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The Commercial Bank of Ceylon took top honours for the best CSR projects in the ‘Education & Training’ category at the 2012 Best Corporate Citizen Awards presented by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.
The Bank’s country-wide programme of creating an IT enabled environment amongst school children, particularly those in rural areas by commissioning fully-equipped computer labs in schools and for special needs groups as well as its annual scholarships for undergraduates won the Bank the award in this category at this prestigious event.
Education & Training was one of five categories in the ‘Best CSR Projects 2012’ segment of the Chamber’s awards programme.
In the period reviewed for the award (1st April 2011 – 31st March 2012), the Commercial Bank donated IT labs to 33 schools and institutions, benefitting nearly 17,000 students, and awarded scholarships and a laptop each to 25 undergraduates under its annual scholarships programme. The total number of undergraduates assisted during the year was 98, considering beneficiaries of previous years, who continued to receive the annual scholarship of Rs 25,000 each.
The Bank’s IT Labs programme which continues in the current year, has to date benefitted more than 30,000 students in 60 schools and institutions.
“What sets these programmes apart are the Bank’s commitment to sustaining them over a long period, their scale -- which is national -- and their alignment with national priorities and the Bank’s own vision and mission,” said Mr. Nandika Buddhipala, Chief Financial Officer/ Trustee of Commercial Bank CSR Trust. “We have not simply allocated funds but assigned staff resources and management representation to these projects to ensure they are well implemented and sustained.”
He said the IT Education project was selected after careful consideration of the Bank’s broad vision and the development road map of the Government of Sri Lanka, to nurture the future of the country through IT education by empowering future generations to face the challenges of the 21st century.
In the 12 months reviewed for the Chamber’s award alone, Commercial Bank spent Rs 33.3 million on its education related community programmes. This commitment has increased substantially in the current financial year.
The Bank’s IT Education programme was subjected to an independent external evaluation by Det Norske Veritas (DNV) in April 2012, consequent to which an Assurance Statement was issued by DNV.
In September this year, Commercial Bank further expanded its commitment to the education sector with the launch of a national-scale community initiative to take English language education to children in rural Sri Lanka. The Bank has engaged the professional expertise of the Life English Academy (LEA), a leading English language training institution in Sri Lanka, to conduct this programme as an extra-curricular activity at selected schools across the country.
The inaugural programme under this groundbreaking initiative began at the Kiriella Madhya Maha Vidyalaya in Ratnapura and will conclude in February 2013. It will thereafter be replicated with simultaneous training programmes in other parts of the island.
The Commercial Bank’s CSR Trust was established in 2004, and the Bank contributes 1% of its post tax profit annually towards the Trust’s projects.
Besides it commitments to the sphere of education, the Bank also supports the Health sector as a secondary CSR initiative. The Bank has donated critical care equipment to the Lady Ridgeway Hospital and Jaffna Teaching Hospital and made substantial monetary contributions to repair wards at several other hospitals.
Commercial Bank has also supported facilities for war heroes such as the Ranaviru Sevana Ragama, Abhimansala in Anuradhapura and Mihindu Seth Medura, Attidiya.
Promoting cultural heritage is another important area of activity of the Commercial Bank CSR Trust. Currently, a Bank sponsored museum is being constructed within the precincts of the Kataragama Kirivehera. The Bank has also renovated the flight of steps at Sri Pada for the benefit of devotees.
The largest private bank in Sri Lanka, Commercial Bank is the only Sri Lankan Bank to be listed two years consecutively in the world’s Top 1000 Banks. The Bank operates a network of 225 service points in Sri Lanka and a network of 541 ATMs. The Bank has been adjudged ‘Best Bank in Sri Lanka’ for 14 consecutive years by ‘Global Finance’ Magazine, and has won multiple awards as the country’s best bank from ‘The Banker,’ ‘FinanceAsia,’ ‘Euromoney’ and ‘Trade Finance’ magazines.
Ms Priyanthi Perera, Coordinator of the Commercial Bank's CSR Trust receives the award from Mr. Susantha Ratnayake, Chairman of The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.