Episode 8: Shanil Samarakoon- Sri Lanka, Malawi, Australia, and Energy Justice

Born in Sri Lanka, Shanil spent his early childhood in Malawi, before moving back to Sri Lanka as an adolescent, and later pursuing his undergraduate studies in Malaysia. He’s currently pursuing his PhD in Energy Justice in Australia, while bouncing between Malawi and Sri Lanka for his nonprofit work with Empower Projects, an organization he co-founded to help local communities form cooperatives and take the lead in determining their development priorities, especially around sustainable energy use and solar power. We also discuss the legacy of Sri Lanka's long civil war, contemporary politics in Australia as they relate to energy and immigration policies, and Shanil walks me through the defining principles of Energy Justice, and how we might go about assigning rights and responsibilities through this framework. Plus reflections on being introverted advocates, and using writing as a refuge and as a way to process confusion.

Empower Projects creates platforms for communities to determine their developmental priorities, create their own vision and develop action plans to address their needs and aspirations.

Our project portfolio impacts 78 villages (over 15,500 people) across Malawi and Sri Lanka.