Outreach Unit

CPAs Capacity Building and Outreach thematic group networks extensively with the grassroots and citizen activists, complementing CPA-initiated interventions by spreading awareness among citizens to facilitate an informed public dialogue on relevant issues towards an overall goal of peace, democracy and good governance. It raises awareness among citizens through workshops, dialogues and simplified trilingual publications.

The group strives to increase awareness in and understanding of, and ideally belief in, the fundamental convictions held by CPA on peace, democracy and good governance, among the Public and particularly rural stakeholders of our projects with a particular emphasis on youth and women’s’ groups.

CPA’s Outreach Unit officially commenced operations in January 2007 with an Awareness Raising Program on Local Governance. Prior to the formation of the Outreach Unit, the core team members of this Unit, however, have had the experience of working in CPA’s Peace and Conflict Analysis Unit for almost five years. Outreach Unit strives to increase awareness and understanding of the fundamental convictions held by CPA on peace, democracy and good governance, among the Public and particularly among the Rural Stakeholders with a particular emphasis on youth and women’s groups.

Outreach Unit is mandated with complementing CPA‐initiated interventions by spreading awareness among citizens to facilitate an informed public dialogue on relevant issue towards an overall goal of peace, democracy and good governance.

The Unit has an extensive network of contacts among NGOs, CBOs, Youth Organizations and Local Authorities in Sri Lanka. The Outreach Unit has the advantage of support and co‐operation from the other units of the CPA as well as the widespread recognition of CPA’s credibility and performance since its inception. Through CPA, a solid donor base of financial and resource support has been established and stable INGO linkages maintained which help in the drawing of expertise and information.

In general its activities include:

  • Awareness Raising Workshops, for Youth, Provincial Council members, Secretaries and LA Officials & Representatives and Community Leaders
  • Production and Distribution of Periodical and One off Publications
  • Creation and maintaining of strategic networks eg CSO, NGOs, Schools and University contacts, Provincial Council and Local Authority contacts as well as encouraging them to maintain inter community linkages with each other
  • Functioning as a communication intermediary between rural stakeholders and central policy and decision makers.

Among its major strengths is a base of trained, experienced & dedicated staff, resource personnel and a contact base of consultants who are established experts in their relevant subject areas.

Programmes initiated by CPAs Capacity Building and Outreach arm have resulted in the building up of substantial contact networks in the Rural areas as well as in Policy Formulation spheres. For example useful communication channels are built between CPA and

  • Ministries : SL Ministries of National Dialogue, Education and  Ministry of Local Governance in particular
  • University Lecturers & Academics from all major Universities in the country
  • Education Personnel from 60 Schools island-wide.
  • Community Based Organisations (a base of at least 2000 organisations have worked directly with us) – Youth, Women’s, Farmers, Trade Unions etc
  • Provincial Journalists Organisations and Media representatives.(with CPA’s Media Unit)
  • Local Authority personnel, Representatives, Officials etc of all levels
  • Partner Civil Society Organisations involved in the same fields.(approx 40)
  • Periodical Outreach Unit Publications such as Peace Monitor reach up to 2500 libraries in Schools, Privenas, Churches and Media Institutions around the country and are an excellent forum for communication to all areas reached.

Recent Programmes (2010-to date)

Language Rights

Language equality is a crucial component in the reconciliation process. Regardless of the number and apparent force of regulation, legislation, and institutions set up to promote Sri Lanka’s Official Languages Policy – the actual ground situation with regard to language rights, as studied in the numerous field visits, interviews and other research carried out during our programmes,  is demonstrably dismal and has serious implications on citizens access to information, justice, and education, and administration and daily life.

CPA carried out a comprehensive analysis of language policies in practice at  49 national level ministries to determine their actual adherence to the Official Language Policy (OLP) implementation which was used to identify gaps/ challenges specific to each institution. Based on the findings, a set o f long – term, as well as short term recommendations aimed at creating systematic institutional change across government, were presented to the relevant ministries.

Analysis of Implementation of Official Languages Policy in Bilingual Divisional Secretariat Divisions

CPA Outreach Unit played the role of a service provider regarding the following deliverables to UNDP;
1.        Finalizing questionnaire, survey sample and work-plan for work to be undertaken and agreement on guidelines for Focus Group Discussion and Key Informant Interview.
2.        Preparation for training for enumerators for data collection:
3.        Data collection including spot checking, back checking, data entry and coding.
4.        Analysis of data, presentation of draft findings and submission of Draft Report.
5.        Incorporating comments provided by the Ministry and submission of Final Report.

Promoting Language Rights of Minorities (PLRM)  

In 2011, CPA launched a campaign to promote language rights of minorities in Sri Lanka, in accordance with the recommendations set forth by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) report that emphasised the benefit of the Official Languages Policy (OLP) which gave equal prominence to both Sinhala and Tamil as the official languages of Sri Lanka. For five years, CPA through the PLRM project conducted sensitisation programmes of government/public officers, and the general public on the content of the OLP and its importance. It also pursued public interest litigation in the form of filing complaints to the Human Rights Commission and Official Languages Commission when the OLP had been infringed upon.

CPA conducted Training of Trainers sessions every year; representatives from regional partner organizations were selected and given training by CPA staff (provincial coordinators, legal experts, and Senior Researcher) on the OLP and how one can pursue a complaint with local authorities, the police, or the Human Rights Commission. They in turn were contracted and given the responsibility of creating Language Societies (LCs) in the 15 Districts of activity. Lmade up of village activists, that advocated for language equality in their regions. They advocated for changing of name boards to trilingual signage, requesting for official forms in both official languages, requesting police stations to enlist officers proficient in both Sinhala and Tamil etc.).


CPA carried out a comprehensive audit of implementation of Language Policy and of compliance with Language related provisions of the LLRC, in all 36 DS Divisions in 14 Districts of Sri Lanka, in the North, East, Uva and Central provinces, during the months June – August 2014. The audit aimed to identify the current status in the implementation of bilingual policy across transport and pharmaceutical sectors, government institutions, common public areas  and private entities in the areas covered. These questionnaires assessed compliance with Official languages policy and the Language provisions of the LLRC, in terms of both the official and the institution, including focus on such matters as documentation, signage, service provision, and access to services, in the personal experiences of subjects questioned.

Press Cover of Programmes

Language Rights





Citizens Councils
Citizen Councils are local a community of people who have an interest in what is happening around them. They are eager to learn about their rights and responsibilities, their environment, their government, their economies, and what affects the quality of their lives, and they want to be able to engage with governance and make a difference. They want to bring about positive change in this country. They want to face its challenges and take effective action. The CPAs outreach programmes have formulated more that 300 local Citizens councils in more than XX districts, with nodal points formed by Community Based Organisations working with CPA

Citizen Engagement in Constitution Building 

CPA aimed to enhance public awareness on the latest developments with regards to the promulgation of a new Constitution for Sri Lanka. Accordingly, the initiatives were taken to galvanize citizens to engage in the process and the programme targeted all the members of public with a focus on youth and civil society organizations.

Press Cover of Programmes




Supporting the Universal Periodic Review 2017 to Strengthen Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights and Gender Targets in Sri Lanka   

The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA), in collaboration with the Family Planning Association of Sri Lanka (FPASL), submitted a civil society shadow report on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) for the Universal Periodic Review for 2017. Discussions were held at national level and District levels to gauge the opinions of the public in order to develop the report and  to bring together SRHR advocates in order to identify the key SRHR recommendations that are going to be the focus for the assessment of implementation. The report, inclusive of recommendations for policy reform in SRHR, was submitted to the Office of the Human Rights Commissioner in due time.

Project on Safeguarding Civil Rights of Plantation Sector Workers

The estate sector workers of Badulla district are still some of the most marginalised people in Sri Lanka, and conditions have remained almost unchanged by recent post war development drives. Exemplifying the administrative neglect of these communities is the fact that many plantation sector workers have never had a permanent contact address to their name. The lack of National Identity cards among some workers leads to a number of serious issues, eg. limited freedom of movement, vulnerability in civil and criminal cases, lack of security, complications in obtaining official documentation and finding employment etc

CPA, along with a local partner Uva Shakthi Foundation, has worked on a pilot project in Passara to provide permanent addresses, for the first time ever in the plantation sector, for 3000 families of estate workers. The project also organized setting up secure mail collection boxes in 20 localities, selecting road names and providing signage for 40 of the estate by-roads in the area, in an endeavor to safeguard the delivery of correspondence.

Mobile clinics were hosted to speed up the application process for more than 300 National Identity Cards, which may otherwise reach owners late or never.  The latter is particularly relevant to a large number of students who are due to sit for exams shortly.

Right To Information Advocacy

Outreach Unit, has facilitated 200 of RTI requests in 2017 and has been following up with the responds and feedback received by relevant public institutions on a regular basis. Throughout the year 2017, CPA has conducted 25 awareness raising workshops across the Island which resulted in creation of thousands of empowered citizens encouraged to use RTI as a combat tool to resolve their issues pertaining to language, lands and receiving correspondence addresses (plantation sector) among many other violations.  CPA intends to continue to create a more integrated and a responsive network at the grassroots level by promoting the course of RTI awareness raising among newly appointed local governance representatives, public servants at local level and civic activists.

Workshop Series on Awareness Raising on RTI 

Press Cover of Programmes


Some recent articles by Lionel Guruge Senior Researcher in Charge of Capacity building and Outreach





Sharing Experiences from the islandwide Citizen Dialogue on the LLRC (2012)

The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) has taken a lead in monitoring the levels of public awareness of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) and the implementation of its recommendations.  CPA has monitored the proceedings of LLRC and disseminated information to the public through its websites critically analysing shortcomings in the process.

CPA was the first institution in Sri Lanka to issue a translation of Chapter 9 (Recommendations) of the LLRC Report in Sinhala and Tamil in May 2012 and a report on the benchmarks for peace and reconciliation in post war Sri Lanka.  CPA also successfully implemented a project promoting Citizen Dialogue on the LLRC, raising awareness of its recommendations and their importance for the process of conflict transformation in Sri Lanka.

One of the significant outcomes of this project was that both the original Commission report and the Action Plan for the Implementation of its recommendations were simplified and made available to more than one hundred and thirty thousand citizens, through publications, email, electronic mail and dialogues held in Sinhala and Tamil at 1033 meetings, facilitated by 47 regional trainers island-wide.

Read the reports online in English, Sinhala and Tamil.

Outreach publications

Over the years we have issued a number of user-friendly publications in all three languages, on a number of subjects ranging from Provincial Councils, Local governance, power devolution, Language Rights, Right to Information etc.

Saama Vimarshi, our long running and widely distributed periodical on issues of  peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka, is now in its 15th year. Recent issues are available here.



  • Sri Lanka’s Ethnic Problem and its Solutions ( 3 languages)
  • The Federal Idea (3 Languages)
  • Emergency Law and the Parliament (Sinhala)
  • Federal Wadaya (Translation of the Periodical titled Federations by Forum of Federations)
  • Judgement in the Krishanthi Coomaraswamy Case ( 3 languages)
  • The Ethnic Conflict and the Responsibilities of Ethnic Minorities(Sinhala and Tamil)
  • Devolution of Power ( 3 languages)
  • Commentary :Structure and Process of Negotiations ( 3 languages)
  • Tsunami : Alternative Proposals in Rehabilitation ( 3 languages)
  • Evolution of the Federal Concept in Sri Lanka ( 3 languages)
  • Buddhism and Conflict Resolution
  • “Local Governance” by S.G.Punchihewa, Attorney At Law. The legal descriptions and definitions of local authorities as applicable in Sri Lanka. Categories of L As, their powers, bylaws, taxes and revenue generation, assessment of properties, interim legislations etc are discussed in detail. (Sinhala and Tamil Language)
  • “Regional Government & Roles and Responsibilities of their Representatives”by S.G.Punchihewa, Attorney At Law. Covering the internal workings of local authorities including committee members, duties and responsibilities of chairperson and others, committee system in the Local Authorities, committees in UCs, MCs etc. (Sinhala and Tamil Language)
  • “Local Government Institutions” by Upul Abeyrathne, Senior Lecturer, Dept of Political Science, University of Ruhuna. Somewhat similar in        organization of topics in the booklet “Local Governance” by S.G.Punchihewa, this booklet describes in detail the internal procedures and structure as well as interconnections that lie within Local Authorities. (Sinhala and Tamil Language)
  • “Regional Governance, Aims, Origin and Procedures” Dhamma Dissanayake, Senior Lecturer, Dept of Political Science and Public Policy, University of Colombo. The goals of L As are described through 26 descriptions and offers a brief comparative L A systems in other countries such as Australia, India etc. (Sinhala and Tamil Language)
  • “Local Governance and your right to information” Sunanda Deshapriya, Journalist and Convener Free Media Movement. The importance of L As in peoples lives are stressed along with the vital “Right to        Information” of citizens. (Sinhala and Tamil Language)
  • “Creating a transparent local government body without corruption and malpractice” Jagath Liyanarachchi, Attorney at Law. Explaining practical methods to keep Members and officials’ corruption in check. (Sinhala and Tamil Language)

Sinhala Articles

  • Nawaladi – Hiru Paayanathuru Nawaladi Wesiyo (Rawaya, Vidiwelli)
  • Deekavabi – Suluthrawevi Peedawinthina Deekavabi Wesiyo (Rawaya)
  • AnandhaPuram – Anandhapuram Savasyame (Ravaya)

Tamil Articles

  • Thinakural – Preserving Tamil Language Rights is Necessary
  • Society must be vigilant on Language Rights
  • Thinakural – Problems Ripe in Village of ‘Saama’




LLRC Recommendations Simplified (Sinhala/Tamil)
Preface to a Citizens Discourse/ mqrjeis l;sldj;lg fmrjokla
m<d;a iNd l%uh Yla;su;a lr .ekSfï jevigyk 2008 – úis jirl w;a±lSï wdYs; cd;sl ks¾foaY  
Sri Lanka’s Ethnic Problem and its Solutions ( 3 languages) YS% ,xldfõ cd;sl;aj .eg¨j iy úi÷ï
YS% ,xldfõ m%dfoaYSh wdKavqlrKh¦ tod iy wo
The Federal Idea (3 Languages) fmvr,a woyik
Emergency Law and the Parliament (Sinhala)
Pederal Wadaya (Translation of the Periodical titled Federations by Forum of Federations)
Judgement in the Krishanthi Coomaraswamy Case ( 3 languages) ls%Idka;s l=udriajdñ >d;k kvqj iy weô,smash isiq >d;k kvqfjka miq udkj whs;sjdislï 1999
The Peace Process and Responsibility of Minority Parties idu ls%hdj,sh  iy iq¿ cd;sl mlaIj, j.lSu
The Ethnic Conflict and the Responsibilities of Ethnic Minorities(Sinhala and Tamil)
Ethnic Conflict and Responsibility of Civil Society jd¾.sl w¾nqoh iy isú,a iudcfhys j.lSï
Devolution of Power ( 3 languages)
Commentary : Structure and Process of  Negotiations ( 3 languages)
Tsunami : Alternative Proposals in Rehabilitation ( 3 languages)
Evolution of the Federal Concept in Sri Lanka ( 3 languages) YS% ,xldfõ fmvr,a woyfiys .uka u. ^1926-2005&
Buddhism and Conflict Resolution .egqï iu:kh iy nqÿoyu
The Role of Local Government Authorities
The Role of the Ombudsman 1998


For more information about programmes before 2012 please click here


Rough work


Older links





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