International Women’s Day is celebrated on 8th of March every year. As an organization that works for the improvement of the nutritional status of the community, SUN PF also joins with various programs for Women’s Day every year. This is primarily because proper nutrition of women contributes to the nutritional wellbeing of the entire population of a country. In 2021, SUN PF collaborated with Sarvodaya Women’s Movement and organized a special event in the Gampaha District.
A programme to celebrate Women’s day 2021 was held on 18 March 2021 in Gampaha (Viddyasekara Piriwena, Bandiyamulla). The theme of International Women’s Day 2021 was: “Women in Leadership: Achieving an Equal Future in a COVID-19 World”. 52 women leaders from civil society and community based organisations participated in the event. This is a joint programme with Sarvodaya Women’s Movement.
Content of the Programme
The program had four sessions that were very interesting with timely topics used.
1.“Social leader’s role in future under the pandemic situation” and “Women’s role and responsibilities in humanitarian and disaster response” Resource Person: Dr. Ashanthi Balapitiya (Consultant, Health Promotion Bureau, Ministry of Health)
Dr. Ashanthi Balapitiya mentioned that, as women, it is very much important to be prepared to face the emergency situations and also be responsible in a pandemic situation such as COVID-19. She further explained about the importance of following social distancing and hygienic practices during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition she explained about the importance of vaccination against COVID-19 and requested women leaders to act responsibly and support the authorities in the prevention, control and management programmes.
2. “Women health and nutrition” Resource Person: Mrs. Dilka Peiris (Nutrition Specialist and Project Director of the SUN PF)
In this session participants were made aware of nutrition related issues of the country including malnutrition and Non- Communicable Diseases. The recently published statistical data of Sri Lanka and especially the Gampaha district relating to women’s health were shared. Mrs Dilka Peiris mentioned that it is very important to break the vicious cycle of malnutrition by improving the women and girls’ nutritional status. Additionally, she shared the messages on food and nutrition behavioural practices that contribute to having a healthy life. During the event, the nutritional status of the participants were also analysed by taking the anthropometric measurements and participants were trained to calculate their BMI level.
3. Awareness session on Domestic and External Violence. Resource Person: Ms. Lalitha Peiris (nutrition and social activist)
Ms. Lalitha Peiris shared about how and when violence and harassment originate; and how a mother should treat sons and daughters equally without discriminating female children in the family. She mentioned the importance of a mother teaching children from a young age to respect others. Further she explained that the importance of having a conducive family environment for children to grow.
4. Panel Discussion and sharing session
After the sessions, a panel discussion was conducted on the key areas discussed and all resource persons represented the panel. They gave their input and discussed the questions asked by the participants. Participants also shared their experience about working as women leaders in the communities.