‘Doing well by doing good’ is a part and parcel of Unilever Sri Lanka’s everyday business approach. Bringing to life the company vision of making Sustainable living a common place, under the pillar of enhancing livelihoods, the route to market Saubhagya channel was born. The Saubhagya micro-entrepreneurship scheme seeks to empower rural community women through entrepreneurialism and sees them becoming direct-to-home ambassadors of Unilever brands. It was implemented in 2003 with 5 brave women entrepreneurs that took the first step towards economic inclusion and the programme quickly blossomed from there to more than 4000 entrepreneurs today. The initiative stems from the opportunity to engage more women to the country’s economy, which will aid them to prosper while opening a unique distribution channel for Unilever.
The new ‘Gamata Api’ initiative came to life, as a unique platform, which enables the Saubhagya entrepreneur to work with her community to create much needed infrastructure. The projects undertaken by the ‘Gamata Api’ initiative are chosen based on the performance of Saubhagya entrepreneurs in the community and their ability to meet predetermined goals. Based on assessments of these communities Unilever expects to commence projects on road development, construction of wells, bridges and other structures needed by the community. The initiative aims to complete 25 projects this year alone.
“Unilever Sri Lanka has deep roots in Sri Lanka and a firm understanding of the difficulties faced which is why we launched the ‘Gamata Api’ initiative this year. We wanted to help the people in the rural communities achieve basic living standards which we believe will have wide, positive economic and social ramifications. The initiative also paves the way for the stellar efforts of the Saubhagya entrepreneur to be recognized and appreciated in her community, further aiding to build confidence,” said Rohita Annasiwatta, Head of New Channels of Unilever Sri Lanka.
Unilever ‘Gamata Api’ initiative concluded building a community hall in Doranakiwela; a bus stand in Ambegoda; a public well in Akmeemana; and sanitation facilities for nursery schools in Jayanthipura and Madukotanarawa.