Women's Development Federation


Vihara Mahadevi Mandiraya
Tangalla Road
Tel: 0094-047-20499, 21022
Fax: 0094-047-20499

Women's Development Federation (WDF) was founded in the year 1989 as a Non-Governmental Organisation in Hambantota in the southernmost point of Sri Lanka; this was formed by the affiliation of 463 Women's Societies. This organisation is also called as Janashakti which means "potential of the people". The broad objective of this organisation is the eradication of poverty which they aim to achieve by developing individual and collective self-reliance. Poor women are mobilized by working with the family-units and low-income groups in the villages and hamlets.

In the villages and hamlets of Hambantota district, women have organized themselves into Kantha Samithies or Women's Development Societies and there are 463 such societies at present with about 50 members each. All these societies come under the Women's Development Federation organisational structure. Janashakti Bank Society is formed by the combination of Women's Societies from 4-12 villages. This consolidation paves the way for economic viability and for the participation of people to a greater extent. Each Janashakti Bank Society has about 300-500 members. At present there are about 67 Janashakti Bank Societies functioning.

Women's Development Federation which is a self-managed people's organisation formed by the rural poor women of the very poor Hambantota district of Sri Lanka has about 29,000 members at present. WDF focuses on human resources development through capacity-building in financial resources, management, skills development and institutional building. The WDF has an Annual General Meeting every year to elect its Executive Committee and approve its Annual Report. The Secretariat of WDF is at Hambantota. The Executive Committee seeks advice from a six-member Advisory Committee.

The Programme Manager is held responsible for all matters of WDF and reports to the Executive Committee. There are nine divisions under the control of the Programme Manager - accounts and financial management, nutrition, care of the elderly, barefoot libraries, community projects, home garden development, institution and mobilization, livestock development, environment and research. The key contact person for WDF at Hambantota is Ms. S.H. Chithrani Dhammika. WDF has on its rolls 174 permanent staff and 129 temporary staff.

The Mission of WDF is as follows:

  • Providing credit facilities to poor women and their families for economic development and self-employment avenues.

  • Building up savings capacity of poor families
  • Providing loan facilities to poor families in times of unforeseen disasters and illnesses

  • Liberation of poor women from the grip of extortionist money-lenders

  • Inclusion of poor women within an economically strong organisation

Activities of the Organisation
  • Community Nutrition Programmes

  • Home-Gardens and Environment Programmes

  • Restoration of Tanks and Community Development Programmes

  • Credit and Savings Programmes

  • Social Mobilization Programmes

  • Care of the Elderly

  • Bare -foot Library Programmes

  • Animal Farming Programmes

  • Eradication of Drug Abuse Programmes

A special scheme for artisans at WDF is the establishment of a group to develop the skills and talents of artisans and geographically WDF covers five Divisional Secretary Divisions in Hambantota district.

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