Institute of Social Development (ISD) is a non-governmental organization based in Kandy Sri Lanka, established in 1991 by a group of activists who works in the field of human right, labour, gender, and advocacy. The group initiated a dialogue on measuring the impact of development activities implemented by various sectors including government and NGOs in the plantation sector since 1948. The findings indicated that there have been no major qualitative changes taken place in the lives of the plantation worker community.
The group concluded that unless the marginalized communities are not empowered to demand and defend their ensured rights, outsiders cannot influence them for sustainable change. Thus, ISD executed various awareness programmes to empower the marginalized plantation community.
The programmes focused on inclusion and governance, gender and politics, promotion of peace and harmony, health and education, The group concluded that unless the marginalized communities are not empowered to demand and defend their ensured rights, outsiders cannot influence them for sustainable change. Thus, ISD executed various awareness programmes to empower the marginalized plantation community.
Women empowerment is fundamental to overcome most of the sociocultural and political issues in the plantation as same as in any vulnerable societies. ISD place empowering women and girls at the center of the programs. The culture beliefs are the main causes for the increased vulnerability of women in Sri Lanka. The man dominated society and families are provided awareness on inequality and benefits of equal opportunities. A crucial part of this involves men and boys in addressing inequality and valuing and supporting women and girls. We ensure, providing opportunities for their advancement and ensuring their voices are heard.
Poverty persists when poor people have little control over the forces that affect them, and lack the knowledge, opportunities and confidence to speak up for themselves. We work at the grassroots level to empower poor and marginalized people – especially women and girls – to know and act on their rights, have their say and hold to account those in authority. At the same time, we influence those in power – such as governments, traditional leaders, and the private sector – to be more responsible, responsive, and accountable. We create spaces where the groups can communicate, negotiate, and find solutions.
While we have formed the disaster management committees to quickly respond when disaster strikes, we also focus on strengthening the capacity of poor people in order to absorb shocks. With climate change, natural disasters and conflict posing which increase uncertainty, supporting people to cope with and respond to new hazards and opportunities were never paid enough attention. If we do not address this, then we will be facing a growing number of humanitarian crises in future as climate change continues to affect the poorest, displaced communities and destabilized societies. Our aim is to build resilience into all our programmes.
In this context the ILO declared a Convention on to address workplace sexual harassment in 2019. The convention on Violence and harassment (C190) was adopted by all the countries. However, among the 193 countries up to now, only seven countries ratified this convention. Although two years have gone by, the trade unions of Sri Lanka have not taken any step to lobby the government to ratify the convention. In the other side the working women of the country are unaware of this vital convention which was declared in 2019.
In this context, in 2020 as a right based organization, the Institute of Social Development (ISD) initiated an awareness programme in collaboration with the IFWEA.