Ford Motor Company and its local distribution partner, Future Automobiles (Pvt) Limited, in collaboration with Japan Emergency NGO (JEN) has successfully completed three innovative agricultural projects which directly benefits over 50 families in Colombo’s Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts.
The projects focused on enabling people who have been displaced due to the conflict to rebuild their lives through agriculture, particularly by being able to generate household income through agriculture all year round.The funding for these projects was granted by Ford Fund – the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company – as part of its Conservation and Environmental Grants programme. For eight year in a row, Ford has been recognized as one of the world’s most ethical companies by Ethisphere, which is the longest streak for any auto manufacturer.
The first project included the construction of agro wells as well as livelihood development. Since March 2016, JEN worked closely with 55 households in Kilinochchi District and 27 agro wells were constructed in Anaivilunthan Grama Niladhari Division (GND) in Karachchi Divisional Secretariat Division and Thampakamam GND in Pachchilaipallai DS Division.
After the completion of the wells and the distribution of seeds, plants, agro tools and water pumps, beneficiaries have successfully begun engaging in agriculture, planting long-term crops and cultivating vegetables and fruits.Additionally, four rainwater harvesting tanks have been installed in community centers in Thampakamam GND, Anaivilunthan GND in Kilinochchi and Thanduvan GND and Ampakamam GND in Mullaitivu.
The second project – which came under the Ford Global Caring Month programme – included the construction of a community hall in the Thampakamam GND. The community hall is used by the women’s group and JEN’s agricultural cooperative society as a grinding mill to produce value-added products. The Ford team also volunteered to help with the construction.
The third project focused on community engagement in innovative water saving where JEN engaged with community members to develop ideas for water saving at household levels. This included a water saving contest in which innovative ideas were selected for funding and implementation. The most practical ideas were compiled into a “Best Practices” booklet to be handed out to each member of the community.
“We are proud to complete these innovative projects in partnership with JEN which has helped transform the lives of the displaced people who have returned to their homes and communities.They are now presented with the opportunity to rebuild their livelihoods and progress, which will have an immense positive impact on the next generation,” said Chamath Tennekoon, Chief Executive Officer, Future Automobiles.
Manami Mochizuki, Representative of JEN Sri Lanka, added,“JEN has been working with Ford over the past several years, which has led to several successful projects across the globe. With this initiative, we have been able to bring about some form of normalcy to the people of these communities through agriculture while also looking at alleviating water shortage in these areas and planning to secure additional water sources through better natural water management.”
Over the past few years, Ford has supported numerous projects and causes in Sri Lanka under the Ford Conservation and Environmental Grants program,which have helped support and reward the actions of individuals, groups and non-profit organizations to conduct research and projects which help preserve the environmental well-being of their communities and provide solutions contributing to a sustainable planet.
In 2015, Ford partnered with World Vision Lanka for a water and sanitation project in Vaharai, Batticaloa District. In 2014,as part of this initiative, Ford awarded a US$ 20,000 grant to the Field Ornithology Group of Sri Lanka (FOGSL) while in 2013 two organizations – The Tree Society of Sri Lanka and the Wanasarana Thurulatha Swechcha Society – were awarded agrant of US$15,000. Similarly, in 2012 the “Fire Prevention in Knuckles Forest Reserve” project received US$ 10,000 to implement their proposals.
JEN (Japan Emergency NGO) was established and began its assistance activities for refugees and IDPs (internally displaced persons) in January of 1994 in the former Yugoslavia. Over the years, JEN has been lending assistance whenever man-made or natural disasters occurred, from emergency response to recovery. JEN has kept true to their motto of “Support the Power to Live”, by involving local resources to achieve the Self-Reliance. In 2000, the organization is registered officially as a non-profit organization in Japan, and established its Tokyo Headquarters in Shinjuku, Tokyo, and renamed as NPO JEN.