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Director, Gender and Justice programs, Sri Lanka

Ramani Jayasundere first joined The Asia Foundation in 1997 and has worked on the Foundation’s law and justice programs in both fulltime and part-time capacities since then. In 2017 she was appointed as the Director for Gender and Justice programs in the Foundation’s Sri Lanka office.

Jayasundere began her work with the Foundation as Program Manager (Law) of the USAID supported Citizen Participation (CIPART) Project in 1997. From 2004 to 2008, she was Program Manager of the USAID supported Human Rights Initiative, and from 2004 to 2008 was Senior Program Manager Access to Justice Program supported by USAID and the British High Commission. As Manager of different law and justice programs, she worked on law reform, institutional building of justice sector institutions, strengthening mediation, and enabling access to justice through legal empowerment and legal aid and research.

From 2008 to 2016, she served as a part-time Senior Technical Advisor for law and justice programming; gender sensitization and mainstreaming; increasing women’s participation in mediation; developing a documenting system for mediation boards; supporting mediation observation visits from Nepal, China and Mongolia; and support to the Foundation’s Mongolia office to set up mediation boards in that country.

Outside of her work with the Foundation, Jayasundere has worked on promoting women’s equality (primarily in the field of law, alternative dispute resolution, addressing gender based violence and gender mainstreaming) for a number of agencies: ILO, UNDP, UNIFEM, UNFPA, FAO, IOM, Canadian International Development Agency, Swedish International Development Agency, British High Commission, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation; European Commission Delegation; International agencies Oxfam, Care, Solidarity Centre; Ministries of Justice, Women’s Affairs and Foreign Employment Promotion in Sri Lanka, Human Rights Commission and a number of local non-governmental organizations.

Work examples:

  • Integrating gender into the mediation process including gender sensitization and specialized gender training for mediators.
  • Managed the Sri Lanka component of the UNFEM South Asia Regional Initiative addressing trafficking of women working with government entities, law enforcement, trade unions and civil society organizations.
  • On women’s labour migration in Sri Lanka – Managed the process and produced the Sri Lanka National Labour Migration Policy and the Sri Lanka Migration Health Policy; worked on the implementation of the National Migration Policy.
  • Developed the Gender Policy of the Ministry of Labour in Sri Lanka and a workplace gender policy for private employment sector in Sri Lanka. Served as member of the National Women’s Committee. As a gender trainer, Ms. Jayasundere was involved in gender sensitization and gender mainstreaming as well as raising awareness on women’s rights among a wide range of institutions including the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of National Languages and Social Integration, Women’s Affairs, the Sri Lanka Army, bilateral and multilateral donors, UN agencies and local NGOs.

Recent publications:

  • Access to Justice Assessments in the Asia Pacific: A Review of Experiences and Tools from the Region, 2010. UNDP Asia Pacific Regional Centre.
  • Voices of Survivors – Case Stories of Domestic Violence Victims, 2012. Women In Need. Colombo.
  • Training Manual and Trainee Manual on Addressing Gender Based Violence in Community Mediation, Ministry of Justice and Women In Need. 2010.
  • Mediation Training Manuals for the Community Mediation Program of the Ministry of Justice. Coauthored with Dr. Christopher Moore and M. Thirunavukarasu. 2010

Education: Attorney at Law, Sri Lanka Law College, master’s degree in Women’s Studies and doctoral degree from University of Colombo.