UNFPA and Japan deliver on three-years of PROMISES


Thursday, 15 December 2022: In Sri Lanka, 50% of young people are unaware about basic sexual health issues and one in five women have experienced intimate partner violence.

To address this issue, UNFPA and the Government of Japan joined hands in 2019 to deliver ‘PROMISES’, a project to improve access to information and services on sexual and reproductive health and gender-based violence, especially for women and young people.

The three-year project supported the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Women and Child Affairs to improve access to youth friendly services and strengthen the capacity of shelters for survivors of violence. Working together with implementing partners amidst several national crises, the project informed religious and community leaders on health and family planning; engaged civil society and youth-led organizations; and trained instructors through online and in-person trainings that focused on strengthening capacities and knowledge to ensure every woman and young person has equitable access to life-saving information and services.

“Parents were reluctant to send their children to the Yowun Piyasa centre as it is associated with social stigma, especially when girls speak to a public health midwife. Parents have a fear that society will look down upon their daughters thinking that they have become pregnant. Several educational and awareness programmes were conducted to parents to address these issues carefully and encourage young people to access services and information on their health and wellbeing”, said a service provider from Kopai.

Through the PROMISES project, three-months’ worth of life-saving medication and medical supplies critical for upholding the health of women and girls were provided to the Ministry of Health. The project also supported the infrastructure development of six shelters and worked with educators, police officers, state sector employees and service providers working with women, girls and families.

Speaking on the partnership, the Ambassador of Japan to Sri Lanka Mizukoshi Hideaki, stated, The Government of Japan has supported this project in partnership with UNFPA aiming to empower the most vulnerable women, girls and families with access to health and medical services and information, to protect themselves and their families. Although PROMISES will get a closure, I believe that its legacy will continue to contribute to the protection and well-being of women and girls, which would ultimately lead to sustaining peace and security”.

Speaking on the programme, UNFPA Representative in Sri Lanka, Mr. Kunle Adeniyi said, “The PROMISES project focused on supporting the government of Sri Lanka, civil society organizations and communities on strengthening access to family planning, sexual and reproductive health, improving young people’s access to health services, providing support to shelters and supporting women’s economic empowerment opportunities, all which are crucial to supporting families and individuals, especially amid crises. Empowering women is important to ensure they are inclusive in the peacebuilding and development processes of this country.”