Peacebuilding

Jul 19, 2021
Social media has emerged as one of the most powerful tools for communication and connection, bringing together millions of people across continents and within communities. But with that power, highly accessible channels are readily available for spreading disinformation, sowing divisiveness and contributing to offline conflict. In Sri Lanka, there has never been a more urgent need for healthy media consumption and digital and media literacy for youth. Responding to this need, the Global Communities’ USAID-funded Social Cohesion and Reconcilation (SCORE) program co-created an initiative with local partner organizations to help young people combat the threat of weaponized information through webinars and trainings. Viluthu, a non-profit organization working to build capacity and strengthen... Read more
Mar 04, 2021
"Proud to increase educational opportunities and support COVID-19 response in Sri Lanka" – Ambassador Teplitz By Kathya de Silva Senarath US Ambassador to Sri Lanka and Maldives Alaina Teplitz, with US Embassy delegates, visited the North of Sri Lanka on February 23 and 24, 2021 to oversee the Social Cohesion and Reconciliation Activity (SCORE) programs, funded by USAID and implemented by Global Communities. She expressed appreciation of the project and said  that the US is ”proud’ to connect students across the island and support Sri Lanka’s response to COVID-19”. During the visit, Ambassador Teplitz ceremonially inaugurated the Virtual Classroom project at Poonthodam Maha Vidyalayam in Vavuniya, which has mostly Tamil students and a few  Muslim students, to link with Sinhala, Tamil and... Read more
Feb 01, 2021
Dr. Dayani Panagoda says search for answers is not to put ex-Govt. in trouble By Hiranyada Dewasiri This article was originally published in The Morning. Dr. Dayani Panagoda is a Senior Technical Specialist for the USAID Social Cohesion and Reconciliation (SCORE) Program in Sri Lanka This week at a panel discussion on “Reconciliation at Practice” held at the Bandaranaike Center for International Studies (BCIS), one of the panellists said the search for the truth about loved ones who went missing is not a search that is limited to the North and East, but also extends to the South and West among the Sinhalese and Muslim communities. The panellist, Dr... Read more
Dec 09, 2020
This Human Rights Day, Global Communities is actively working to help protect vulnerable populations around the world, particularly in Syria, where after six long years, individuals are still displaced by the millions. The resulting refugee crisis is the largest in history, and Global Communities is responding to the needs of refugees and the displaced across the region – not only in Syria, but in Iraq, Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon as well. We provide... Read more
Nov 28, 2020
By Kathya de Silva Senarath Many agree that suspicion and cynicism against the Muslim community in Sri Lanka existed for some time alongside the larger ethnic tensions between Sinhalese and Tamils caused by the 30-year civil war. Competition on socio-economic gains, land issues – especially in the North and East – and the general lack of social cohesion between communities were some of the factors leading to longstanding conflict. Following the coordinated attacks by a terrorist group on Easter Sunday last year, hostility of extreme nationalists against the Muslim community became much more severe and led to widespread  hate speech, both  online and offline. These destructive acts led to a boycott of Muslim-owned businesses and even vandalism in some parts of the country. (Southern Sri... Read more
Nov 09, 2020
By Kathya de Silva Senarath Tamil and Sinhala villages of Aathiyammankerni and Samagipura in the Trincomalee district have been directly affected by the country’s 30-year conflict that continues to inflame tensions between the two communities. Tensions were aggravated further in 2006 when the LTTE blocked the Mavil Aru sluicegates that brought water to thousands in these villages through the waterways. This blockage also resulted in military action commencing from these areas, along with many reports of missing persons from the region, as well as persons who need psychological and livelihood support. Ever since then, it has  often seemed impossible for Aathiyammankerni and Samagipura communities to strengthen relations. The Sinhala community avoided the Tamil community altogether, and  ... Read more
Sep 16, 2020
The USAID-funded Social Cohesion and Reconciliation Activity (SCORE) provided training to 28 youth leaders from diverse ethnic backgrounds in the Monaragala District to counter the spread of fake news and hate speech online that became rampant following the Easter Sunday bombings, the group learned how to educate people on deciphering legitimate from fake news, in part by becoming savvy about news sources and photos, and what to do when they see coverage they know is disingenuous and intended to incite violence. In addition to receiving social media training, participants learned to play an advocacy role in their communities to raise awareness about important community issues through the positive use of digital and social media.  The participants verified social media posts with... Read more
Sep 10, 2020
There are various instances in Sri Lanka’s history when tensions between ethnicities have resulted in turbulence and bloodshed. Over the years, instances such as the insurgencies, three decades of armed conflict and the Easter attacks last year increased distrust and disharmony among ethnicities. Politicians take advantage of ethnic divisions for their political objectives which causes further fragmentation of society. While there are laws and citizens' rights promoting ethnic harmony, there remain structural social injustices which people don’t know how to counter. USAID SCORE, implemented by Global Communities, launched ‘Peace Incubators’ for youth between the ages of 16 – 35 years old belonging to different ethnicities and religions in Jaffna and Kandy Districts. This activity is... Read more
Feb 20, 2020
The recent ‘Cyber Guardians Forum - The Role of Social Media in Transforming Sri Lanka,’ organized by Search for Common Ground (SfCG)  with  USAID SCORE/Global Communities support, revealed several milestone achievements of the SfCG’s Cyber Guardians project under the SCORE program. More than 100 youths were trained in social media at three boot camps, resulting in more than 125 posts per month by 20 National Champions over 10 months, yielding a monthly reach of over two million social media users and engagement with over one million users per month. Ten youth social media projects also received 10 seed grants. The numbers show that the project, aimed at countering hate speech and fake news on social media to promote social cohesion and reconciliation by youth, had successfully achieved... Read more
Aug 12, 2019
Using sports as a vehicle for reconciliation and increased social cohesion, USAID SCORE together with the National Youth Services Council organized a sports festival recently in Maduruketiya, at the school grounds in the Monaragala district. SCORE is a three-year social cohesion and reconciliation activity implemented Global Communities to strengthen Sri Lankan led efforts to advance social cohesion and reconciliation through community platforms. 250 Sinhala and Tamil youth club members of the National Youth Council participated in the festival, which empowered the youth to help bridge the divide between ethnic groups, creating unity and tolerance among youth in the region. As part of the festival 17 teams of mixed ethnicity took part in a volleyball tournament aimed at forging positive... Read more
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