South Asian Centre of Excellence for Gender Equality, Sexual and Reproductive Health Research and Interventions: Partnering with UNFPA
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) partners with the University of Colombo in establishing a South Asian Centre of Excellence (CoE) for Gender Equality, Sexual and Reproductive Health Research and Interventions signifying the longstanding partnership between the two institutions which dates back to 1973. The scope of the Centre of Excellence encompasses promoting multidisciplinary research, capacity building, service delivery and fieldwork in sexual and reproductive health and beyond. The proposed CoE’s functions encapsulate sharing learning across the region, digital health innovation, fostering innovation to promote gender equality and providing opportunities to pilot initiatives to take research to policymakers to support informed decision-making.
The Vice Chancellor, Senior Professor (Chair) H.D. Karunaratne appointed a Multidisciplinary Technical and Coordination Committee for steering the ideation of the Centre of Excellence. The Committee comprises Senior Professor L. Manawadu, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Professor Vidya Jyothi Vajira H. W. Dissanayake, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Professor Sampath Punchihewa, Dean of the Faculty of Law, Professor Manori Weeratunga, Head of the Department of Demography, Dr Sashika Manoratne, Director, International Office and Professor Subhangi Herath, Department of Sociology representing the University of Colombo. The inaugural meeting of the South Asian Centre of Excellence aimed at reviewing the terms of reference for the Committee and agreeing upon the operational modalities of the Multidisciplinary Committee was held on 11 January 2023 at the Senate Hall, College House, University of Colombo with the representation of both institutions.
UNFPA members included Mr Kunle Adeniyi, Representative, Sri Lanka Country Director, Ms Madusha Dissanayake, Assistant Representative, Ms Poorani Radhakrishnan, National Programme Analyst – Population Data & Ageing, Ms Sarah Soysa – National Programme Analyst – Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights and Ms Anushika Amarasinghe, Consultant – Planning and Partnership Development. The University of Colombo was represented by the Vice Chancellor, Senior Professor Karunaratne, Senior Professor Manawadu, Professor Weeratunga, Dr Udapadie Liyanage, the Acting Dean of the Faculty of Law, Professor Herath and Dr Manoratne.