Mobilizing Community Action towards Promoting Language Rights and Second Language Learning.
NLF Partner Human Development Organization (HDO) works in the Ampara, Kandy, Mullaitivu and Nuwara Eliya, to enhance social integration and peaceful co-existence by promoting and protecting the language rights of different ethnic and religious communities in these districts. HDO acts as a catalyst, working both to build awareness of Language Rights as well as to increase accessibility to Second Language Learning amongst Government Institutions, Co-existence Societies Clusters, CSOs, Women’s Societies and the Corporate sector. Initiating collective action and partnership among these various stakeholders towards enhancing language rights and reconciliation in the target districts is one of HDO’s key strategies. An integral part of this is mobilizing Co-existence (Language) Societies (CESs) with the collaboration of Integration Officers (IO) of DS Divisions, by organizing Capacity Building Trainings for key leaders of Co-existence (Language) Societies. One such Capacity Building Workshop was organised in April for 5 Co-existence Societies, representing 5 GS Divisions in the Northern Province, in Karaithuraipatru. The training was attended by 30 Co-Existence Society Leaders from these areas. Building the awareness and understanding of these community leaders about the integral role Language Rights play in building social integration and harmony, and teaching them the tools to take the message to their respective communities, is critical to driving community engagement and partnership in building Language Rights. The ability to mobilize this training during the brief period during which COVID-19 regulations were relaxed proved to be far-sighted and timely.
Despite current Pandemic restrictions and regulations, HDO will continue to work in these districts to enhance citizens participation in public development actions to protect language rights and to ensure enhanced access to public services in the language of their choice. HDO will also continue with its initiatives to enhance the capacity of the citizens, CSOs and Government institutions to communicate in Sinhala and Tamil by facilitating second language learning, teaching and training in the selected areas of the target districts.