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Supporting Local Organizations to Foster Gender Equality and Resilience on Mulah Island, Meemu Atoll, Maldives

Program Year: 2024

On Meemu Mulah, a unique 68.4-hectare island in the Maldives with a population of 1,892, the local council, the Women’s Development Committee (WDC), and community-based organizations are creating positive change by addressing issues of gender inequality. A significant issue on the island is domestic violence, with one in three women in the Maldives reporting experiencing violence in their lifetime and one in four women subjected to intimate partner violence, according to a 2021 report by UNFPA. Meemu Mulah’s current WDC, elected in 2021, is crucial in empowering women on the island through skills training and facilitating economic participation. They also conduct awareness sessions on women’s empowerment, domestic violence, and parenting. Through critical funding and capacity-building efforts, The Asia Foundation supports Community Empowerment Linkage (CEL), a civil society organization working closely with the island’s WDC and community to engage youth in promoting gender equality and addressing community needs. 

CEL was initiated in 2020 by a group of schoolmates who shared a common goal: contributing to the betterment of their island community to create a prosperous and healthy society. The organization comprises young men and women on Meemu Mulah and operates under the guidance of a steering committee comprising eleven members, including female members who actively participate in decision-making processes. The current membership consists of 25 individuals, 48% of which are female.

During a recent visit to Meemu Mulah, our Maldives project team witnessed an awareness session hosted by CEL that served as a valuable platform for dialogue on gender equality and domestic violence. Thirty participants from various institutions, including schoolteachers, WDC members, and local council members, discussed gender norms, stereotypes, and the importance of challenging harmful behaviors. By addressing these issues head-on and taking a collaborative approach with local organizations, Meemu Mulah is paving the way for positive change. 

Related programs: Women's Empowerment and Gender Equality
Related topics: Maldives

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