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Sri Lanka

  • Total population: 20.8 million

  • Total population under 18: 6 million

  • Children affected by conflict: 900,000

  • Number of War Child projects in 2017: Three

  • Number of implementing partner organisations: Two

  • Number of partners providing funding: None

  • Total child participants: 15,014 (7,861 girls and 7,153 boys)

  • Total adult participants: 9,592 (5,301 women and 4,291 men)

© Geert Snoeijer

Why We’re There

Sri Lanka is undergoing a process of recovery and transition following the bitter 26-year civil war between government forces and armed insurgents that came to an end in May 2009. Significant steps towards constitutional reform and transitional justice have been taken by the government of President Sirisena over the past three years - yet problems still remain at the local level.

Major threats to the safety of children remain. Child protection structures are underdeveloped and children are vulnerable to a number of forms of abuse. Many are engaged in child labour and serve as heads of households - UNICEF estimates that some 10 per cent of Sri Lankan children are out of school and engaged in hard labour.

Sexual violence and abuse - particularly against girls and young women - is another significant issue. Recent figures from UNICEF show that three to five children experience violent behaviour or the risk of rape every day. Child marriage is also a concern - but an underreported one.

What We Do

War Child has been active in Sri Lanka since 2010, working to promote child rights and support children living with the ongoing effects of the country’s civil war. Our projects provide education and psychosocial support and we work in partnership with both state agencies and local organisations across the country.

Our projects are also designed to help strengthen existing child protection systems - particularly in the Northern and Eastern provinces of the country - and promote children’s participation in the decision-making processes that shape their lives. In June 2017 six child representatives held a Skype meeting with the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child to address priority issues affecting youth in Sri Lanka.

We work together with organisations at community, regional and national levels to strengthen and develop community systems that serve to support children. These partnerships help to protect children and youth from abuse and sexual exploitation and ensure the ongoing sustainability of our interventions.

Our Projects

Strengthening Support Systems and Case Management Mechanisms:

Initiative to set up improved prevention and reporting mechanisms to address the violence experienced by women and girls in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka.

Realizing Rights and Expanding Opportunities:

Project which aims to contribute to the promotion and protection of human rights and the strengthening of the national framework to safeguard children’s rights.

Youth Council:

Project in the Eastern Province designed to promote and facilitate the ability of young people to participate in an advisory body which will shape the work of War Child and its partners - thereby making it more effective to their needs.