A series of food bazaars were held in regions across the country to enable people of different ethnic communities to learn about each other’s cultures and traditions to build an understanding of pluralism through food culture.
Members of the Galle District Inter Religious Committee (DIRC) and philanthropists in the Galle area purchased Rs. 300,000 worth of school supplies for school children of low income families in Jaffna. This effort materialised as a result of the friendship between Mr. Tharmarajah of Jaffna and Mr. Karunadasa Welikala of Galle, who are members of their respective DIRCs.
Under the Social Cohesion and Reconciliation (SCORE) Activity, NPC organized a training programme on the Resilient Communities Through Everyday Democracy module in Vavuniya for 36 participants. The group included 31 co-existence society members and five Local Inter Religious Committee (LIRC) members. Through the Training for Trainers that was held last year, co-facilitators were trained to handle the training for the grassroots level community platforms.
Three training programmes on policy rights for religious leaders, government officials, health service officers, civil society members, university students and police officers were conducted in Kalutara, Trincomalee and Kandy under NPC’s project National Language Equality Advancement Project (NLEP) conducted by lawyer Jagath Liyana Arachichi.
NPC’s Technical Assistance to Justice Institutions in Sri Lanka project held a three day residential training of trainers programme on the prevention of hate speech for 60 master trainers and ten district coordinators. It was conducted by Professor Kalinga Tudor Silva from the University of Peradeniya. He explained the sociological frame work of hate speech, the role and responsibilities of the Office on Missing Persons and the steps taken by the government for granting reparations.
Over 500 religious leaders and civil society activists from around the country took part in a National Inter Religious Symposium on Building a Pluralistic Society organized by NPC under its project Consolidating Ongoing Multi-Level Partnership Actions for Conflict Transformation (COMPACT).
At the National Inter Religious Symposium, NPC’s 25 years of existence was celebrated with the cutting of 17 cakes, one each for a district. For 25 years NPC has journeyed with religious leaders, civil society activists and community representatives to build sustainable peace in the country.
NPC and its partner Helvetas Sri Lanka carried out a two day virtual learning conference on Preventing Violent Extremism (PVE) with international and local resource persons under its project Capacity Building for Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) on PVE in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. The initiative is being implemented across six districts with support from Helvetas Sri Lanka and funded by the European Union.
The role that religious clergy can play in bringing divided communities together cannot be under estimated.