Pathfinder Foundation

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The Shame of Political Exclusion of Women.

Since independence, women in Sri Lanka have made considerable progress in the social and economic spheres.  90% of them are now literate and their health indicators are impressive for a country at Sri Lanka’s current level of development. Sri Lanka has performed extremely well on the Millennium Development Goal on maternal mortality, which has seen extremely disappointing progress across the world. Women are also more visible than ever in the public domain. They are well represented in the public service; the medical; legal and teaching professions; the arts and a number of other areas. They have also made progress in the private sector, though they are under-represented at senior management levels.  Progress has also been achieved in reforming gender discriminatory laws and there has been increased awareness of gender and women’s rights.

Last Updated on Sunday, 04 March 2012 23:15

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The Right to Information Act – Why?

It is encouraging that a recent parliamentary discussion both the Government and the opposition have signaled an interest in passing a Right to Information Law in Sri Lanka. The enactment of freedom of information legislation is bound to empower citizens and provide an essential element towards creating good governance. It is in this context that the Pathfinder Foundation is embarking on advocacy to accelerate the passage of this legislation.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 06 March 2012 20:40

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Higher Education: A Call for Pragmatism and Forward Thinking Defending the Right of 100,000 (83%) of A/L Qualified Students.

Political Consensus – Luckily at Last

Both the main political parties, the SLFP and UNP, support private participation in the provision of tertiary education. Yet attempts to establish private universities have so far been stymied by a fierce resistance from those who hold a minority perspective. They have been given ammunition for this by vested interests in educational policy making. This has constrained an expansion of tertiary education;   an improvement in its quality; and an increase in choice for the students. The prevalence of tuition classes and off-shore universities indicate that there is no anti – private education sentiment in this country. The status quo, which involves inadequate public resources to meet current demand; the production of graduates who cannot find productive employment; a mushrooming of unregulated institutions of varying quality; and increasing recourse to expensive foreign tertiary education, is clearly undesirable.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 06 March 2012 20:37

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Modernizing Municipal Governance: to Serve People Better


For the first time in human history, there are more people living in urban areas than in the rural sector. Responding to rapid urbanization is one of the key challenges of the 21st Century. The demand for basic services and infrastructure among the rapidly increasing urban population is a daunting task for many governments in the developing world.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 06 March 2012 20:38

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Chinese Model of Addressing Minority Concerns

In May 2009, Sri Lanka saw the end of the three decade long separatist war. It was a long, bitter and hard won victory. One of the few instances in modern history in which a terrorist group had been defeated militarily. While every Sri Lankan celebrated and was thankful that the war had finally ended few were naïve enough to believe that peace and harmony would follow through immediately. The war in Sri Lanka may be over.  However, the underlying root causes for political and social conflict still simmers. Real peace and reconciliation will not come overnight nor can it be imposed from the outside. Solutions need to be from within taking into consideration unique characteristics of our minorities, equality, prosperity and development for all.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 06 March 2012 20:35

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Decentralization/Devolution: Empower the Disempowered?


Decentralization/Devolution has been pursued in over 80% of developing countries. It has been an important element of the “democratization” that has taken place since the end of the Cold War. Greater emphasis has been placed on citizens as the source of legitimate state authority.  There has been a considerable body of research on the impact of decentralization/devolution on poverty reduction, the quality of service delivery and conflict. The empirical evidence presents a mixed picture of the impact of these processes. This places a high premium on careful design of decentralization/devolution, with a particular emphasis on building local capacities.  One clear message is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Specific local circumstances are a crucial determinant of the outcomes of such programmes. While decentralization/devolution has a mixed record overall, empirical evidence suggests that there are some areas where it is particularly effective: primary education; hospitals; local roads; markets; water supply and sanitation; and solid waste management.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 06 March 2012 22:07

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View Point Introduction

Since November, 2010 the PF has issued a number of View Point articles providing alternative perspectives on  social and political issues of concern to the citizenry.

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