Financial Times

Women lead the way in Southern coir sector development

The female-led CBO Federation, which brings together 49 Community Based Organizations (CBO) is providing the technical and institutional support necessary for coir sector development in the South, according to Oxfam’s office in Colombo.

The Southern coir industry, which is composed of more than 98% women, suffered a significant set back in 2004, when the tsunami destroyed coir producing units (beach coir pits, lagoon coir pits and coir mills) and equipment (mainly manual coir yarn spinning machines). The revival of this industry was made a priority in the post tsunami development plans of several government and non-governmenta organizations. Based on the recommendations of Oxfam Great Britain (GB), which has been actively involved with the rehabilitation of this sector, 205 Self Help Groups (SHG) came together to form registered CBOs, and eventually, the “Women-led CBO Federation”.

The Women-led CBO Federation was inaugurated in July in Matara. The Federation actively promotes and supports female coir workers as the owners and managers of the assets, resources and processes of this industry. By providing technical, administrative and financial guidance, the Federation enables the continued capacity building of this industry. The Federation has increased access to improved production techniques, high quality raw materials and more lucrative markets for coir workers.

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