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 long been passionate about issues of justice and about fighting structural inequalities relating to gender, access to technology, poverty and livelihoods.



Audrey Lee (Senior Programme Manager)

Audrey has a postgraduate 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 Uprety (Programme Manager)

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 contexts.

Ishita Dutta (Programme Manager)

Ishita co-coordinates IWRAW Asia Pacific’s programmes on women’s right of access to justice and rights of marginalised 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.

Constanza Pauchulo (Programme Officer)

Constanza has a Masters in International Law from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a Masters in Social and Political Thought from York University. She coordinates IWRAW Asia Pacific’s programmes on the impacts of corporate power, (un)sustainable development, and macroeconomics on the realisation of women’s human rights and gender equality. Prior to joining, Constanza practised as a civil litigator in Toronto, Canada, advising on complex commercial disputes and regulatory matters. Her professional and academic experience includes working with legal clinics, NGOs, academic institutions, and multilateral organisations on women’s rights, indigenous and rural community rights, labour and migrant worker rights, refugee rights, the protection and security of human rights defenders, and international justice. She speaks English, Spanish, and basic French.

Marisa Hutchinson (Programme Officer)

Marisa joined the IWRAW Asia Pacific team in January 2020 from the beautiful island of Barbados. She has an academic background in Chemistry and Gender and Development Studies from the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill. Marisa coordinates IWRAW Asia Pacific’s programmes on environmental justice and rights of marginalised groups of women. Prior to joining, she worked locally and regionally on gender issues affecting women, with a focus on gender-based violence survivors and their children, at-risk girls and LBQ women. She has also been involved in international advocacy with UN mechanisms, focused on combating gender-based violence and the invisibility of LBQ women.

Nine (Communications Officer)

Nine has a Masters (Hons) in Sociology with Gender Studies from the University of Edinburgh. Between 2002 and 2009, she was a project worker at Scot-PEP, and has maintained links with the global sex workers’ rights movement ever since. She has extensive experience as a freelance editor, covering academic papers, magazines, novels, non-fiction books, and publications by sex work projects and other NGOs. As a writer and as an editor, she aims to ensure inclusion of marginalised groups – both as experts on their own lives, and as members of the target audience. She speaks English, Spanish and French.



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.



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