Unilever Sri Lanka recog­nises top 100 per­form­ers of Project Saub­hagya

Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka) - - LIFE -

Laud­ing the en­tre­pre­neur­ial spirit of the mem­bers of its unique Chan­nel, Unilever Sri Lanka recog­nised the top 100 per­form­ers of Project

at its an­nual Awards held at the Galle Face Ho­tel, re­cently.

Women’s Bureau of Sri Lanka Di­rec­tor Champa Upasena was the Chief Guest of the evening, while Sa­murdi De­vel­op­ment Depart­ment So­cial De­vel­op­ment Deputy Di­rec­tor I.D.K. San­jee­wani joined in as a spe­cial guest. Cur­rently in its 15th year, Project is Unilever Sri Lanka’s key ini­tia­tive un­der its Unilever Sus­tain­able Liv­ing Plan pil­lar of pro­vid­ing ‘op­por­tu­ni­ties for women’ and has emerged as a sym­bol of women’s em­pow­er­ment in the coun­try’s ru­ral ar­eas. This unique ini­tia­tive part­ners with ru­ral women and gives them the op­por­tu­nity to be­come di­rect-to­home am­bas­sadors of Unilever brands thereby em­pow­er­ing them to be­come en­trepreneurs in their own right. The guar­an­teed reg­u­lar and sus­tain­able in­come they earn through this goes a long way in help­ing the women im­prove their stan­dard of liv­ing.

As a tes­ta­ment to the suc­cess of the pro­gramme and the ca­pa­bil­i­ties of ru­ral women, this year’s top en­tre­pre­neur for the third con­sec­u­tive year was R.N. Ran­jani of the Monara­gala dis­trict. 17 en­trepreneurs were recog­nised for long ser­vice, hav­ing been with the pro­gramme from its very in­cep­tion.

“At Unilever Sri Lanka, we firmly be­lieve that the em­pow­er­ment of women is cen­tral to driv­ing and sus­tain­ing eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment at a na­tional level. In line with the United Na­tions Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goal of cre­at­ing gen­der equal­ity, Project Saub­hagya is a key el­e­ment of our ef­forts to­wards pro­vid­ing greater op­por­tu­ni­ties for women and em­pow­er­ing them fi­nan­cially. Help­ing im­prove their liveli­hoods, it also al­lows us to build stronger dis­tri­bu­tion net­works and cre­ate a more sus­tain­able busi­ness,” said Unilever Sri Lanka’s Cus­tomer De­vel­op­ment Di­rec­tor Aruna Maw­ilmada. “Laud­ing these ladies for their out­stand­ing achieve­ments, we look for­ward to work­ing with more like-minded women across the is­land to grow our net­work of women en­trepreneurs to 14,000, rep­re­sent­ing the 14,000 di­vi­sions of Sri Lanka.”

Project stems from a deep un­der­stand­ing of the dif­fi­cul­ties faced by women in de­vel­op­ing mar­kets and the in­te­gral part they play within Unilever’s own dis­tri­bu­tion net­work. Ini­ti­ated in 2003 with five brave women en­trepreneurs who took the first step to­wards eco­nomic in­clu­sion, the pro­gramme now en­gages over 5,000

en­trepreneurs to­day. Unilever also equips them with ba­sic knowl­edge on sales and ac­counts as well as health and hy­giene to fur­ther sup­port them in their jour­ney to­wards greater eco­nomic in­clu­sion. Go­ing be­yond sup­port­ing women through such en­deav­ors, Unilever Sri Lanka as­sists them with the ed­u­ca­tion of their chil­dren through the

Schol­ar­ships Pro­gramme. Schol­ar­ships were awarded to 26 stu­dents who ex­celled in the Grade-five schol­ar­ship ex­ams, nine stu­dents who scored nine ‘A’s in their Or­di­nary Lev­els (O/L) ex­ams, 11 who se­cured en­try into uni­ver­si­ties and five na­tional level sports and aes­thet­ics per­form­ers at the event. Unilever Sri Lanka also fi­nances com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment projects in their vil­lages.

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