Grassroots Women's Participation in Democracy Sri Lanka  
Grassroots Organizing by Women
Sarvodaya Women's Movement

Sarvodaya Women's MovementSarvodaya Women's Movement (SWM) sprung out of its mother organization - the Sarvodaya Sharamadana Movement (SSM) - in 1982 as a result of a felt need for a focus on women in the organization. Established in 1958, SSM adheres to an indigenous approach to development with people's participation as its major orientation. Its mission is to rebuild the Sri Lankan villages and revitalize appropriate structures to enable the villagers to organize themselves for development. In order for the development programs to be successful, SSM believes that peoples' participation is essential at every stage. The major goal of the organization is to strive to build a "righteous society" in Sri Lanka based on equality, freedom from exploitation and people's power. The organization firmly believes that development should start from the grassroots level, and mutual self-help and self-reliance should be the basis for development.

Following the ideology of its mother organization, SWM is committed to mediating efforts of the disadvantaged women groups at the village level for building self-reliance through collective action. Its strategies are needs-oriented and endogenous; it involves women as direct participants of their own development and follows a path of development that is essentially a grassroots initiative and bottom-up approach to development. SWF has gained valuable experience over the years in evolving a women-centered development approach at the village level, specifically enabling the disadvantaged women to realize their own potentials and build their confidence to bring about "total development".