Ayesha is a Senior Research Manager at LIRNEasia. Her core areas of interest lie at the intersection of technology and inclusion in the Global South. She has 17 years’ extensive experience in this field, having designed, managed and led numerous research projects in the South and Southeast Asian region for clients such as IDRC (Canada), the World Bank, the Ford Foundation, the GSM Association, inter alia. Her focus is on the demand (or user) side, looking at issues of access, use, and obstacles to the same, particularly among marginalized groups such as low income earners, women, persons with disabilities, etc. While she has managed these kinds of projects from end-to-end, her expertise lies in design, ensuring robust survey design, taking into account practical challenges and factors (for example identifying hard-to-reach target groups, challenges in fielding surveys due to the COVID-19 pandemic, among others). Her experience ranges from several multi-country nationally representative surveys measuring tech access and use patterns among varied groups, to smaller scale qualitative studies focusing on the nuances of for example how digital platforms offer earning and empowerment opportunities for women in Sri Lanka. Her work is aimed at providing deep insights as well as robust evidence and indicators from the demand side of tech (in particular the marginalized user) for policymaking.
Some of her current and past work includes:
- Several nationally representative demand-side surveys across nine countries (Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand) targeting for example groups such as the 15-65 aged population, low income earners, as well as various hard-to-reach sub-groups like persons with disabilities, telecenter users, SMEs, etc. This includes ongoing nationally representative surveys of digital inclusion and the COVID-19 pandemic in Sri Lanka and India.
- Qualitative research on the impact that online platforms can create for women’s economic empowerment in order to inform updated labour market regulation and business practices in Sri Lanka (ongoing).
- Qualitative research on the perceptions of privacy and the experiences of digital harms in Sri Lanka, with a focus on the LGBTQ+ community, involved in research tool development and reporting.
- Design and development of a toolkit for the World Bank Group task team leaders on gender mainstreaming in ICT projects, leading on content relating to the policy and regulatory aspects.
- A joint LIRNEasia-GSM Association Connected Women study on mobiles and Internet use among women in Myanmar in 2015 involving collection and analysis of survey and qualitative data, co-leading the research and report writing.
- An empirical assessment of the impact of mobile communication on migration in the then-recently liberalized Myanmar, using an Instrumental Variable approach.
- Other previous research has included that on the use of mobiles for livelihood-related purposes, the use of telecenters for government information and services, the conditions for mobile commerce applications in low income contexts.
She holds a BSc (hons) in Economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science.