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SIHL Research & Publications

Role of Religious Leaders in COVID‐19 Prevention: A Community‐Level Prevention Model in Sri Lanka


The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all countries irrespective of their state of development. In countries with traditional societies, religious leaders have been acknowledged as key stakeholders in community engagement activities, including disease prevention. A community-level prevention model was established in 2020 by the Health Promotion Bureau (HPB), Sri Lanka, which incorporated mobilisation of the clergy to support the prevention and response schemes to COVID-19 with non-governmental stakeholders. This model was part of a more extensive community engagement network established by the HPB in cooperation with the country offices for WHO and UNICEF. Building trust, empowering behavioural traits applicable to minimise risks from COVID-19, leadership and coordination, message dissemination, addressing stigma and discrimination, supporting testing procedures, contact tracing activities and vaccination, building community resilience, spiritual and psychosocial support, and welfare provision are some of the useful factors that were identified in the model. Furthermore, a much broader and holistic approach is needed to focus on health behaviours and social and cultural aspects in a multi-fac- eted nature. This paper highlights a novel COVID-19 prevention model with active involvement of religious leaders that can be implemented in low resource settings. Our experience from Sri Lanka demonstrates the feasibility of implementing this model to mitigate the disastrous situation following the COVID-19 outbreak.

Community Engagement During COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout - September, 2021


Community Engagement increases the likelihood that communities lead on the issues that affect them, use services, and build resilience. During the COVID-19 vaccine roll out, Community Engagement should be at the center. As Community Leaders and Influencers, the role you play is crucial and significant for Sri Lanka to recover better from COVID-19.
This information and action guide mainly covers four sections; Vaccination for Diseases, COVID-19 Vaccination, COVID-19 preventive behaviours and Community Engagement during COVID-19 vaccine roll out. Guide provides overall recommendations for the community role under the fourth section, and it is expected from Community Leaders and Influencers to use those recommendations as a guide and modify according to the ground realities.

SUWODAYA - AWAKENING WELLBEING, Sarvodaya COVID-19 Response, April 2021


This report lays out the public health initiatives delivered by the Lanka Jathika Sarvodaya Shramadana Sangamaya since the inception of the COVID-19 pandemic in Sri Lanka. Aligned by its renewed purpose, Sarvodaya launched a signature initiative coined as Suwodaya i.e., Awakening of Wellbeing particularly focusing on COVID-19 response initiatives. Sarvodaya has given meticulous consideration when launching Suwodaya considering the local realities of the communities they serve. The publication covers the period March 2020 to March 2021 qualifying it to be an annual report. However, the Suwodaya initiative will continue until Sri Lanka achieves satisfactory herd immunity levels and therefore Sarvodaya hopes to expand the programme in the months to come. Aiming at that long term goal, Sarvodaya has shaped Suwodaya to transform into a holistic wellbeing programme with much emphasis on COVID- 19 response.

Online Survey on Youth, Social Media, And Violence in Sri Lanka, May 2021, Trilingual


Social media is at the forefront of digital technology, embedded as a facet of modern-day life. As a digital tool with a wide range of apps and websites, it allows people to easily create content, communicate information and ideas in real-time, and build relationships in the virtual world. In this setting, social media has also been identified as a major contributor to modern-day violence of various forms.
Violent extremism, misinformation, hate speech, trolling and harassment targeting females, ethnic and gender minorities (LGBTQ), and political opponents are on the rise globally as well as in Sri Lanka. Recognising the urgency in addressing this situation, the British Council Sri Lanka and the Sarvodaya Institute of Higher Learning undertook a study to explore youth perspectives around social media and violence.
The findings of the survey will contribute to the designing and implementation of effective measures to minimise and eradicate violence on social media.

Sarvodaya Suwodaya Services:Community Mobilization Handbook - May 2020


This handbook provides basic health etiquette to be followed in preventing outbreaks in community settings. The handbook has been utilised by Sarvodaya Community Leaders in their respective communities inorder to sustain preventive action in their respective communities. The handbook is available in Sinhala and Tamil Languages.

Next Generation Sri Lanka : National Baseline on Post-War Youth Attitudes and Aspirations, March 2019


Ten years after the end of the civil war in Sri Lanka, this research explores the attitudes, aspirations and needs of young people across the country. In particular, it focuses on their engagement with the peace and reconciliation process, and how they are responding to the changes of the last decade. The project is a collaboration between the Sarvodaya Institute of Higher Learning and the British Council Sri Lanka.

Next Generation is a global research programme initiated in countries that are experiencing a period of significant change, with the purpose of ensuring that young people’s voices are heard and their interests properly represented in decisions that will have lasting implications for their lives.

The research projects examine young people’s views around education, employment and lifestyle, as well as uncovering their hopes and fears for their country, their degree of international engagement and views on the wider world, and the values and beliefs that affect their lives.