in 1989, Agromart
Foundation is a national level women's NGO, carrying
out grassroots work with a large number of communities in
Sri Lanka. The Head Office is located in Colombo with nine
other provincial offices in the Southern, North Western, Uva
and the Eastern provinces. Agromart Foundation is committed
to the philosophy of women's grassroots participation in development
and is strongly involved in strengthening the capacities of
women leaders at the community level to position them as advocates
of sustainable change. At the core of its mission is strengthening
the competencies of its membership through participatory training.
Agromart's decade of service to the establishment of a progressive
society based on human freedom, justice, democracy, and equality
has made it a strong and powerful organization in Sri Lanka.
The Agromart Foundation provides multifaceted and integrated
development services to benefit rural entrepreneurs, especially
women. According to the leader of the organization, since the
mainstream financial institutions have not been able to serve
the micro-enterprises for their credit needs, Agromart has assumed
this critical responsibility. Currently, it is serving the credit
needs of 6000 members attached to Agromart Farmer Societies,
thereby facilitating women's socio-economic empowerment. Among
the small enterprise services it provides, upgrading technical
skills related to production technology is the most critical.
The main training services it provides are in the fields of
economic literacy, business management, and technical aspects
pertaining to the participants' enterprises. In addition, the
organization provides guidance, follow-up and credit supervision.
The Foundation intends to bring about a new credit culture in
the rural sector to alleviate rural poverty. Although the training
programs and credit schemes of the Foundation place greater
emphasis on women, men are not excluded. These facilities are
available without a gender bias and the Foundation maintains
a female-male ratio of 70-30% in all the activities. Through
the implementation of these loan schemes, the Foundation hopes
to establish and institutionalize a micro credit system for
rural women through Agromart Farmer Societies. Agromart's credibility,
experience and commitment to sustainable grassroots democracy
and strengthening of civil society are reasons for its inclusion
in the Partners Forum.