Continuing to empower rural communities across the nation, Sampath Bank embarked on the restoration of the Athawetuna Wewa in Divulwewa, Anamaduwa under its flagship community outreach initiative, Wewata Jeewayak, recently. This is the 10th tank (wewa) in the country to be restored under the programme.
This is yet another timely initiative by the Bank to support the nation and empower its farming communities to overcome the challenges brought about by the global COVID-19 pandemic and rebuild their lives.
The 20-acre Athawetuna Wewa is the primary source of irrigation for over 60 acres of paddy fields. It also plays a key role in animal husbandry and other livelihood development activities in the Divulwewa and neighbouring villages, serving over 500 people.
With no major maintenance work having been carried out for over 20 years, the Athawetuna Wewa’s bund has suffered considerable damage. Its waters have become shallow due to the accumulation of sludge. Its irrigation canal, sluice gates and spill too are in need of repairs. The current dilapidated state of the tank has limited paddy cultivation in the area to one season alone, thereby affecting the livelihoods of the entire community.
Sampath Bank will be working together with the Perakum Farmers Association (Perakum Govi Sanvidanaya); the Department of Agrarian Development, Puttalam District Office, Chilaw; and members of the local community to renovate the tank completely. Rituals were conducted to invoke blessings on the project and the community before members of the Farmers Association commenced work on it.
“At Sampath Bank, we have always appreciated the significance of tanks (wewa) built by our kings. Being instrumental in protecting the environment, they also enable farming and other economic activity in a sustainable manner. As a bank that takes great pride in our Sri Lankan roots, we seek to play an active role in restoring these invaluable treasures and have been working on restoring them through our ‘Wewata Jeewayak’ initiative. We have had the opportunity to transform the lives of thousands of families around the island through the programme,” said Nanda Fernando, Managing Director, Sampath Bank PLC. “It us our privilege to partner with the people of Divulwewa and the Department of Agrarian Development on the renovation of the Athawetuna Wewa. Projects such as this are part of our ongoing efforts to empower all Sri Lankans to reach their true potential as we continue to present their future.”
Commending Sampath Bank for its outreach efforts, R. P. D. K. Jayarathna, President, Perakum Govi Sanvidanaya, Athawetuna Wewa, said, “The Athawetuna Wewa has been the lifeblood of our community, supporting agriculture, dairy farming and other economic activity. Its deterioration due to years of neglect has affected our ability to grow crops all through the year and hence had an adverse impact on our livelihoods. We are delighted to see responsible organizations like Sampath Bank come forward to empower rural communities. Their work on restoring our tank will go a long way in helping us rebuild our lives. I would like to thank the Bank on behalf of all of us in Divulwewa for this meritorious act of benevolence.”
The Wewata Jeewayak programme is one of the key pillars in Sampath Bank’s community capacity building initiatives. The Bank seeks to offer sustainable solutions for farmers in the country’s dry zone and works with members of the community and experts in the field to develop the same. The programme focuses on ensuring continued, reliable supply of water in these regions to help the farmers raise crops in both the Yala and Maha seasons, every year. Going beyond improving the water retention capacity of the tanks, their restoration has a significant positive impact on the larger ecosystem as well.
The Bank also engages farmers on sustaining lives and livelihoods through farming, promotes organic farming and empowers agri-entrepreneurs through the Wewata Jeewayak initiative, thereby enabling them to better contribute to national development and drive economic growth. Covering all 3 aspects of the triple bottom line – people, planet and profits –, the program thus plays a role in supporting Sri Lanka’s national efforts to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
To date, the Bank has restored 9 other tanks, viz., Udamaththala Wewa in Lunugamwehera (2001), Ilukpelassa Wewa in Thanamalwila (2002), Konketiara Wewa in Hambantota (2002), Dematawa Wewa in Panduwasnuwara (2014), Halmillakulama Wewa in Nochchiyagama (2017), Ambagaha Wewa in Kahatagasdigiliya (2018), Dhanyawa Wewa in Divulankadawala (2018), Nelawagama Wewa in Nochchiyagama (2020), and Kindagalla Wewa in Bibile (2020), under the programme.
Sampath Bank is a 100% local bank that has deeply rooted itself in the hearts of the people of Sri Lanka. Established in 1987, the bank has become a state-of-the-art financial institution that continues to be a market leader today thanks to its constant innovation and customer focused approach to business. It has introduced many firsts to the Sri Lankan banking sector such as the introduction of ATMs and extended banking hours to Sri Lanka, during the Bank’s early days, to slip-less banking and Touchless ATMs, more recently, to name a few. The Bank continues to steadily transform itself into a technology-driven financial services provider whilst keeping true to our traditions and values.