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Sri Lanka: Women's support project

Women working in a mill in Dickwella, Sri Lanka. Photo: David Levene

Who will benefit?

1,700 women coir producers will get the skills to run their own businesses which will improve their status

4,500 family members will benefit from the women's advancement and increased income

The production of coir is a traditional skill that has been passed on for generations in southern Sri Lanka. With your support, Oxfam is working to empower women involved in the industry to improve their income and develop into entrepreneurs.

The vast majority of people working with coir (the fibre of the coconut husk) in Sri Lanka are women, but they are limited to the labour intensive work at the bottom of the value chain. Women sell their produce to middlemen, who then reap the profits, while women struggle to make ends meet. Through this project, you can help women coir producers to gain the skills, knowledge and confidence to become entrepreneurs - improving their income and their quality of life.

Contact us
Get in touch to find more

About the project

This project is part of Oxfam's strategy called Poor Women's Economic Leadership. This strategy helps poor women around the world engaged in a number of livelihood activities to increase their market knowledge and their business and leadership skills - turning low-income work into profitable enterprises.

In Sri Lanka, we are supporting women coir producers to improve their income and their position in the value chain. In this final year, alongside local partners, we are helping to develop 15 coir co-operatives - out of a total of 25 co-operatives being supported by this project over three years. We are also developing the Matara Coir Federation (MCF) to represent the coir producers and support them to develop successful coir businesses.

How we are helping

 The biggest achievement of the project has been building very strong public and private partnerships with producer organisations, to invest in women owned and managed businesses in the coir industry.

   Tharangaa Gunasinghe, Oxfam's Poor Women's Economic Leadership programme

Project aims

  • Train women coir producers in the skills to become successful leaders and business managers.

  • Support women's coir co-operatives to engage in profitable enterprises and to develop quality coir products in high market demand.

  • Help women coir producers to have improved status in their society and increased access and control over income and resources.

  • Campaign to improve industry practices to make it easier for businesswomen in the coir industry.

Provide grants for 15 coir co-operatives - £20,000Organise a trade fair to promote coir products - £5,000

Inspired to make a difference?

By giving directly to this project you can be sure you are transforming people's lives. All of the money you give will go towards helping empower businesswomen in Sri Lanka. Get in touch to find out how you can help.

(if applicable)

Individual donors:

Chelsea Birkby -
01865 472832

Trusts and Foundations:

Julian Kosh - 
01865 472458


Inma Andres -
01865 473445

If you're based in Scotland:

Angus Nelson -
0141 285 8863

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