The Meatless Monday Sri Lanka team was invited to take part in the Youth4Peace capacity building programme that was organised by UN Volunteers Sri Lanka, in partnership with UNFPA and UN Women. During the workshop that took place from 1st to 5th June 2018, the Meatless Monday Sri Lanka team had the opportunity to raise awareness about its objectives and activities.
Ms. Vositha Wijenayake, the Country Director for Humane Society International, Sri Lanka attended the ‘Youth4Peace’ workshop and conducted a session on environmental peacebuilding and how it is important to take consideration of animal welfare during a time of conflict. she mentioned that during a time of conflict, people often forget the welfare of animals, as livestock and wildlife get caught in the middle of cross fire created by humans and die needlessly as a result. Therefore, she stated that it is important to promote peacebuilding processes as it in return promotes animal welfare.
Ms. Buddhika Ranadheera, Deputy Director of Programme and Research, from the Meatless Monday Sri Lanka team introduced the Meatless Monday campaign which is a global movement that has gained vast popularity and success over the past few years.
“The ask of the campaign is to make people give up meat for one day of the week. Changing one’s choice to a plant based diet can have many benefits, among those being the protection of animals, improving one’s health by moving from unhealthy eating habits, creating a responsible society, help protect the environment and adapt to impacts of climate change,” said Ms. Ranadheera.
(Ms. Buddhika Ranadheera introducing the Meatless Monday Campaign)
The organizing committee decided to make Monday the 4th of June a Meatless Monday for all participants with vegetarian morning and evening refreshments, lunch, and dinner. The youth leaders were motivated to make a change in their food choices that they pledged to cut meat on Mondays and raise awareness among others as well.
The Youth4Peace capacity building programme was organized to empower youth leaders to become peacebuilders in their own communities. Approximately 25 participants attended the training from across the Southern Province and from Polonnaruwa and Kurunegala.