Ratnakanthi is a primary school teacher at the Yasodara Balika Maha Vidyala, in Ward Place, Colombo, Sri Lanka. She joined LIRNEasia in June 2008 as a researcher and worked on the IDRC funded project ‘Linking knowledge to innovation in government services: The case of solid-waste services in local government in Sri Lanka.’
“By the time I left LIRNEasia in August 2009, I had learned a great deal about the problem of solid-waste and different waste management mechanisms implemented by different local government authorities. Working under Dr Sujata Gamage, I also learned about research methods and how to use statistical software like SPSS,” says Ratnakanthi.
Today, Ratnakanthi is imparting her knowledge about waste management, to her students.
“When I joined Yasodara Balika, the school did not have a proper system to separate waste and did not apply waste management techniques but under a project introduced by the Ministry of Environment, I am now putting my knowledge to use, in my class room,” says Ratnakanthi. The Ministry of Environment provided the school with large bins for solid-waste management and each class room was encouraged to practice separating their waste. “In my class room I have taught my students to put waste into three bins; paper into one bin, organic waste into a different bin and plastics into another bin,” says Ratnakanthi.
Students are also taught the 3R principles of reducing, reusing and recycling. Children are taught how paper and glass products can be reused and how plastic can be recycled.
Ratnakanthi says her work at Lirneasia has also come in useful when teaching the subject of Environmental Studies to children. “I am able to give my students a lot more information than other teachers on environmental issues and waste management, because of the knowledge I gained through my work at LIRNEasia.”
“Overall,” says Ratnakanthi, “although I am not using everything I learned at LIRNEasia, my experiences at LIRNEasia have contributed towards my current occupation by making me a better teacher.”
In addition to using her knowledge to educate young people, Ratnakanti is also practicing what she learned about waste management, at her own home.