There is growing interest amongst Canadians, and especially members of the Canadian Tamil diaspora, in contributing their time and professional expertise in a meaningful manner to develop and empower vulnerable communities in war-affected, under-developed, rural, and remote regions of Sri Lanka. However, it is often difficult for these individuals to identify and connect with credible local community-based organizations in Sri Lanka. is a growing global network of diaspora changemakers interested in sustainable development of vulnerable communities in war-affected, under-developed, rural, and remote regions of Sri Lanka, with an emphasis on the Northern and Eastern Provinces. Its mission is to help shift diaspora engagement from charity to sustainability, from aid to economic development, and from remittance to knowledge-based economy. It currently operates in Canada and Germany.

The Associateship program stream provides new and young professionals with the opportunity to discover, connect, and explore their heritage and history in the North and East of Sri Lanka. Applicants will pre-plan a project prior to their arrival in Sri Lanka, do a high-intensity implementation over a specified period of time on the ground in the Northern and Eastern provinces, and continue evaluation upon their return to Canada.  

Partner Description

Founded by a small group of feminist researchers and activists, the Women’s Education and Research Centre aims to increase women’s awareness, resources, and opportunities for effective participation in the economic, political, and social life of the country.  It strives to combat violence and discrimination against women and children on all levels – political, social, religious, and economic – and to fight for comprehensive change in all spheres of social life. WERC received financial support and funding from various organisations. We are a non-profit organisation and self-sustainability is at times a major problem. Therefore, continuous support from outside organisations is needed and the need to identify and engage new donor and sponsoring partners to continue the organization’s important work. For more information, please visit

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Formulate comprehensive project proposals, in support of initiating research to benefit women affected by conflict.
  • Provide research guidance and assistance to interns recruited by WERC, who wish to initiate projects in the North or the East of Sri Lanka.
  • Assist in various initiatives to strengthen WERC’s partnerships in conflict affected areas.
  • Support fundraising and grant proposal writing for WERC, by identifying, writing, and submitting highly customized applications and supporting documents for governments, multilateral NGOs, foundations and high net worth donors.
  • Develop compelling written proposals, concept notes, and expressions of interest addressing WERC’s key areas of focus that are also linked to donor priorities.
  • Contributes to the integration of gender perspectives/considerations and specific women/girls’ rights in all activities.


  • Completed undergraduate degree or diploma in International Development Studies, Social Sciences, Political Science, Gender Studies, or related disciplines.
  • Relevant programmatic and technical experience in the field of gender and development.
  • Excellent presentation, analytical, and oral and written communication skills.
  • Interpersonal skills, including open and honest communication, negotiation, and collaboration.
  • Full fluency in English and conversational proficiency in Tamil.
  • Strong personal initiative, resourcefulness and capacity to be self-motivated and also work as part of a team.  
  • Must be driven to improve the lives of marginalized people, and work with them to do so, in a way that is led by them, for them, and is sustainable and achieves their objectives.
  • Must be committed to equality, and by extension, open to learning about resilience, diversity and solidarity from the vulnerable communities they are working with.  
  • Must be able to lead by example by being open minded, humble and embrace opportunities to grow personally.

Preferred but not mandatory qualifications:

  • Currently in or completed graduate degree or post-graduate diploma in International Development Studies, Social Sciences, Political Science, Gender Studies, or related disciplines.
  • Conversational proficiency in Sinhala.
  • Work experience in vocational institutions, post-secondary institutions, or international organizations.

Volunteer Benefits and Support

  • Fifty percent (50%) of all placement costs covered (travel, meals, health insurance, accommodation).
  • Guidance with booking flights, obtaining visa, accommodations, etc.
  • Participation in pre-departure training where you will have the opportunity to learn about’s work, gain practical skills for living and working in a lower middle-income country, and meet other volunteers.
  • In-country orientation upon arrival.
  • Potential tour and briefing of the Northern and Eastern provinces.
  • Support and guidance prior to departure and while on assignment in Sri Lanka.
  • Return debriefing after completion of assignment.
  • The opportunity of a lifetime to provide meaningful assistance to war-impacted communities in the North and East of Sri Lanka.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Applicants must be a citizen or permanent resident of Canada or Germany between the ages of 25 – 40.
  • Departure date is contingent upon the timely completion of all administrative requirements (e.g. visa process, medical clearance, vulnerable sector check, travel documentation).
  • Successful applicants must raise fifty percent (50%) of their placement costs (travel, meals, health insurance, accommodations).