Strategic Vision

PEARL Strategic Plan 2019 – 2023

PEARL is committed to the protection of human rights of the Eelam Tamil people on the island of Sri Lanka, the self-determination of the Eelam Tamil people and the recognition of the Tamil Nation. PEARL works to shape international policy to align with Tamil aspirations. Based in D.C., PEARL’s advocacy influences U.S. government policy through the State Department and Congress as well as UN Human Rights Council activities on Sri Lanka. PEARL conducts research on issues of importance to the Tamil homeland and publishes reports, fact sheets and statements. Further, PEARL has worked on litigation and evidence collection against Sri Lankan war criminals in the U.S. Initially reliant entirely on volunteers, PEARL now has a paid, part-time staff member in addition to a dedicated volunteer team.

This document outlines the five-year strategic vision for PEARL, which will guide our work between 2019 and 2023. It sets ambitious yet feasible goals for the ways in which PEARL will operate and grow in that timeframe. Annual plans will be developed to allow each year’s activities to be more thoroughly structured to deliver on longer-term goals. All of these plans will be driven by PEARL’s organizational mission of pursuing human rights, justice and self-determination for the Eelam Tamil people.

By developing our financial and human capacity and efforts in these areas, we aim to support the Tamil Nation and promote Tamils’ individual and collective rights. Our organization acknowledges and actively works toward supporting the struggle of the Tamil people through collaboration and partnership between the diaspora and those in the homeland. The combination of these priorities will continue to solidify PEARL’s role as a leading organization within the Tamil struggle for human rights, justice and self-determination. PEARL will engage in Monitoring & Evaluation efforts to measure our success against the benchmarks identified in this strategic plan, as well as our annual plans.Our goals, based on PEARL’s progress as of 2018, are divided into three categories: (1) Strengthening the Struggle, (2) Countering Opposition and (3) Building Organizational Capacity. The next section outlines PEARL’s work in 2018.

The COVID-19 crisis has brought unprecedented challenges to the civil society landscape affecting our work. We acted quickly to adapt our strategic plan to the conditions brought on the pandemic and forge new ways forward in our mission toward justice and self-determination for the Tamil people.


Strengthening the Struggle

Within the Tamil context, the term “struggle” is commonly used to describe the decades of resistance to Sri Lankan state hegemony. We use this term in the context of its non-violent historical origin. Our aim is to ensure the equal treatment and the full realization of the human rights of Eelam Tamils (as individuals and as a people) in the homeland. We believe our role is to amplify Tamil voices and disseminate Tamil narratives of the struggle, so the genocide will never be complete.

Our advocacy, research and activism will primarily focus on militarization, memorialization and accountability while retaining flexibility to address developments on the ground and internationally. Additionally, each year will feature a specific campaign. Planned campaigns include Recognition of Genocide, Ending Colonization, and Supporting Universal Jurisdiction Prosecutions. Additional campaigns will be developed later to enable us to adequately respond to the ground situation at that time.


Countering the Opposition

We will prioritize addressing the root causes of Tamil oppression in the homeland, including impunity and Sri Lanka’s state policies endangering the Tamil Nation. Sinhala-Buddhist nationalism continues to threaten the rights and safety of Tamil people in the homeland and, by extension, the stability of the South Asia region. We believe that addressing the root cause of the conflict — Sinhala-Buddhist nationalism — is the only way to ensure long-term stability of the island.

As such, our work will focus on countering Sinhala-Buddhist nationalism whether it comes from the Sri Lankan government, the Sri Lankan military or private organizations and individuals. Our advocacy, research and activism will also focus on analyzing and deconstructing opposition to the rights of Tamil people. As this work responds to events on the ground, it is more difficult to anticipate in detail.


Building Organizational Capacity

In order to strengthen and expand our work, we will focus on building our organizational capacity, relying on the active participation and cooperation of individuals both within the diaspora and in the homeland. Our aim is to ensure growth in financial contributions, supporters, paid staff and volunteers. In addition, we aim to strengthen existing internal practices as well as develop new ways of working. PEARL will be strategic and intentional about the work that we do by developing realistic goals and methods to reach them.

Additionally, PEARL will continue to challenge norms within the Tamil community and foster dialogue regarding gender, caste, class, sexual orientation, and other systems of oppression. We will also develop internal policies and procedures to reflect the changes we advocate within the larger community.  

Accountability & Monitoring

PEARL will work to continuously monitor and evaluate our progress implementing this strategic plan. The aim of our evaluations is to assess the impact of our work, our fiscal sustainability, and our organizational growth, with a view towards iterative improvement.

Part of our work plan will be to develop a sustainable monitoring and evaluation framework and theory of change for PEARL, specific to the context and requirements of the organization. This process will include all key stakeholders, including our staff, members, board, donors, and partners.

PEARL will conduct a midterm review during 2021, as well as a final evaluation at the end of 2023 to assess our ability to effectively implement the goals identified by this strategy. These assessments will look at data from all of our annual evaluations, including quarterly summaries, mid-year evaluations, and end of year evaluations. This data will be collated and analyzed based on the strategic goals set out by this document.

Some of our indicators may include (but are not limited to): revenue, annual expenditure, growth in volunteers and staff, digital growth, productivity, and other quantitative and qualitative measures of the impact of our work. We will further assess our internal anti-oppression practices by collecting data on a voluntary basis, of our staff, board members, donors, and volunteers.

These evaluations will be disseminated to the appropriate parties, including our board, donors, and members. We will also reproduce these materials for public access, when appropriate, in an effort to increase transparency.

People for Equality and Relief in Lanka

1629 K Street, Suite 300 Washington, DC 20006