Where We Work
The Easter Sunday bombings on 21 April 2019, which killed more than 250 people, brought Sri Lanka back onto the international radar in terms of violent extremism (VE). Sri Lanka is ranked 20th out of 135 countries listed in the 2020 Global Terrorism Index and 4th out of the seven South Asian countries.
GCERF conducted an initial needs assessment which has identified ethnic and religious tension as a dominant factor leading to violence and radicalisation to violent extremism in Sri Lanka, which can occur in any ethnic and religious community.
GCERF’s Sri Lanka programme is aimed at enhancing the resilience of young people aged 15 to 29 and empowering youth to initiate, lead and implement community-level actions to prevent violent extremism.
Pathways to Change
GCERF’s portfolio in Sri Lanka focuses on building social cohesion and sense of purpose. Through calls for proposals, GCERF’s principal recipient, HELVETAS Sri Lanka, will select eight to 30 grassroots organisations as sub-grantees to:
- Promote communal harmony and prevent violent extremism by engaging with Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, and Muslim religious institutions.
- Work with role models to promote mediation and set positive examples.
- Put youth in the driver’s seat to lead community-based reconciliation and participate in decision-making.
- Enhance dialogue between youth and community-level government authorities, including authorities on the rule of law.
- Promote critical thinking among youth in educational institutions by strengthening relations between mainstream and religious educational institutions through inter-institutional activities.
- Counter hate speech through online and offline engagement.
Empowering youth to engage in community level PVE initiatives and dialogues with Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, and Muslim religious leaders and institutions to promote tolerance, understanding, and peaceful coexistence.
Promote youth participation in decision making at community level and enhance the dialogue with government and rule of law authorities.
Promoting mediation and setting positive examples by involving celebrities and other role models in PVE initiatives, amplifying their stories through media, school activities, or community dialogue to contribute to youth empowerment and resilience to radicalisation to violent extremism.
Promoting critical thinking of youth in educational institutions (schools and madrasas) by strengthening relations between mainstream and religious educational institutions through inter-institutional activities.
Engaging teachers and students in various inter and intra-school activities, such as sport and cultural events, debates, and competitions to promote critical thinking, mutual respect, and tolerance.
Countering hate speech and enhancing critical thinking skills through online and offline engagement with youth, positive messaging and media literacy enabling people to differentiate between fake news, rumours, and real news.