Women’s Environment Center
The Women’s Environment Center was set up in 1992 in order to focus on women’s environmental problems, particularly in the rural areas, and to involve women in the struggle for a better environment. These women have to find their own sources of water, firewood and food. The destruction of forests depletes the water and fuel sources, supplementary foods and local medicines which they collect from forest sources. This destruction of the environment affects them a great deal, as it is the woman’s role to find these resources.
We published a monthly newsletter in Sinhala, Tamil and English called “Women and Environment” and this newsletter was sent to women’s organizations that were interested in the environment. This newsletter provided educational information about plants, organic fertilizer, foods and updates about deforestation occurring in Sri Lanka.
We also published a book called “Kanthavanta Parisarika Ath Welak” (Environmental Guide for Women). Environmental resources are being destroyed rapidly and we need the support of the women whom this concerns to help prevent this.
Other work with women…
One project involved families who had been evicted from their native village of Kinchigune, which had been flooded to form the Samanalawewa. As a result of being resettled, they had only 1 well between the many families, and they had lost their medicinal plants. We helped them obtain more water by helping to organize protests for more wells to be built in the area and we helped them to improve home gardens by providing them with plants. They collaborated with the Forest Department to set up nurseries which the Forest Department purchased.
In the Passara region, we helped the women of the village to raise poultry and improve their home gardens. We aimed to improve their conditions but mainly to empower women to help themselves to improve their standard of living.
We participated in the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995, in formulating resolutions for women and the environment.