At least 2000 families exposed to the threat of chronic kidney and water-borne diseases in Sri Lanka's North Central Province are to receive special water filters in a new community outreach project funded jointly by Brandix Lanka Limited and Deutsche Bank AG.
To be implemented by the Community Water Supply & Sanitation Project (CWSSP) of the Ministry of Urban Development and Sacred Area Development, the project will involve the distribution of filters that remove pathogens and harmful minerals such as fluoride from the drinking water in selected areas, the training of recipients in the correct use of the filters and arrangements for their maintenance.
Funding for the procurement of the filters will be shared by Deutsche Bank with a contribution of Rs 2 million, and Brandix with a contribution of Rs 1.8 million. The project will be executed by a network of village-level Community Based Organisations (CBOs) built up by the CWSSP over the past 15 years in districts vulnerable to water-borne diseases.
Announcing the collaboration between Deutsche Bank and Brandix at a news conference, Rohan Rodrigo, the Bank's CEO in Sri Lanka said: "We are aware that there is a high incidence of chronic renal failure and other water-borne diseases attributed to the high levels of fluoride in the water in parts of the North Central Province and the North Western Province. Brandix has done some excellent work to help communities tackle this problem, and Deutsche Bank is pleased to support this project and work with Brandix to improve the quality of life of people in affected areas."
Anusha Alles, Head of CSR at Brandix said: "A strong and caring partner like Deutsche Bank will generate greater interest in our own community projects conducted under the theme 'Water is Life.' This partnership could be the start to many good projects and be a precedent for more partnerships among corporate entities for projects that result in tangible and meaningful interventions in poor rural communities."
Speaking on behalf of the CWSSP, Consultant Mr Sapukotana said the Brandix-Deutsche Bank Water Purification Project would directly benefit families chosen on the basis of their exposure to water-borne diseases. The community-based organisations of the CWSSP had, with the assistance of medical practitioners, identified people most affected, he said, disclosing that priority had been given to families where at least one member had already developed renal problems due to bad drinking water.
Brandix-Deutsche Bank Water Purification Project would directly benefit families chosen on the basis of their exposure to water-borne diseases.
Mr Sapukotana , Consultant-CWSSP
"There are more than 3,000 people registered with kidney diseases at the Medawachchiya Renal Care Centre alone," Mr. Sapukotana said. "Large numbers of families in Medawachchiya and Thalawa in Anuradhapura desperately need fluoride filters but cannot afford them."
Already, more than 40 people from affected communities in the North Central Province have been trained at the Brandix Water Research & Training Centre in Anuradhapura on the importance of filtering drinking water and the use and maintenance of the filters specially designed for the areas affected by contaminated water. These persons will in turn train the recipient families on how to use and clean the filters. The Community-based organisations will monitor the use and maintenance of the filters distributed, while Brandix has undertaken to periodically conduct random tests of the quality of the filtered water to ensure that the beneficiaries are being protected against health complications.
Contaminated drinking water has been scientifically linked to the high incidence in Sri Lanka's North Central Province of Dental Fluorosis, Chronic Renal Failure and other health hazards. Research carried out by several agencies including the Water Resources Board, has revealed that one in every 10 people living in the NCP suffers from a kidney disease as a result of drinking water contaminated with heavy metals and agro-chemicals and the use of low quality aluminum containers to store water.
In September last year, Brandix donated to the government of Sri Lanka a Water Research and Training Centre purpose-built and equipped at a cost of Rs 25 million to help address this problem. The 7,000 square-foot Laboratory and Training Centre at Anuradhapura is dedicated to reducing the occurrence of such health problems through a combination of awareness and training programmes on water purification, conservation and management and the manufacture and distribution of low cost household water filters across the province.
Deutsche Bank believes it is important to contribute to the communities in which it operates. To this end, the Deutsche Bank Asia Foundation has been involved in a wide range of charitable initiatives in Sri Lanka, including microfinance projects; a contemporary art charity event; housing construction; health screening projects; and a large scale redevelopment of a UNESCO world heritage listed site in Anuradhapura. In response to the 2004 tsunami, an extensive relief effort included building 22 pre-schools in the District of Hambantota, which supported over 350 children in the district.
Brandix pioneered the concept of total solutions in the Sri Lankan apparel industry and was once again recognized as Sri Lanka's largest apparel exporter by the Export Development Board at a ceremony held on the 6th of June 2008. The Group's CSR efforts are driven by the central corporate theme 'Water is Life' and constitute a long term commitment to increasing the availability of water and the provision of safe drinking water to those most in need. The Group's community outreach initiatives also include providing water through desalination plants, wells and pipe-borne water to communities in and around its manufacturing plants and the improvement of sanitation facilities in needy areas.