Background: Youth and women underrepresented in politics

In 2016-2016 while Demo Finland was working in Sri Lanka, the country was still in a state of political turmoil after the end of the civil war in 2009 and democratic advancements in 2015. Political divisions were deeply rooted, the constitutional reform process has not been completed, and the participation of women and youth was very low.  Only 2,5 percent of the parliament was under 30 years old, even though they make up for 23 percent of the population.

Under 5 percent of the parliament was women and the number is even lower on the local level. Political parties were led by older men, and equal representation was not realized in the organizational structures of parties.

Our work in Sri Lanka:

Together with our local partner One-Text Initiative we supported the youth politicians of Sri Lanka to co-operate across political, ethnic and religious lines in 2015-2016. A series of workshops were organized that brought together youth politicians from the five party blocks represented in the country’s parliament to discuss, learn and search for joint solutions and to establish peaceful and constructive political dialogue. A delegation of young Finnish MP’s visited the programme to provide trainings and take part in the dialogue.

Results of our work:

  • The political youth from all parliamentary parties of Sri Lanka have agreed to formally co-operate and engage in a constructive dialogue across party-borders for the first time in the country’s history