Tuesday, 09 March 2021 10:14

Taking Pluralism and Gender to the Grassroots

A three day residential training workshop on pluralism was conducted for 48 representatives of the NGO Network on Religious Freedom under NPC’s project the Collective Engagement for Religious Freedom (CERF).

The training event was conducted to sensitize participants on the incorporation of pluralistic values when carrying out their activities and to help them to plan, design and implement public interventions that will have broader representation and reach. It included sessions from facilitators whose work is related to pluralism including Dr Sunil Wijesiriwardena, Professor Sasanka Perera, Mr. Velusamy Weerasingham and Mr. Jagath Liyana Arachchi.

“We engage in community level activities regularly. But we sometimes face challenges as we have limited theoretical knowledge on particular topics. This affects both the effectiveness and the reach of activities. The training programme provided us with this knowledge and I am glad that I attended the training,” said Vimalsena from Negombo.

“As members of the NGO Network on Religious Freedom we conduct community level interventions to promote religious freedom. The training helped us to understand that the elements of pluralism are essential to make the interventions more holistic and that we must be mindful of inclusivity in terms of gender, ethnic and religious representation,” said Ikram from Addalachchenai.

Also under CERF, training programmes on gender were conducted for over 35 members of the Negombo and Addalachchenai Local Inter Religious Committees (LIRCs) as part of seven thematic
training programmes to improve the effectiveness of committee-led interventions. It also sensitized participants on the principles of inclusion and gender parity in terms of the composition of LIRCs.

“Gender inclusivity is a relevant topic. I am glad that the LIRCs consist of members from different fields of work and professional backgrounds; they can take what they have learned to others who are working with them. It was informative for us as committee members because we have to be mindful of the gender balance and inclusivity of committee membership,” said Fathima Josinka from Negombo LIRC.