Ashoka Fellow
Sri Lanka,
Fellow Since 2003
Now he has left NCPA-Child Protection authority


This profile was prepared when Harendra De silva was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2003.
The New Idea
Professor de Silva realized that it would be possible for a single Sri Lankan government agency to address all aspects of child abuse. Through his persistence, government ministers, officials, police, judges, teachers, medical professionals, and community workers are cooperating with the National Child Protection Authority and successfully using clear, simple, and effective methods of advocacy, protection, legal reform, and rehabilitation for child abuse victims in households nationwide. The authority has managed to cut across all layers of society and government to have a significant presence from the national to the local level.
The strength of the National Child Protection Authority lies in involving everybody in its work, not only as interested observers but also as keen participants. This has meant engaging the public, government agencies and officials, professionals, and nongovernment bodies. In the public domain, the authority has built a high profile through campaigns in schools and in the media, distribution of materials, and publicity actions on prevention and monitoring of child abuse. It has also sought to convince persons in government that by effective legal changes, policymaking and implementation, it is possible with limited resources and effort to significantly affect how people in Sri Lanka treat children. And it has brought representatives of citizen groups and professional associations into the decision-making realm, offering them a role in management and working with them to address the needs of special groups of children like those affected by war. In these ways, the authority is growing beyond any individual or organization and taking on wider ownership, adding momentum to its work, insulating it from outside attack, and institutionalizing its role in Sri Lankan society.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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