Meet the Team


Priyanthi Fernando

Priyanthi has a Masters Degree in Mass Communications from the University of Leicester and a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. A social development and communications professional with over 30 years of experience both in Sri Lanka and overseas, she has worked in the areas of technology, infrastructure and poverty. She has worked in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Yemen, the UK and Australia and has led several organisations: the Centre for Poverty Analysis, an independent Sri Lankan think tank; the International Forum for Rural Transport and Development, a specialist global network and the Sri Lanka country programme of Intermediate Technology Development Group (now called Practical Action), the Sri Lankan arm of an international NGO. Early in her career she worked with the Lanka Mahila Samiti, a grassroots women’s organisation in Sri Lanka and more recently served on the Boards of several other civil society organisations including the Women and Media Collective, Sri Lanka. Priyanthi has been passionate about issues of justice and about fighting structural inequalities relating to gender, access to technology, poverty and livelihoods.



Audrey Lee (Programme Manager)

Audrey has a post graduate diploma in Communications from the University of Leicester (2006) and a L.LB (Hons) from University of Nottingham (1996). Prior to joining IWRAW Asia Pacific, she worked as a project manager and (policy) researcher in the private education industry and was also a researcher at the World Enterprise Institute, a policy organ working on socio-economic issues.

Shanti Upreti (Programme Officer)

Shanti has a Masters in Sociology (MA) and Masters in Business Studies (MBS) from Tribhuvan University, Nepal. Shanti has previously worked with South Asia Partnership International where she was involved in policy research and advocacy for women’s political rights in South Asia. Prior to joining IWRAW AP, she worked with Plan International, Nepal where she focused on strengthening advocacy strategies and capacities of partners and coordinating global campaign on girls’ rights. Since 2013, Shanti has been working with IWRAW AP coordinating programmes on women’s economic, social and cultural rights and women’s rights in conflict and post conflict context.

Sanyu Awori (Programme Officer)

Sanyu has a Bachelor of Law (LLB) and a Masters in Human Rights Law (LLM with Distinction) from the University of Nottingham. Sanyu has worked for the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative where she focused on human rights advocacy in Commonwealth countries. Sanyu has researched for the Human Rights Law Centre in Nottingham and done community work with asylum seekers and refugees in the UK. At IWRAW Asia Pacific, Sanyu leads our work on business and women’s human rights and supports our programme on women’s economic rights.

Ishita Dutta (Programme Officer)

Ishita co-coordinates IWRAW Asia Pacific’s programmes on women’s right of access to justice and rights of marginalized groups of women. She has an academic background in law, having received her LL.M. from New York University School of Law. Her previous professional experiences have spanned legal research, advocacy, project development and management in the areas of gender based violence against women, sexual and reproductive health and rights and anti-discrimination and equality laws. She has written on these subjects and contributed to feminist publications including a Zubaan- IDRC project on Sexual Violence and Impunity and is currently involved in the Feminist Judgment Project, India. She speaks Bengali, Hindi and English.

Umyra Ahmad Fikri (Programme Officer)

Umyra has a Masters degree in International Law from the University of Nottingham and a Bachelor of Law (LLB) from the University of Manchester. Umyra has previously acted as an assistant advisor at the Nottingham Citizens Advice Bureau and assisted in carrying out research at a local Malaysian NGO, focusing on the rights of children in detention. Umyra co-coordinates the IWRAW Asia Pacific’s women’s human rights and access to justice programme, as well as advocacy strategies to address gender-based violence against women.

Sachini Perera (Programme Officer)

Sachini is a Sri Lankan activist currently based in Malaysia. She has a background in law, journalism and international relations and has worked in strategic communications and advocacy for feminist and women’s rights organizations for the past 9 years. Her work has spanned across local, national, regional and global levels and has given her an understanding of why knowledge, information and advocacy should be two-way across these various levels and how this should be facilitated, including through communications. Sachini has carried out various campaigns against gender-based violence in Sri Lanka and set up online platforms to bring together Sri Lankan women bloggers while working with the Women and Media Collective. Most recently she was a Senior Programme Officer at the Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women (ARROW), doing communications and advocacy with a focus on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). She worked with many partner organizations across Asia-Pacific and the Global South and along with them advocated for the full inclusion of SRHR during the intergovernmental negotiations that led to the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals. She has now joined the team at the International Women’s Rights Action Watch (IWRAW) Asia Pacific and is also piloting projects for feminist and women’s rights groups in Sri Lanka with a particular emphasis on groups that remain the margins of the women’s movement for various reasons.

Thashyni Pathmanathan (Communications Officer)

Thashyni has a Bachelor’s Degree in Media Studies from Murdoch University. Before joining the team at IWRAW Asia Pacific, she worked as Communications Analyst at an international multinational corporation, and also dabbled in freelance writing and blogging. She is now working as Communications Officer at IWRAW Asia Pacific, a position which gives her the opportunity to combine her passion for writing and feminism.



Pook Li Ping (Administration and Finance Manager)

Li Ping was formerly a member of the Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand and a Master in Pastoral Counseling from AOIC International College, Malaysia. She started off her career with PriceWaterhouse, Christchurch, New Zealand and had since worked more than twenty years with Multi National Companies in Malaysia to head the Finance, Information Technology and Human Resource departments.

Siti Norbaya (Accounts officer)

Baya joined IWRAW Asia Pacific in February 2013. A Graduate of Accounting from Uniten, Malaysia, she worked previously in a similar position at an international school in Kuala Lumpur.

Phang Lai Yoong (Administration Officer)

Lai Yoong joined IWRAW Asia Pacific in April. With a background in accounting, she has worked at various positions for the last 21 years at the Centre for Independent Journalism, the Malaysian Nature Society and a legal firm.

Zahirah Zainal (Junior Finance and Admin Officer)

Zahirah is a graduate of LCCI from Institut Profesional Baitulmal. After graduation, she worked as Audit Assistant at Ong Boon Bah & Co Chartered Accountant and as Administrative and Finance Assistant at the Malaysian Medical Association.