As a bank that takes pride in its Sri Lankan roots, Sampath Bank carried out several sustainability initiatives throughout the year aimed at community development, environmental protection and helping individuals and small businesses recover from the negative impacts caused by COVID-19. During this challenging year, the bank was not only able to deliver on its ongoing commitments but even initiated new projects to help revive the nation.
Key among these projects was the continuation of its ‘Wewata Jeewayak’ programme, which commenced in 2001 as a part of its community capacity-building initiatives. It also hopes to promote organic farming as a viable means of maintaining a sustainable livelihood through agriculture. Furthermore, this project contributes to the Bank’s triple bottom line as it enriches the lives of the community in the area, improves the water capacity of the tank and develops the surrounding eco-system, and empowers agri-entrepreneurs by making them financially inclusive.
This year Sampath Bank undertook two tank restoration projects under the programme. The first was to restore the Kindagalle tank, located in the Kokunnewa area of Bibile in the Monaragala district, which has a surface area of 15 acres and currently provides water to 62 acres of paddy land, benefitting 60 farmer families. Post restoration the tank will supply 262 acres of farming land with water, thereby directly benefiting 260 families. The restoration work includes excavation of the tank and rebuilding of the tank bund and spill, all of which is being carried out under the supervision and technical expertise of the Agrarian Development Department in Monaragala.
The second tank on which restoration work began was the Nalawagama Tank located at Nalawa village, Nochchiyagama in the Anuradhapura district. The tank has a surface area of 175 acres and currently provides water to 210 acres of paddy land, benefitting 175 families. Under the restoration, the tank’s sluice gates were completely replaced as this was identified by the bank as an urgent need. Before the restoration, the only way in which the gate could be opened or closed involved diving into over 10 feet of water, at great risk to the farmers’ lives.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the bank partnered with the CBL Group and WSO2 and jointly donated a state-of-the-art PCR laboratory to the Army Hospital in Colombo at a cost of approximately Rs. 32 million. The lab has a testing capacity of 600 samples per day, thereby expanding the national capacity to conduct PCR tests, which will enable health authorities to expand their testing base, identify those infected and provide treatment.