From grassroots to global: Milinda volunteers in Sri Lanka


While at university, Milinda witnessed for himself the problems caused by the lack of abortion services and poor awareness of contraception: it was this that motivated him to work with the Family Planning Association of Sri Lanka (FPASL).

He joined the Family Planning Association of Sri Lanka in 2004 as a grassroots volunteer and peer educator for the Youth Caravan Project. It took him to 16 districts, where he worked to empower young people to understand their sexual and reproductive health and rights. 

In 2005 he took on the role of Secretary of the National Youth Technical Advisory Committee and in 2006 he became Chairperson of the National Youth Committee. He worked extensively to deliver education programmes, to support people living with HIV, to develop the HIV Stigma Index and to build sexual and reproductive health capacity.

He has set up, run and moderated major conferences and worked in a consultative capacity with governments and non-governmental organizations. In 2009, the University of Miami awarded him a Fellowship in Development Communication. 

Now, he is Coordinator of the South Asian Regional Youth Network (SARYN) which covers 9 IPPF Member Associations. It was launched in August 2010, backed by an exhibition of his own work capturing moments from workshops across the region.

This is a story of one volunteer’s extraordinary commitment to the SRHR cause, and it demonstrates how the organization as a whole prizes and uses grassroots experience to inform its work.

Milinda is a volunteer who works across the South Asia Region. Visit the South Asia Region pages for further information on volunteer opportunities.