG Platform

Mr. Uchita de Zoysa in his introductory presentation stated Sri Lanka was the first country to commit Sustainable Development country in the South Asia as early as September 2015. The President of Sri Lanka has announced his commitment to a Sustainable Development Era. Furthermore, Sri has a SDG Road Map, institutional roles and responsibility mapping, National SDG Action plan, and Strategies for integration and mainstreaming SDGs in place. Chief Planning Officers in 20 districts in 7 Provinces have been capacitated on programme implementation for Sustainable Development. However, he commented that implementation of strategies and programmes for achieving SDGs in Sri Lanka is far from satisfactory.

Hence, he stated there is a felt need for the Sri Lanka SDG platform, an independent stakeholder platform to facilitate an inclusive transformation in Sri Lanka and to facilitate an independent monitoring and reporting mechanism on the implementation of SDGs in the country. The stakeholder platform is all for all stakeholders – CSO, business, academics, local government, Activists, academics, professionals, women, youth, etc. It will consist of self-organized multiple action layers such as SDG based thematic working Groups and sectoral stakeholder platforms and the decision making will be a collective process by partners, facilitators and advisors, and platform facility.

Dr. Prasanthi Gunawardena, University of Jayawardenapura, stated that air, land and water resources in the environment of Sri Lankan are being unlimitedly in the pretext of development and the externalities of the development process have to be borne by the poor and rural people. She also added that the industrial zones and development projects are invading the productive rural landscapes. Dr, Gunawardena stressed that the polluters should be made to pay through taxation processes. She also stated that the cost due to pollution by cement production carried out by the private sector is 5.9 billion rupees per annum which is not born by the company but the public of the country.

Dialogue on ‘The Linkages between Alcohol-Drugs-Tobacco, Women-Youth-Children and the Sustainable Development Goals

The dialogue on the linkages between alcohol-drug-tobacco, women-youth-children and Sustainable Development Goals consisted of a panel discussion and a group work session.

Panel Discussion

Dr. Nishan de Mel, Executive Director & Head of Research, Verity addressing the participants ont the need for regulation and taxation for alcohol and drugs stated that   development and economic growth are one and the same. Development is important to be contextualized through value of life and freedom. He also added the consumption of addictive substances, people are able to have patterns of behavior which are extremely harmful to them in their future and later in life although they look very attractive in the present. Therefore, regularisation and taxation of alcohol and tobacco has to be treated as with a special focus. As the effect on oneself and the effect on others are negative in the longer term, complexed issues as such must be treated differently.

Mr. Pubudu Sumanasekera, Executive Director, ADIC  speaking on the relationship between alcohol, tobacco and other drug and SDGs stated Rs. 332 million on cigarettes and Rs. 297 million on alcohol are lost  annually to Sri Lanka as foreign exchange which has large impact on a  developing country like ours. He also stated over 10% of males spend as much as or more than their regular income on Alcohol. 60-65 People died per day because of tobacco. 300 litters of water is wasted to produce one litre of beer. Mr. Sumanasekera further stated that there is a vicious cycle between alcohol, poverty and development. He stated that there is a well-formulated mechanism to drain out the income of the country to through a historically established process. He stated that alcohol and tobacco has a cross cutting impact on 13 out of 17 SDGs.

 Dr. Manoj Fernando, Senior Lecturer, Department of Health Promotion, University of Rajarata stated that health issues were clustered d under   three (3) Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) such as Goal 4 to reduce child mortality, Goal 5 to improve maternal health and Goal 6 to Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases. He stated even though achieving the MDGs were successful, it was not without limitations. To overcome these limitations the health related issues in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are included under Sustainable Development Goal No. 3 – to ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages. The SDGs go beyond disease focus to improving  wellbeing, recognizes wider set of determinants (beyond concerns of health sector), engages people and gives a role for them – not only services.

 Ms.Samitha Sugathimala, Foundation for Innovative Social Development (FISD) stated the Sri Lanka women are directly and indirectly affected by the use of alcohol and other drugs by men.  Even though they have been consistently non users of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, they are at risk of becoming occasional or regular users.  The alcohol industry glamorizes females drinking, especially through media, to make them to perceive alcohol as a symbol of power for women, as part of masculinity, in overcoming the vulnerability of femininity or the subordinated position in society. She stated that women could play an important role in de-glamourizing the use of alcohol and other drugs by disconnecting links between happiness, masculinity, youthfulness and smartness and alcohol and other drugs.

 Representing Dr Samantha Kumara Kithalawaarachchi, Director, Presidential Task Force on Drug Prevention, GOSL, and Mr. H.M. Thilakaratne of the same organization participated and addressed the participants at the inauguration of the Sri Lanka SDG Stakeholder platform. He stated that the President of Sri Lanka has identified prevention of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs as critically important issue for achieving the development of Sri Lanka. Mr. Thilakaratne stated that Government officers from Grama Niladhari up to the Secretary of a ministry are duty bound to support prevention alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. He stated that based on his personal experience in working with people at grass root level Island wide he is much sensitized of the gravity of problems related to the use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs on their day to day lives. On behalf of the Director, Presidential Task Force on Drug Prevention he extended the best wishes and fullest co-operation to the Sri Lanka SDG Stakeholder platform.

  Linkages between Alcohol-Drugs-Tobacco, Women-Youth-Children and the Sustainable Development Goals

 In the Group work sessions the linkages between environmental, social, economic and governance   issues and alcohol, drugs and tobacco use on the Sustainable Development Goals with respect to  Women, Youth and Children groups and strategies and actions addressing SDG targets related alcohol, drugs and tobacco were discussed and identified.

Way forward

Sri Lanka stakeholder SDG platform will be used a forum to initiate a national level and sub national level discourses on different ways and means to advocate for policies, formulate strategies and action plans to achieve Sustainable Development in Sri Lanka through the prevention of Alcohol, Drugs and Tobacco.


Girls change the world national summit

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FISD girls’ national summit to mark the International day of the Girl was held on the, 20th October 2017 at the lotus hall, BMICH.

FISD Girls National campaign “Girls Change the World” is aimed at engaging young girls in creating a dignified life where they are able to grow into their fullest capacities and reach their fullest potential. While aiming to  addressing “ the issues relating to” gender norms and values (stereotypes) that are affecting girls, this campaign also looks at counteracting other determining factors which hinder their lives, such as Social expectations and perceptions on marriage, education and also on the socially constructed relationships between masculinity and violence/ aggressiveness, masculinity and substance abuse etc.,

The programme ‘’ Girl Change the World Summit’’ was conducted with the participation of nearly 400 school girls and 25 teachers covering 25 schools in the western province.  Students from NISD and other invited organizations were also participated.

Mr. Ravi Kandiah Director FISD welcomed the participants and Mrs. Samitha Sugathimala, the Director FISD   explained the aims and objectives of the national summit. Guest speech were delivered by Deputy Minister of Policy planning and Economic Development Hon. Dr. Harsha de Silva and, Hon. Chandrani Bundara, Minister to the Ministry of the women and child affairs, while Mrs. Ashoka Alawatta, additional secretary to the ministry of women and child affairs talked about the important intervention, taken up by the ministry to empower women and girls.  Dr.Samantha Kithalawaarachch, Director, Presidential task Force, alcohol and drugs prevention unit, stressed the importance of involving Girls in the drug prevention process, in his reliable speech.

Jayanthi Kuru-Utumpala is the first Sri Lankan, and first Sri Lankan woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest (8,848m/29,030ft), a double record she achieved at 5:03am on 21 May 2016. She is a professional mountaineering and a forceful advocate of women’s rights and gender equality.  In addition Jayanthi holds a Master’s Degree in Gender Studies from the University of Sussex, UK. She is currently serving as the first ever Goodwill Ambassador for Women’s Rights for the Ministry of Women’s Affairs.  Delivering   the key note speech of “ Girls change the world summit focused on the  gender base discriminations which hinder the development of girls further she emphasized that steps needs to be taken to empower girls and get their effective contribution towards  their development.

Mrs. .Madani Malwatta Popular dramatist  performed a short section of the drama “ Suddek Oba Amathai’’ in line with the theme of the programme . The section on “Striyak Oba Amathai” deconstruct.

From the time of ancestors the traditional art of Sri Lankan drumming is based the confinement of men and has always been out of reach of the feminine touch.  “Thuryaa” the first ever women s’ drums ensemble of Sri Lanka was invited to  performed on the stage of Girls Summit their performance and the motivational speech related in  empowering girls to think beyond the restriction.

The girls change the world summit programme conducted 03 workshops for school girls in separate group session. The following session was conducting in workshops.


#Political Participation and Leadership

#Alcohol and Drugs Prevention by FISD

#Girls Empowerment and Challenging Gender Stereotypes by FISD

#Esteem Building and Self Development by FISD

Girls Change the World – FISD District Campaign

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The Foundation for Innovative Social Development (FISD) conducted “Girls Change the World” campaigns in the districts of Anuradhapura, Gampaha, Hambantota, Matale and Moneragala.  The aim of the FISD’s Girls Change the World campaign was to enable girls to have dignified life where they would be able to achieve their fullest potential and make use of their full capabilities.

Gender Norms and values, social constructs about masculinity and femininity, and their social expectations not only hinder girls achieving their fullest potential and make use of their capabilities but also make them vulnerable to aggression, violence and other forms of human rights violations. The evidence suggests that with the transition of girls from puberty to adolescence their vulnerability to Gender Based Violence increases. These include physical, emotional, psychological violence, rape and other forms of sexual abuse, which has grave and lasting impacts on their health and well-being. More than 1 in 10 girls worldwide has experienced some form of forced sexual activity, and sexual experience of many girls is unwanted or compelled. Worldwide, an estimated 150 million girls and 73 million boys have experienced sexual violence; nearly half of all sexual assaults are committed against girls 16 years of age. GBV excessively impacts the most vulnerable members of society. Girls in conflict or emergency settings; in minority or indigenous communities, with disabilities; and lesbian bisexual and trans-identified girls are at increased risk of GBV. Married girls may also be at a higher risk of marital rape and domestic violence, either from their husbands or their husbands’ families.

The objectives of the FISD’s Girls Change the World campaign were to enhance the access of girls to quality education and safe environment, to encourage girls to pursue economic opportunities, to empower girls with information on skills, services and support need for their development, to educate and mobilize communities change harmful norms and practices to girls, and to lobby for laws and regulation that would facilitate the development of girls.

At the Girls Change the World campaign the awareness were  created through discussion with the participants on topics on how to take right decisions,  how to be empowered against violence, how to live with self-respect,  how to reject things that are not acceptable, how to maintain physical and mental wellbeing, how question the myths about alcohol, how to achieve ones fullest potential,  how to pursue higher education opportunities, need to get married at the appropriate age and  how to select a employment in line with one’s ability and liking.

The participants who participated in the awareness discussions of the Girls Change the World campaign in turn educated the people in the above-mentioned districts through, leaflet campaigns, banner campaigns, stage dramas and flash-mobs. They wore T-Shirts and Wrist bands displaying the messages of the Girls Change the World campaign.  A total of 585 girls and 65 boys participated in the campaign from the above-mentioned districts.

The Girls Change the World campaigns conducted at the districts facilitated to create an awareness about the vulnerability girls faced and ways to educate and empower them to overcome such vulnerabilities. It also provided opportunities for them to express these issues in a creative manner and to find solutions for them in a non-violent and democratic manner. These campaigns facilitated the district level civil society organizations and social groups to advocate for issues that affected the girls. Also, these campaigners sensitized the district and divisional level stakeholders and duty bears on need to take actions on the issues affected the girls.  Knowledge, skills and experience gained by conducting the district level campaigns enabled the FISD staff to conduct the Girls National Programme at the national level.

Launch of the Girls Change the World Campaign

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Girls Change the World campaign aims at educating, empowering and mobilizing women especially young girls to change their social relationships and social environment that would be healthier and satisfying for both females and males. The objectives of the Girls Change the World includes reducing the attractive image of alcohol at social interactions such as weddings, parties and celebrations. The Foundation for Innovative Social Development (FISD) will capacitate women Girls Change the World campaign that would enable them to take leadership to make above-mentioned events fun and enjoyable ones without the consumption of alcohol use. Thereby reduce the consumption of alcohol by elderly men and young men at these social gatherings.

The Foundation for Innovative Social Development (FISD) launch the Girls Change the World campaign on the 07 April 2017 at the Western Province Aesthetic Center, Colombo7 on the 07th of April 2017. The Dr. Champa Gunasekera, Chairperson/General Secretary FISD welcomed the participants and explained the aim and objectives of the campaign, Ms. Samitha Sugathimala, Programme Manager, GBV programme enlightened the participants on the Concepts of Girls of the Girls Change the World, Mr. Upul Kariyawasam, Senior Programme Officer explained how the Girls Change the World campaign could be used to minimize alcohol use at weddings, parties and celebrations. Mr. Ravi Kandiah, Programme Manager, ADD invited the organizations and individuals participated at launched to join the Girls Change the World Campaign and proposed a vote of thanks.

As interludes to this training session two short dramas supporting the theme were staged by Ms. Madavi Malwatta, Popular dramatist and a group of students of University of Keleniya. The following popular artistes, media persons, models, and a sportsperson were appointed as ambassadors of the campaign:

Ms. Lochana Imashi – Film & Teledrama
Ms. Madani Malwaththage – Stage Drama
Ms. Eshani Diana Jayapala – Beauty & Fashion
Ms. Sripali Weerakkody – Sports (Sri Lanka Cricket)
Ms. Jayamali Erangika – Modeling
Ms. Sumudu Prasadini – Miss Sri Lanka
Ms. Subhashini Balasubramaniyam – Tamil Media

SRHR- School Program- GBV prevention program

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FISD recently did an awareness program on SRHR for students of Weeraparakrama secondary school in Yatawattha , Mathale. Around 350 students from grades 10,11,12,13 attended the workshop.

FISD -2017 Women’s Day program – #BeBoldForChange#

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FISD held its Women day -2017 inspirational workshop for women leaders of 4 districts , Anuradhapura, Mathale,Moneragala and Gampaha on 7th and 8th of March in Colombo. The aim of the workshop was to bring together , the women leaders attched to FISD women’s self development program and inspire them to be bold and strong for changes that concerns their lives as women.

FISD , together with FORUT partners in Sri Lanka held a work shop

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Galvanising, Mobilising and Unleashing People Power for Good Governance and Fighting Corruption

At Water’s Edge, Battaramulla, on 8 – 10 Nov 2016

This is a new and innovative training developed by FORUT (Norway) and ICNC (International Center on Nonviolent Conflict, USA) and is hosted by Sri Lankan partners of FORUT (Norway). It is based on the new ground breaking book by Shaazka Beyerle, Curtailing Corruption, and research and practice with people at the grassroots who are developing strategies, tactics, and campaigns to fight corruption and promote good governance.

Traditionally, much of the attention has been on top-down initiatives to achieve good governance and fight corruption, with a focus on legislation and institutional mechanisms at the international, regional and national levels. Grassroots approaches have been seriously overlooked and under-valued. This is changing, as grassroots movements and people power are proving to be an effective alternative as well as complementary approach, to such top-down strategies.

Staff gathering and Planning meeting 2017 at Kukuleganga

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FISD team was in kukuleganga on 20th -22nd December 2016. The purpose of the visit was to offer recreational activities for the staff members of FISD who had been working tirelessly during the year towards a qualitative change of the people we are connected to at the community, district and the national levels.

The team also concentrated on program focuses for the year 2017. FISD look forward to a fruitful year ahead with many innovative social development initiatives.