About NNAF

NGO National Action Front

Background of NNAF

The Sri Lanka-Canada Development Fund which was supported by the Canadian International Development Agency and providing development assistance to Sri Lankan Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) took the initiatives to establish the NGO National Action Front (NNAF) in 1995 as a network of NGO/CSOs to improve the efficiency, effectiveness and transparency in managing the NGOs/CSOs. In 1995, 13 DCs consisting of 130 NGOs formed the NNAF, and was registered in 1996 under the Social Services Act. And in 1916 registered under the government NGO Secretariat. Attempts were made to promote a Code of Conduct for self-regulation of NGOs/CSOs. 

After the discontinuation of the Sri Lanka-Sri Lanka Development Fund, the Sri Lanka Centre for Development Facilitation (SLCDF) undertook the responsibility to provide institutional support and facilitation for the functioning of NNAF since 1996.  NNAF is registered as an independent NGO since 2016 and functioning as an independent membership organisation governed by the Executive Committee elected annually by the representatives of the District NGO consortiums. District Consortium of NGOs/CSOs is established in 20 districts with the membership of NGOs/CSOs functioning in the respective districts. NNAF is the apex body of the managed by the elected community of the district Consortiums. NNAF maintains collaborative working relationship with SLCDF.

NNAF has enrolled membership of 500 NGOs/CSOs and about 6000 CBOs implement programmes at present and spread to 20 district based Consortiums. Primary focus of NNAF have been to facilitate NGOs/CSOs towards networking, collaborative initiatives and rights based advocacy on common issues affecting the socio, economic and cultural development of communities, particularly among the poor and marginalised.  For the past three years, NNAF was involved in consolidating its past activities and took initiative to promote a new and comprehensive drafts of a Code of Ethnic and Conduct (COC) through the participation of NGOs/CSOs. The drafting of the COC is completed and NNAF is involved in promoting NGOs/CSOs to voluntarily adhere to the COC. Providing support for the capacity building of NGOs/CSOs is an ongoing process to introduce COC and to enhance their capacity for them to understand the COC and decide to voluntarily adhere to it. 47 district based trained resource activists are involved at the district levels to promote the COC as well as to support NGOs/CSOs. They are known as the District level accreditors involved in supporting NGOs/CSOs to enhance their understanding on the COC. These District level Accreditors will support the NGOs/CSOs to complete the self-assessment tools as the adherence to COC is a voluntary choice of NGOs/CSOs. These District level Accreditors will also assess the NGOs/CSOs on their commitment to adhere to COC and make recommendations to the Accreditation Commission for the Accreditation. Seven member independent Accreditation Council is established to provide Accreditation to NGOs/CSOs. NNAF with its present membership of 500 NGOs/CSOs will take initiative to reach NGOs/CSOs in the remaining five districts to make it truly an all Island network covering all 25 districts.

A General Council will be established as a policy making body of the NNAF and NGOs/CSOs provided accreditation by the Accreditation Council for their adherence to COC will become members of the General Council.  This initiative of is also expected to strengthen the recognition and dignity of NGOs/CSOs and to strengthen their social capital.







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External Context and NAF Operations

NAF operational context was analyzed extensively using PESTEL analysis tool. This supported to identify the political, economic, social, technology and the environmental and legal geographies that prevails in the context.

The review on the economic context insisted that the Sri Lanka’s economy has hit rock bottom as it defaulted on international loans and is facing rampant fuel and food shortages, and the government imposed a state of emergency. The Sri Lankan economy has completely collapsed, but this economic meltdown is not a surprise: Years of mismanagement have been exacerbated by several external shocks and the unwillingness to seek help from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) earlier. Everything that could go wrong with the economy has: Sri Lanka faces budget and current account deficits, hyperinflation, a devalued currency and a huge sovereign debt that it can no longer pay.1 Finally IMF loan of $2.9bln will be received by Sri Lanka with some critical agreements and promises which will subpress the freedom of the citizens of Sri Lanka. The present and the past government did not have any “Debt Restructure Programme” and it has supported to worsen the economic condition in Sri Lanka.

The above-mentioned situation in the political and economic context has impacted in creating many issues at social context of Sri Lanka.

According to an Opinion Tracker Survey carried out by the Institute of Health Policy provides a clearer answer for the youth migration in the recent past from Sri Lanka. This survey suggested that youth aged 18-29 have the highest desire to migrate at around 48%. But it was people in areas such as the Western province who indicated greater capability of preparing for migration. This is likely due to the high initial cost including airfare, tuition fees and initial living expenses. Departures in categories other than short-term employment, therefore, seem to be mainly associated with high and middle-income groups. One frequently discussed implication of this is brain drain or the emigration of highly knowledgeable people. Out-migration can also affect economic growth as these social segments provide a stable source of demand for goods and services and contribute to investments. Beyond economic impacts, such communities also hold significant socio-political power in the country.

According to the UNICEF, 7 out of 10 families are cutting down their food intake to mitigate the crisis, accordingly, those who were having three meals had decreased to two, while those who were eating two meals had declined it to one. The UNICEF recently launched an appeal for $25 million to provide humanitarian aid to 1.7 million children in Sri Lanka, which the UNICEF points out are at risk of dying from malnutrition-related causes. While Sri Lanka has the second-highest rate of acute malnutrition among children under 5 in South Asia, at least 17% of children are suffering from chronic wasting, a disease that carries the highest risk of death.

The quality of the food has recorded a severe decrease as will, while Sri Lanka has not had favorable numbers with regard to its standing on malnutrition, the current economic crisis will only make it worse, the families are pushing their limits, with children not being able to access their basic rights due to the country’s inability to import essentials such as fuel. The crisis had affected schoolchildren the most, with them being unable to go to school due to the rise in fuel prices, and being at the risk of starving due to the prices of school meals being doubled, which was a major incentive for children to go to school.

Gender-based violence is seen to be the result of various pervasive factors in Sri Lankan society, including deep prevailing inequality between genders due to firm social norms, women being in economically disadvantageous positions, and the prevalence of poverty (Gamage and Tummodara, 2021). Thus, even today, Sri Lankan women face challenges in standing against discrimination that pertain to deep-rooted patriarchal norms (Balachandran, 2022). Moreover, while facing unemployment, women are financially dependent on their spouses or partners, whereby such dependency causes Sri Lankan women serious hardships in reporting cases of violence perpetrated by their partners (Gamage and Tummodara, 2021).

Even though NAF is not working directly with the community to solve the issues, it will be involving in referrals, joint advocacies and collaborative actions with the other networks in the areas to act as a pressure group to identify solutions for the issues which prevails in the context.

As can be clearly illustrated from the statistics and the lapse in the legal mechanisms, the Sri Lankan government has been ignoring the violence against its women. Particularly, this is evidenced by the large percentage of un(der)reported cases of gender-based violence. The economic crisis has further brought this issue to the forefront. Because of its deep-rooted patriarchy and sexism prevalent and widespread in the cultural practices of its society, Sri Lanka has a long path to ensure gender equality. However, as an immediate step towards preventing and thereby eliminating sexual and domestic violence directed towards women, legal guarantees and the gaps in implementation mechanisms that fail to abide by international legal standards need urgent attention.

What we are doing so far...