Sri Lanka’s transition

Sugandhi Samarasinghe is a member of the Climate and Environment Team of UNDP in Sri Lanka (picture below).  “We work with the national and local Government, the private sector and community organizations to empower and strengthen the resilience of people. We support the Government to better respond to the effects of climate change, while supporting environmental management systems and protection of biodiversity.

Sugandi: “Conserving and sustaining biodiversity and our environment is a significant challenge for a country like Sri Lanka that is highly populous, and undergoing rapid economic growth. There are competing interests between the environment conservation and economic development. Having a clear strategy on mainstreaming biodiversity conservation into sustainable development is essential in these transitionary times. UNDP acts as a catalyst for a sustainable change”.

Online collaboration

One of the key points in MDF’s training on advocacy and policy influencing is the need to take a collaborative position. A clear stakeholder analysis is often a first step in this process. Who is involved and what are their interests; are they for collaborative or not? During the training, Sugandhi and her colleagues from other Teams like Inclusive Governance, and Policy and Engagement, realized that while they do practice common tools like Stakeholder Analysis, they often did not take the time to engage thoroughly.  MDF’s cloud-based collaborative visual tools allowed the team to discuss systematically and fully. It worked even better better than papers and flipcharts!

Addressing real-life challenges

Sugandhi Samarasinghe of UNDP Sri LankaMDF facilitated a series highly focused web-based sessions, of maximum three hours each. As UNDP participants have intensive work schedules, it allowed them to combine the training with their other workday tasks. We designed the training almost as a ‘face-to-face’ experience - with case groups, skills-building exercises, and discussions. We got to know UNDP’s real life advocacy challenges, and worked through solutions.

One such challenge is the reporting of advocacy results. These are often unpredictable, may take years, or even decades, and typical quantitative indicators are not suitable. Our session on Outcome Harvesting drew lot of interest. UNDP concluded that this method would be very useful to help them capture and report on their progress.

Thanks to the hard work put in by the UNDP participants, it was definitely not a passive, theoretical lecture-based experience, but highly interactive and collaborative, which generated immediate and visually strong outputs.


Need to know more? Join our Advocacy and Policy Influencing training course between 3-13 August 2020. This is an online course which will be delivered by a global team of highly-experienced MDF trainers. You can do it from anywhere. Please contact us at, if you need more information.