Empowerment Initiatives: Diverse Paths to Positive Change
Through multitudes of projects, FISD forges diverse pathways toward positive change. Each endeavor represents a unique thread in the fabric of transformation, weaving together hope, opportunity, and progress for individuals and communities.
The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA)
SIDA works with 4 partners, out of which one partner is the Foundation for Innovative Social Development. The SIDA-funded 5-year Civil Society Organization (CSO) strengthening project, initiated by Save the Children in Sri Lanka in the later part of 2022, is in partnership with FISD and three other local CSO partners—Leads Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka Unites, and Women Development Centre (WDC). It aims to foster a strong civil society that advocates for and supports the fulfilment of children’s rights – holding states to accountable and mobilizing and empowering children and their communities. Towards this goal, the project focuses on four key areas: civil society strengthening, children’s agency, child rights, and civic space.
In the civil society strengthening component, the project aims to enhance the capacity, voice, independence, and sustainability of Civil Society Organizations as effective child rights actors in the dynamic Sri Lankan context. Simultaneously, in the second focus area, it empowers children by providing them with increased capacity and opportunities to express their views on child rights issues and actively influence relevant policies and practices that affect their lives across all societal levels.
The third area focuses on supporting CSOs in advocating for the fulfillment of children’s rights and ensuring equitable access to quality services while holding the state accountable for its commitments to children. Lastly, the project targets the expansion of civic space in Sri Lanka, empowering CSOs with the capacity, access, and ability to influence policies and decisions that may impede civil society’s freedom to promote and defend children’s rights. Through a holistic approach, the project aspires to achieve transformative change, fostering a society that upholds and respects the rights of children, with children and civil society playing a pivotal role in advocating for and supporting the fulfillment of these rights. Throughout the project, the activities integrate environment and climate change considerations, places a special focus on children most impacted by inequality and discrimination, ensures child rights-based programming, promotes gender equality and transforms gender norms, and adopts conflict-sensitive approaches as the core program quality perspectives in its implementation.
Collective Action Against Period Poverty (CAAPP)
Through this project, FISD aims to contribute to creating a gender-just Sri Lanka, where women and girls can live violence-free lives with dignity, protected rights, and the freedom to make their own choices. FISD recognizes that gender-based discrimination and inequality arise from imbalanced power dynamics and deeply ingrained societal norms, which marginalized and disempower women. This results in the feminization of poverty, cause not only by limited income but also by the lack of opportunities, access to information, services, and resources, as well as harmful gender norms that stigmatize womanhood, prevalent in both society and government.
FISD’s innovative solutions for sustainable social development go beyond merely constructing infrastructure or providing subsidies. They aim to challenge harmful social norms and practices to address stigma, and taboos related to menstruation through the following strategies:
Self-reflective and gender-transformative dialogue at the individual, family, and community level
Right-based Awareness programs
Service Coordination and Networking
Humanitarian Emergency Response Project
The Foundation for Innovative Social Development (FISD) collaborated with Save the Children’s Country Office in Sri Lanka, who have initiated and funded a 6-month Civil Society Organizations (CSO) strengthening program in humanitarian response in 2023.
Sri Lanka’s recent humanitarian crisis bears witness to the capacity gaps of the local CSOs in leading or implementing humanitarian programs – which are evident in areas such as organizational capacity, networking, fundraising, technical expertise, and stakeholder engagement. Additionally, the existing humanitarian response plans lack inclusivity, particularly concerning the needs and participation of women and children.
Hence, this collaborating launched this Humanitarian Fund (HF) project aimed at bridging these gaps and addressing evolving societal needs. The main objective is to enhance the capacity of local actors, including women and children’s groups, to build and strengthen child- and women-led, gender- and child-sensitive disaster preparedness and response mechanisms.