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John Keells Foundation’s “Break the Silence” Public campaign targets domestic violence

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John Keells Foundation conducted a two-week public campaign against gender-based violence under its Project WAVE (Working Against Violence through Education). This year’s campaign sustained last year’s theme of ‘Break the Silence’ with a special focus on Domestic Violence in the context of reported surge in complaints received on hotlines during the pandemic. The overall objective of the public campaign was to empower both victims and bystanders to break the silence on violence, increase awareness, promote advocacy, and create a platform for discussing challenges and solutions on combatting gender based violence (GBV).

In a staff memo issued to mark the international day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, Mr. Krishan Balendra, Chairman/CEO of the John Keells Group noted that “Since the outbreak of COVID-19, emerging data has shown that all types of violence against women and girls, particularly domestic violence, have intensified. However, there is also evidence that ending violence against women and girls is possible, with a comprehensive approach that tackles the root causes, transforms harmful social norms, provides services for survivors, and ends impunity. Ending GBV requires the continued and coordinated effort and steadfast commitment of everyone” and urged that “all of us, as responsible citizens, make it our personal and collective responsibility to build a workplace and society free of all forms of discrimination and violence.”

In view of COVID-19 related restrictions, this year’s public campaign was conducted via social media, television, and a partnership with Keells Supermarkets. A panel discussion to mark the international day was aired on 24th November in collaboration with MTV with the participation of Manel Jayamanna, Executive Director of the National Committee on Women, DIG Renuka Jayasundara, Director of the Police Research and Development Division, Niroshika Wegiriya, Attorney–at–Law and Project Coordinator of Women in Need and Carmeline Jayasuriya, Head of Operations, John Keells Foundation. The panelists addressed a wide range of issues which included government and legal interventions, impacts, repercussions, and remedies and the importance of multi stakeholder participation in preventing and mitigating GBV. The social media campaign which was conducted from 22nd to 29th of November highlighted helplines, messages by stakeholders working in the field of GBV and real-life incidents faced by survivors of Domestic Violence. The social media campaign reached a total of 91,582 persons and created 186,874 impressions. Keells supermarkets collaborated with John Keells Foundation by publicizing support information for domestic violence victims on customer receipts issued by outlets island wide.



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Berendina bags Silver at the CA Sri Lanka 56th Annual Report Awards

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From left: Sarath Chandra Fernando - Director-BMIC, Charith Fernando - Deputy Managing Director-BMIC, Saman Manatunga - Acting Head of Finance-BMIC, Dilhara Jayasinghe - Assistant Manager Compliance & Corporate Relationship-BMIC, Ranel T Wijesinha - Past President CA Sri Lanka, Jagath Godakanda – Chairman-BMIC, Chaaminda Kumarasiri – Chairman-Annual Report Awards Committee 2021 and Chamila Cooray - Alternate Chairperson-Annual Report Awards Committee 2021

Berendina Micro Investments Company Limited, better known as BMIC among its microfinance clientele and partners, won the Silver award at the 56th Annual Report Awards organized by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (CA Sri Lanka), under the category of Finance Companies and Leasing Companies (total assets up to Rs. 20 Billion). Over 70 companies, ranging from conglomerates, multinationals to non-profit organisations, and SMEs, were honoured at this year’s competition for their excellence in financial reporting. The gala event of this year held on 09th December 2021 at BMICH. Being the first Microfinance Company licensed by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, BMIC is no stranger to this annual competition having won a prestigious Gold Award in 2017 and Merit Award in 2018.

The award from CA Sri Lanka is the fourth award to be won by BMIC during the financial year 2021, having won 3 international awards, namely, ‘The Best Microfinance Company in Sri Lanka’ and ‘The Best Agricultural Lending Company in Sri Lanka’ awards from the UK based Global Banking and Finance Review magazine as well as ‘Donor’s Choice Award’ at the international competition conducted by SCALE Green Creative Adaptation Awards in USA in 2021. Focused on poverty alleviation, BMIC as a Microfinance Institution (MFI) extends micro-credit facilities and enterprise development services that ensure long term sustainability and growth of business ventures of its clients, providing loans at the lowest interest rate compared to other MFIs in Sri Lanka. At present, BMIC manages a loan portfolio of over Rs. 3.1 billion and an annual turnover exceeding Rs. 900 million. It supports well over 70,000 microfinance clients through its 30 Branches in 11 districts. The CA award bestowed on BMIC is another testament to its commitment in continuously supporting its clients to overcome the obstacles during difficult times, while preserving its transparency in reporting, corporate governance, sustainability and social responsibility.

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SLIC repositions Business Club insurance with more focus on SMEs

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Sri Lanka Insurance last week announced repositioning of its Business Club insurance, a trade insurance policy which provides a comprehensive business insurance solution to fit for the diverse insurance need of small and Medium enterprises (SME).

“According to the Export Development Board of Sri Lanka SMEs are considered to be the backbone of the economy with a contribution up to 52% of the GDP. SMEs play a crucial role to battle the poverty in the country providing employment opportunities for the youth as the SMEs does not require capital than large firms. Further SMEs increase tax bases much quickly when compared to large firms,” an SLIC news release explained.

“Recognizing the importance and vital contribution made to the economy by SMEs, Sri Lanka Insurance went back to the drawing board to refine the “Business Club” comprehensive insurance solution to cater to the unique requirements of the businesses,” it said.”

“Therefor the insurance solution was developed to reinforce the success and safety of the businesses.”

The insurance plan will provide protection for any businesses be it retail, grocery store, supermarket, pharmacy or any other covering many perils inclusive of environmental dangers such as floods, cyclone, fire, lightning as well as other factors such as breaking and burglary, SLIC explained.

The release further said an array of main covers are available for businesses inclusive of fire and/or lightening, explosion, malicious damage, aircraft damage, earthquakes along with the free covers such as cost of removal of debris, loss of rental, architect, surveyors, consulting engineering fees, cost of alternative accommodation etc..

A range of additional covers are also available at an additional premium for businesses to choose. Money insurance during transit and while at premises, accidental breakage of glass cover, sign board cover, electronic equipment all risk cover are among the many additional covers offered.

Interested parties who’d like SLIC to assist in developing an insurance solution that covers the business risks can contact SLIC call center on 011 2 357 357.

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German fruit and tea importers stresses importance of packaging

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Jan Paul Bethke, a leading German importer of Sri Lankan fruits and tea, at a recent

EDB-organized event, urged Sri Lankan agri-product exporters to practice effective and superior packaging if they are to be successful in terms of capturing markets in Europe.

“If you package your product well, include a QR code (incorporating extensive details such as the farmer who grew products), and convey a personalized story, customers in advanced markets such as Germany and Europe would develop an affinity with your products”, Bethke noted.

He made these remarks at a Jan. 12 forum forum organized by the Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB) on packaging and value addition strategies to enhance Sri Lanka’s agri-product exports to Germany, an EDB news release said.

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