Nalinika Obeyesekere

Ashoka Fellow
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Fellow Since 2007


This profile was prepared when Nalinika Obeyesekere was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2007.
The New Idea
Nalinika has introduced a new model for veterinary care in Sri Lanka with three key aims: To develop a better trained workforce; to leverage new opportunities in the animal service industry; and to promote a general sense of compassion toward animals through community education programs.
Sri Lanka’s veterinary profession has long suffered from inadequate training and poor service. As a first step toward improving the quality of care, Nalinika established Sri Lanka’s first professional body of veterinary practitioners to promote ongoing professional development. The society offers an affordable continuing education program, with a focus on professional ethics.
Nalinika is furthermore pioneering new fields and commercial opportunities for animal care. With the number of pet-owning households on the rise, her multi-practitioner Pet Vet clinic highlights the growing profitability of animal care, thereby drawing better students to the field. She likewise promotes the use of animals for therapeutic purposes, and is generating new businesses in the animal service industry.
Finally, Nalinika operates a free service to care for street animals. This arm runs both mobile clinics and awareness programs in schools and communities, designed to promote better animal care. Children and their families are taught about rabies prevention and control, bite prevention and responsible pet ownership. The sum effect is an emerging ethic of compassion in a country brutalized by decades of war.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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