MAS Holdings partners with The Wildlife Foundation Kenya
Collaborative conservancy model aims to protect 6,250 acres of the Nairobi National Park Wildlife Dispersal Area
Colombo, 30th August 2022: South Asian apparel manufacturer, MAS Holdings (MAS) has partnered with The Wildlife Foundation (TWF), Kenya to conserve 6,250 acres of the Nairobi National Park Wildlife Dispersal Area. In line with the MAS Plan for Change commitment of restoring 25,000 acres of habitat, this unique initiative enables MAS and TWF to collaborate with local landowners to conserve wildlife on community- and privately-owned land.
The project commenced in March 2022, with a land-lease gathering ceremony with the participation of 58 landowners from the Athi-Kaputiei area. The project is an extension of TWF’s ongoing conservancy model, through which TWF leases lands from local owners to promote wildlife conservation and better land use practices. Through this partnership, MAS has been able to expand TWF’s existing conservancy of 5,000 acres to a total coverage of 11,250 acres.
The conservancy model utilizes both monetary and non-monetary incentives to encourage landowners and local communities to keep land unfenced for wildlife and livestock to move freely in the outskirt lands of the park. This is coupled with initiatives to raise awareness on community-based conservation, place community rangers to mitigate human-wildlife conflict, train youth and women on topics such as beekeeping, biogas, and promote the use of technology to innovate solutions for conservation challenges.
Through the conservancy model, which is collaboratively funded by MAS’ strategic business units MAS Intimates and MAS Kreeda, MAS and TWF provide financial incentives to landowners, to keep private lands open and unfenced for wildlife movement. This contributes to reducing human retaliations against lions and other predators as well as supporting to improve the education of the children in the area by providing landowners with lease payments aligned to the start of the children’s school terms.
MAS established its manufacturing facility in Kenya in 2020, through its subsidiary MAS Intimates. Today, MAS Intimates Kenya (EPZ) Ltd is a leading manufacturer and exporter of lingerie and apparel wear to leading markets in the USA, Europe and Asia, and provides job opportunities for 3,200 Kenyans. The lands in the conservancy model are leased from the Machakos and Kajiado counties, where the majority of MAS Intimates Kenya staff reside.
This conservation project not only contributes considerably to MAS’ target of restoring 25,000 acres of habitat but has also created an opportunity for MAS to engage holistically with its local community in Kenya. The group’s sustainability strategy, the MAS Plan for Change, focuses on 12 commitments under three areas of focus of product, lives, and planet, including championing biodiversity and creating thriving communities.MAS and TWF have committed to collaborate on this unique conservancy project for the next five years, with the collective hope of uplifting and empowering the community to help change our planet for good.
About MAS Holdings:
MAS Holdings, the largest apparel tech company in South Asia, is among the most recognized design-to-delivery solution providers in apparel and textile manufacturing. Home to a community of over 118,000 people, today, MAS spans across 17 countries, with established design locations placed in key style centers across the world. Catering to the demands of a dynamic and ever-changing industry, the MAS portfolio has expanded exponentially; into brands, wearable technology, FemTech, start-ups and fabric parks worldwide.
Over 35 years of operations, MAS has gained global recognition for its ethical and sustainable working environment and for the organization’s tireless efforts in social development and women’s empowerment. Product excellence and craftsmanship have placed MAS on the world map as an industry leader, showcasing unfailing delivery in innovative manufacturing and design. Today, the company’s efforts to drive positive impact are outlined in the MAS Plan for Change, a commitment to create sustainable change under three areas of focus: products, lives, and planet. Through these initiatives, MAS aims to inspire all employees to be changemakers, enabling dreams and enriching the fabric of life on our planet.
About The Wildlife Foundation, Kenya: The Wildlife Foundation (TWF) is a registered Kenya Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) established in the year 2000. TWF’s vision is to maintain community-based conservancies that foster peaceful coexistence between humans, livestock and wildlife within the Athi-Kaputiei ecosystem.
EU funded SEDR Project launches Policy Brief to strengthen alternative dispute resolution in Sri Lanka
The Supporting Effective Dispute Resolution (SEDR) project, funded by the European Union and implemented by the British Council in partnership with The Asia Foundation, launched a Policy Brief titled ‘Strengthening A Just Alternative’ to strengthen community-based alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanisms in the country.
The launch event, held at the British Council Library in Colombo, was attended by several distinguished dignitaries, including Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, Minister of Justice, Ms. Beatrice Bussi, (Interim) Head of Development Cooperation of the European Union to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Priyanath Perera, Secretary of the Mediation Boards Commission, Hon. Justice Yapa, Chairperson of the Mediation Boards Commission, and Commissioners of the Mediation Boards Commission.
Speaking at the event, Ms. Beatrice Bussi stated that “The importance of mediation in Sri Lanka is twofold, as it ensure an easy and economic access to justice to citizens, while it provides the opportunity to reduce the burden on the Sri Lankan court system. I want to praise the model of Sri Lankan community mediation boards, for its effectiveness and for the value it delivers to communities in addressing local disputes preventing their escalation”.
Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe stated ” One of the main tasks of the Ministry is to ensure the necessary legal, policy, and institutional framework is set up for efficient resolution of disputes. Alternative dispute resolution, including mediation, play a major role in this regard. There are different opinions regarding the effectiveness of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, especially mediation among the community and stakeholders. In the meantime, the Ministry has initiated a number of reforms to improve dispute resolution processes in Sri Lanka. Accordingly, the Ministry highlights the importance of surveys of this nature to facilitate evidence-based decision-making regarding alternative dispute resolution mechanisms. As such the Ministry would like to congratulate the SEDR project on this successful initiative.”
The Policy Brief is based on the findings of a Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices (KAP) survey commissioned by SEDR and conducted by the Centre for Poverty Analysis (CEPA) in 2022. The survey aimed to assess knowledge, attitudes and practices of various community-based alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, including mediation boards. The survey covered six districts in the country, targeting 1,712 households of all three main ethnic groups.
COYLE urges government to engage business leaders in policy-making process for fair, sustainable, and economically sound decisions
The Chamber of Young Lankan Entrepreneurs (COYLE) held its 24th Anniversary Celebrations on 10th March 2023, at Shangri-La Hotel, Colombo. The event was attended by the chief guest, Prime Minister, Dinesh Gunawardena; the guest of honour, U. S. Ambassador, Julie Chung; former President of Sri Lanka, Maithripala Sirisena; Chief of the Defense Staff, General Shavendra Silva; cabinet and state ministers; parliamentarians; commanders of the Sri Lanka Armed Forces; government officials, and business leaders.
The Chamber of Young Lankan Entrepreneurs (COYLE) comprises more than 116 prominent individuals who serve as Chairmen and Controlling Shareholders of some of the most influential companies in Sri Lanka.
It has over 500 member organizations and is affiliated with nearly 50 business chambers in the country. The organization is managed and controlled by young entrepreneurs but also boasts a number of senior and respected business leaders who joined the organization during its formative years to help shape COYLE into what it is today.
The Chamber actively promotes entrepreneurship, the development of rural communities, and thought leadership. In adherence to the organization’s strongly held principles and as a mandatory service to the community, COYLE engages in countless CSR initiatives through its member companies around the country. The Chamber provides leadership, learning, and development for its members and stakeholders, and over the years, it has grown into a vehicle for business growth in Sri Lanka via its many local and global networks.
The past year was an exceptionally challenging one for all parties in the Sri Lankan economy. Remarking on this, the Outgoing Chairman of COYLE, Mr. Dimuth Chankama Silva, stated during his address, “This year was the greatest test of our mettle. Even diamonds are born out of pressure. This year gave us the opportunity to shine through pressures from all directions. I believe we shone. We are here alive and kicking, our businesses are growing, we are conquering international markets and territories, and COYLE has grown in leaps and bounds.”
A notable emphasis was given to the introduction of the COYLE theme for the year 2023/24, EVOLUTION: #Resilience, #Agility, and #Transformation. The incoming Chairman, Mr. Rasith Wickramasingha, stated, “Evolution is to upscale capability, enhance skills and increase creativity, innovate at a time of chaos, and re-imagine a new business environment. Evolution requires change: change in mindset, attitude, self-awareness, and acumen of the surrounding environment as well as culture.”
He went on to note that in today’s environment, every five years constitutes a generational gap and emphasized the need for COYLE to evolve as a chamber in order to be relevant and sustainable for the future. He further mentioned that decades of ill-conceived, politically driven policies based on the advocacy of a few, rather than consultative decision-making with recognized business chambers, have led to the current crisis. Elaborating on this point, Mr. Rasith Wickramasingha said, “Policy formulation should be done based on sound economic principles and business acumen. Businesses rely on stable policies so that they may plan ahead. Ad hoc policies which bring no economic benefit have led to losses in the private sector and leakage of foreign exchange from the country.”
He emphasized that it is heartbreaking to see that the individuals who strive continuously for the betterment of the country and persistently do the right thing get penalized while those engaging in unethical practices to avoid taxation are rarely held accountable. COYLE hopes for more genuine dialogue from policymakers regarding these issues and affirms that the organization’s globally exposed and experienced members could be a great value addition to any actions taken to revive the economy. What sets COYLE apart from the rest is that its members are made up of business owners and decision-makers who are passionate about doing something good for the country, who are genuinely aligned with this cause, and willing to embrace the future without diluting our national and cultural heritage.
The 24th Anniversary Celebration of COYLE closely reflected in its overarching tone the state of the country following the Easter Bombings, the pandemic, and the economic and political crisis. The event also honored and recognized the Chamber’s numerous members who weathered the storm by building resilience, being agile, and transforming their businesses. It also highlighted the many CSR initiatives undertaken by COYLE member organizations, many of which were carried out quietly, purely as a service to the country.
These initiatives focus on communities most affected by the calamities of the past years and were chosen regardless of race, religion, or creed. With a host of esteemed and influential guests attending the celebrations, COYLE made this event a platform to convey a strong message calling for sociopolitical change in the country. COYLE believes that the hardline decisions taken by President Ranil Wickremesinghe and the Governor of the Central Bank, Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe, were tough but necessary considering the state of affairs. The Chamber also notes that as a result of these decisions, gradual change for the better is apparent in the economy. Considering the massive pool of collective experience, expertise, and connections held by COYLE, it is capable of providing significant value and insight for economic reform. Hence, COYLE urges the government to actively engage and work together with the Chamber to expedite economic revival.
Once again, AIA Ran for their Lives – proud sponsor for the 3rd consecutive year
AIA Insurance was humbled to be a part of Run For Their Lives 2023, in raising funds for the Apeksha Cancer Hospital. The charity run aligns with AIA’s brand purpose of helping people live healthier, longer, better lives with focus on the prevention and management of Non-Communicable Diseases in Sri Lanka. The company will continue its commitment to fight NCDs and actively engage in creating awareness on leading NCDs in the country.
With AIA’s goal of making a positive impact on one billion lives by 2030, participants at RFTL were encouraged to make a pledge for a healthy habit that could help prevent illness and remain healthy in the long run. The participants also took part in a real-time survey that measured their unhealthy habits and recommended healthy lifestyle habits. Participants were also instantly rewarded for taking part in the wellness games and the free BMI sessions organised by one of AIA’s wellness partner Vida Medical Clinic.
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