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SEF Handbook

The name ‘Sustainable Education Foundation’ could be considered self-explanatory, yet the inner workings of this organization as well as its’ culture deserve a rundown. The workforce of this non-profit organization is volunteer-driven and full of passion for the craft. Primed with the motive of establishing the Sri Lankan education system as the most effective and most dynamic education system in the world, this voluntary community contributes something new to the organization every day.

Our community welcomes new volunteers with open arms, and it is of extreme importance that we treat each other with respect and courtesy. We consider each contribution to be of equal precedence, regardless of how minute it may look. With the multitude of projects to contribute to, this organization is never short of work, and the community strives to reach new heights every day. There is always going to be an up and coming project, a new feature to be developed or an improvement to be made with each passing day. This community is a family, and we actively try to get to know one another; may it be through ‘Introduce Yourself’ threads, knowledge-sharing sessions, or standups, we will make everyone feel at home, and when it comes to the contribution, everyone is willing to lend a helping hand or point you in the right direction if you face any blockers or if you need any further clarifications.

History of the handbook

The handbook started when SEF was a organisation of just twenty people to make sharing information efficient and easy. We knew that future SEF team-members wouldn't be able to see emails about process changes that were being sent before they joined and that most of the people who would eventually join SEF likely hadn't even heard of us yet. The handbook was our way of ensuring that all of our organisation information was accessible to everyone regardless of when they became part of the team.


At SEF our handbook is extensive and keeping it relevant is an important part of everyone's job. It is a vital part of who we are and how we communicate. We established these processes because we saw these benefits:

  1. Reading is much faster than listening.
  2. Reading is async, you don't have to interrupt someone or wait for them to become available.
  3. Talent Acquisition is easier if people can see what we stand for and how we operate.
  4. Retention is better if people know what they are getting into before they join.
  5. On-boarding is easier if you can find all relevant information spelled out.
  6. Teamwork is easier if you can read how other parts of the company work.
  7. Discussing changes is easier if you can read what the current process is.
  8. Communicating change is easier if you can just point to the diff.
  9. Everyone can contribute to it by proposing a change via a pull request.

One common concern newcomers to the handbook express is that the strict documentation makes the origanisation more rigid. In fact, writing down our current process in the handbook has the effect of empowering contributors to propose change. As a result, this handbook is far from rigid. You only need to look at the handbook changelog to see the evidence. Every attempt is made to document guidelines and processes in the handbook. However, it is not possible to document every possible situation or scenario that could potentially occur. Just because something is not yet in the handbook does not mean that it is allowed. SEF will review each team member's concern or situation based on local laws to determine the best outcome and then update the handbook accordingly. If you have questions, please discuss with your team lead or contact the Administrative team.

Handbook Interpretation

The handbook is subject to interpretation. We do our best to be as clear as possible to minimize confusion and/or misinterpretation. We also recognize that we have a global audience and that may bring different interpretations. If you have any questions or need further clarification please check with the content owner of the page. When in doubt please reach out and ask.

Remember that everything is in draft at SEF and subject to change, this includes our handbook.

More about the handbook

We've gathered some information about the handbook here, but there's still more elsewhere.

Handbook usage

Practical Handbook Edits Examples