Ensuring that every person has access to basic resources such as clean water and quality education will provide rural communities with a greater opportunity to reach their full potential, according to the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.
However, a number of areas across the island lack access to clean water supply, sanitation and other infrastructure which naturally poses a threat to education and quality of life. The ensuing issue becomes one of national importance in helping to shape the futures of rural communities.
This has been an area of central focus for Fonterra Brands Sri Lanka, the company behind Anchor – who has aligned its social value generation efforts around creating happier and prosperous dairy communities.
Since 2014, Fonterra has completed over 82 projects in line with these goals.The dairy co-operative has focused on sustainable water and sanitation solutions, community infrastructure development at Early Childhood Development centres and schools and community engagement activities including teacher-training, food safety and health and safety programmes.
Through these projects, Fonterra has to date created a lasting positive impact for more than 50,000 people in rural dairy farmer communities, marked by its most recent water and sanitation project hand-over recently in Horana.
The new facility provided a sustainable solution for 1,512 students and 64 teachers of the Moragahahena Maha Vidyalaya, who previously had no access to clean water during the drought months of the year.
Fonterra Brands Sri Lanka Corporate Affairs Director Dr. Athula Kahandaliyanage, said that the co-operative was committed to strengthening dairy farming communities.
“Ensuring our communities have reliable access to safe and affordable drinking water helps prevent waterborne and kidney diseases. In the long-term, clean water and sanitation will improve health, help the children of our farmers stay in school and provide better economic opportunities for their families.
“This is why we work in close collaboration with our partners Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement, Kansarmen Foundation and the community to identify initiatives that make a real difference today, and for generations to come,” said Dr. Kahandaliyanage.
Working in partnership with the Kansarmen Foundation, the School Development Society and the Past Pupils’ Association, Fonterra equipped the Moragahahena Maha Vidyalaya with a sustainable solution with an upgraded well, underground pipelines and pumps, and a brand new set of sinks.
Zonal Education Director Pathmasiri Jayasinghe who was present at the hand-over, said that clean water scarcity and inadequate sanitation negatively impacts farmer families in these areas, and this has been worsened by drought.
“I am pleased to see Fonterra working together with the community to address this issue. We are not only encouraging better attendance in school; we are also improving the health of future generations of this country.” Speaking at the handover event, Moragahahena Maha Vidyalaya Principal, S.C. Jayantha said, “It is with immense relief and joy that I convey my gratitude to Fonterra for taking on this project and providing our school with functioning water and sanitation facilities for our students and teachers.
“The new facilities enable us to keep our commitment to make this school a second home for our students, where we can provide them with access to resources for a bright and healthy future.”