IPS calls for proposals for the annual Saman Kelegama Memorial Research Grant at the beginning of every year.
B. M. Amanda Balasooriya is the winner of IPS’ Saman Kelegama Memorial Research Grant for 2020. Her research study examines on-site childcare facilities for women in Kurunegala district and their willingness to pay for such establishments.
This study focuses on how lack of access to childcare services has become an impediment for women’s entry into the labour force in Sri Lanka. It also notes that besides maternity leave, there are no adequate social policies to support working parents with childcare responsibilities. The study uses primary data from a contingent valuation survey and secondary data from the Labour Force Survey, 2019.
Ms. Balasooriya is a B.Sc. (Special) Graduate in Industrial Management of the Faculty of Applied Sciences, Wayamba University of Sri Lanka, and is carrying out her research at IPS under the supervision of Dr. Bilesha Weeraratne.
Kanishka Werawella, of the University of Colombo, was the winner of the Saman Kelegama Memorial Research Grant 2019. His proposed research aimed to estimate the cost of traffic congestion in the Kandy city and factors affecting ‘green commuting.’
Mr. Werawella completed his research during his internship at IPS, under the supervision of Athula Senaratne. As he noted, some of the main reasons for traffic congestion are poor city planning, inappropriate public transport facilities, and insufficient traffic systems. As the government intends to build smart cities, ways to combat traffic congestion and establish eco-friendly transport networks are being discussed. As such, Mr. Werawella’s research touched on a key policy issue that is much debated in the country.
The winner of the first Saman Kelegama Memorial Research Grant was Thisali de Silva, a student of the University of Colombo. She received the grant at the inauguration of the first Saman Kelegama Memorial Conference (2018), from Hon. Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe.
Ms. de Silva conduced her research under the supervision of Nisha Arunatilake, analysing the three wheel market in Sri Lanka. She used secondary data from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) of 2016 and 14 primary interviews with selected three wheel drivers and adopted a descriptive analysis approach.
Ms. de Silva, in her study, busted several myths pertaining to the three wheel industry, particularly highlighting that there are only 235,000 tuk-tuk drivers providing a taxi service in the country – much less than the commonly assumed ‘one million’ figure. Her findings were mentioned in a blog published on IPS’ Talking Economics site. It gained considerable media attention, and appeared in Daily FT, Daily Mirror, News First, The Island, and Economy Next.
Ms. de Silva also presented her preliminary findings at a seminar attended by the research staff of IPS. Her publication is currently under review.
Winners of Saman Kelegama Memorial Research Grant Share their Experiences