Galenbindunuwewa, a remote area in North Central Sri Lanka, in the Anuradhapura district, home to a community of about 120 families, was the most recent beneficiary of the ‘Munchee Samaga Gamata Sarana’ community programme designed to uplift the living standards of our rural people.
Munchee, a household favourite and the flagship brand of Ceylon Biscuits Ltd., (CBL) hasbeen reaching out across the country to reach the least privileged communities with their CSR program Munchee Samaga Gamata Sarana over the past several years. Last year, the programme saw an acceleration in activities which enabled it to reach a fresh new milestone of 25 projects in one financial year bringing the total to 150.
Residents of Galenbindunuwewa, teamed up with the contractors and the Munchee sales team of the area and workers on site to help build a community hall for the area.
Stakeholder participation is a key factor in the success of these projects as the feeling of ownership is inculcated in the community who are eager to join the workforce to construct buildings that would be used by them and enhance life in their towns or villages.
Munchee Samaga Gamata Sarana CSR project has exceeded a budget of Rs. 40 million to date since its launch in 2004.
The key factors and mainstays of the program’s unequivocal success is that it benefits the entire community of the area and are not confined to a group or one person. Munchee’s programmes uplift the facilities and the living standards of the entire community giving them an ownership of the project they helped to complete.
The mechanism to select beneficiaries are through the company’s own sales team who has developed close links with the community leaders and have a good understanding of the community requirements of the area.
Once projects are identified by the relevant sales teams, they are forwarded to head office for evaluation. The sales teamswork with the community to ensure project coordination, completion and accountability in fund allocation.They maintaina link with the project beneficiaries at all times.
CBL identifies villages or towns with minimal infrastructure development and facilities for their CSR activities and launch projects that have long term benefits. “Munchee Samaga Gamata Sarana programme reflects the essence of our objective in simple words. Our CSR is not designed for sporadic spending however worthy the cause may be. Rather it is designed to fund sustainable projects bringing long-term benefits to the entire community. We make a genuine attempt to be involved at all levels of the projects because employees of CBL truly believe in making a difference to the lives of the people,” said Nalin Karunaratne, CEO of Ceylon Biscuits Limited.
“For an example it is not unusual for our sales team who initiates and coordinates projects and in-house teams who assist the sales team with the paper work involved, to spend time to visit those places, help to finish the projects in addition to the actual work/targets they perform in office because they believe in making a change in the lives of these people,” Karunaratne further added.
So far about 60 percent of the projects have focused on developing education channels for the community and concentrate on developing or constructing school buildings, libraries, and science laboratories. One of the main projects for schools have been installing water purification systems as childrenin these areas do not have access to clean drinking water.
Munchee Samaga Gamata Sarana also has a scholarship scheme, where children’s education is funded for a period of one year on a monthly basis and based on the student’s academic performancewill continue until the university education is completed. Other projects of the programme include health clinics, building of community centers and foot bridges.