At NDB, women are valued equally. The bank’s women empowerment initiatives go as far back as its inception in 1979.
NDB’s inaugurating purposes as a development financial institution was to promote industrial, agricultural, commercial and other developments of the economy of Sri Lanka having regard inter alia to the development of the rural sector. NDB identified women as key stakeholders within this purpose.
Now as a fully-fledged commercial banking entity the bank is more retail and SME focused in business objectives, however with the developmental orientation very well preserved in the banking solutions NDB offers to its clientele. Women continue to be an important stakeholder group for us.
Surpassing NDB’s commercial and profitability objectives, and as a socially responsible corporate, it has ironed out a robust corporate social responsibility plan to empower the graceful women of Sri Lanka, to propel them in reaching their potential and to help them achieve their aspirations.
This plan involves the empowerment of micro and small scale female entrepreneurs dispersed across the country through a series of structured programmes. The target audiences of these programmes are open to all aspiring female entrepreneurs, irrespective of the fact whether they are a client of the bank. Initiated in January 2017, the programme is now in full swing, reaching out to masses of women in selected localities of the country.
From left: NDB Legal Vice President Melody Wickramanayake, Corporate Sustainability Senior Manager Sharon De Silva, Administration Vice President Delrene Seneviratne, Ganga Wanigaratne Operations Assistant Vice President and Human Resources Senior Manager Lilanthi Delgoda
As a part of its business strategy, NDB is involved in micro and SME financing. In the course of ordinary banking business of serving these segments, the bank observed that female entrepreneurs lacked certain skills and business knowledge which were essential for business success. Although they had the will power, and also access to finances via loans granted by the bank, this gap in skills and business knowledge was hindering their growth and prosperity.
With acumen in serving the micro and SME segments perfected over many years, NDB promptly identified this skills and knowledge gap as an area, in which the bank should involve itself in, not purely as a bank with a profit motive, but as an agent of positive change. Accordingly, NDB devised a programme under its CSR initiatives in which female entrepreneurs are being educated and thereby empowered via a carefully structured workshop.