DOING THINGS DIFFERENTLY To Make a Difference
Articles on Latest events

BMI Thampalakamam branch organises Blood Donation camp

07th April 2017: The Thampalakamam branch of Berendina Microfinance Institute (Gte) Ltd. (BMI) held a Blood Donation Camp at the Thampalakamam Divisional Secretariat Office on the 07th of April 2017. The event was a grand success as it attracted a participation of around 50 persons.

The event was held to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the branch which opened its doors on 07th April 2012. 

Out of the 49 members who volunteered to donate blood for the program, only 34 members members were selected as the other volunteer donors did not meet the procedural criteria.

The event was mainly supported by the Serving Humanity Foundation in Kinniya. The staff of the branch, the Area Manager for the Trincomalee region & the Enterprise Development Manager also participated and supported the program.

‹‹ Prev Page 1 of 2 Next ››

Nepal MFI’s keen to emulate Berendina's EDS model

30th March 2017: The Sakchyam Access to Finance for the Poor Programme (Sakchyam) in Nepal recently invited a Sri Lankan team from Berendina Microfinance Institute (Gte) Ltd (BMI) to conduct a feasibility study to replicate or adopt the Enterprise Development Services (EDS) model being implemented by the Berendina Group in Sri Lanka.

Berendina Group Chairman - Mr. Anura Athapattu and Berendina's Enterprise Development Manager - Mr. Rajesh Kanna were involved in the feasibility study conducted in Chitalang, Gulariya and Pyuthan of Rural Nepal from 20th to 24th of March 2017. 

“At the workshop held with Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) and enterprise development practitioners, it was observed that they were keen to replicate the model while Sakchyam offered all their partner MFIs a grant funding to cover replication of the BMI – EDS model,” Berendina Chairman, Athapattu said on conclusion of the tour.

The BMI operation has supported thousands of families in Sri Lanka enhance income levels by implementing a unique “credit plus approach”. This is where credit is provided to individuals in the poorest strata of the society along with several other tied-up training services in a financially sustainable manner. As result of this, BMI was called upon to interact with Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) in Nepal to explore the feasibility of emulating the model to develop and support micro and small level enterprises in that country. 

BMI, a non-governmental-organization is one of Sri Lanka's top microfinance service providers and has a client base of over 100,000 persons spread in the remotest of regions in Sri Lanka.

Sakchyam is an initiative funded by UKaid as part of an agreement between the Governments of Nepal and the UK. It is implemented by Louis Berger for the Department for International Development (DFID Nepal) in partnership with local and international institutions.

The 5-year programme, valued at US$25.77 million, is working with the public and private sectors to leverage access and facilitate financial sector development in Nepal for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and for poor people with a focus on the Mid- and Far-Western Regions (MWDR and FWDR), and beyond. 

 

‹‹ Prev Page 1 of 2 Next ››

Berendina Stichting Chairman Visits the North

27th March 2017: Chairman of Berendina Stichting (BS), Mr. Jos Van Aggelen made an inspection tour of Berendina’s activities in the Northern province from 24th-26th March, 2017. 

The BS Chairman was accompanied by Director of Berendina Development Services (BDS) and Berendina Microfinance Institute (BMI) - Mr. Jagath Godakanda and the Actg. General Manager of Berendina Development Services (Gte) Ltd. - Dayantha Fernando.

Seen is a photograph captured during the BS Chairman’s visit to the Northern province. 

‹‹ Prev Page 1 of 2 Next ››

Berendina Chairman makes inspection tour of Anuradhapura District

March 7, 2017: Berendina Group Chairman Mr. Anura Athapattu paid an inspection tour of the Anuradhapura District in early March. The objective of the visit was to understand the impact made by Berendina and the improvements required in program work and organizational management. The Chairman was accompanied by BMI Area Manager for Anuradhapura District - Mr. Saman Wijesundara and Berendina Microfinance Institute (Gte) Ltd Environmental Coordinator, Mr. Kasun Dissanayake

‹‹ Prev Page 1 of 2 Next ››

BMI’s top staff performers tour Bangladesh & Thailand

10th January 2017: Thirteen of the best performing employees of Berendina Microfinance Institute (Gte) Ltd. in 2014 were recently granted the opportunity of being part of a 05-day Microfinance exposure visit & training session in Bangladesh and a 4-days round trip to Thailand.
 
As part of the tour which took place in January 2017, the team from BMI made exposure visits to ASA, one of the leading microfinance institutions in Bangladesh and BRAC, a microfinance and development organization dedicated to alleviating poverty in Bangladesh.
 
“Every company needs a strategic reward system for employees that addresses employee recognition and appreciation. For this purpose, Berendina practices “Best Staff” selection program. This program has been conducted every year within the organization,” BMI's Head of Human Resources and Administration, Mr. Kapila Subasinghe said.
 
According to him, those selected were based on two eligibility criteria. One is based on the length of service with Berendina & the other taking into account of the appraisal marks scored at the Annual Performance Review of an employee.
 
“The objective of having criteria like this is to motivate, capacitate & retain the competent staff within Berendina,” Mr. Subasinghe added.
 
On a national level, Berendina has plans to select National level best staff and they will be given an overseas tour. This will be for field level best Micro Finance Officers (MFO) winning 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, & 5th places, best Branch Managers winners 01st & 2nd and best Enterprise Development Officer, Accounts & Admin Officer, Assistant Accounts & Admin Officer and best Area Manager. From the Head Office, the top performing staff are selected categorized by their division.
 
Meanwhile, a Rs. 10,000 (USD 66) cash award will be offered for regional best MFOs or next best MFOs. Those not eligible for overseas tours will be offered with a cash price of Rs. 10,000 (USD 66). Further, all selected best staff are given a letter of appreciation to officially recognize their achievement.
 
In addition to individual appreciation, the best branch is also selected based on a multi-dimensional criteria and cash price of Rs. 20,000 (USD 132) is offered. Accordingly, Ipalogama Branch located in Anuradapura District was selected as the Best Branch in the year 2014.

‹‹ Prev Page 1 of 2 Next ››

BMI bags Silver at CA Sri Lanka’s 52nd Annual Report Awards

6th December 2016: As a result of continuous improvements made in line with feedback received from CA Sri Lanka, the 2015 Annual Report of Berendina Microfinance Institute (Gte) Ltd clinched the “Silver award” at the 52nd Annual Report Awards ceremony organised by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (CA Sri Lanka), recently. 

This recognition for Berendina, one of the leading poverty alleviation agencies in the Non-Government Sector in Sri Lanka, was in the category of not-for-profit organizations. It was also the first award received by BMI at the coveted Competition, one of the most celebrated corporate events in the country and granted in appreciation of the cohesive, clear and customized reporting specially in terms of compliance reporting. The event held on 06th December 2016, was graced by Sri Lanka's Finance Minister Hon. Ravi Karunanayake.

In order to encourage and recognize excellence in annual reporting, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (CA Sri Lanka) has been organizing Annual Report Awards competition since 1964. With the intention of improving upon good governance and transparency in financial reporting, BMI has participated in this competition since 2012.

The competition which has created an important benchmark as an event that promotes transparency, good governance and social responsibility among corporates both big and small, was organized under the theme 'Precision Exemplified'.

The prestigious awards ceremony honored the most cohesive, clear and customized annual reports that best reflect an entity's operations, going beyond the statutory boundaries of reporting.

 

 

‹‹ Prev Page 1 of 2 Next ››

Berendina and Watawala partners to provide latrines for 1590 estate worker families in a sustainable manner

27th November 2015: Mr. Dulan De Silva, Chairman, Berendina and Mr. Dan Seevaratnam, Chief Executive Officer, Watawala Plantations signed a Memorandum of Understanding ( MoU) on the 27th of November to provide individual latrines for  worker families attached to 15 estates in Watwala/Hatton and Lindula regions  of the Watawala Plantations Group. Under the terms of the MoU, the Berendina Microfinance Institute (BMI) will provide Watawala Plantations with a loan of Rs. 58, 491,000 extending from 2014 – 2017 to provide 1590 estate worker families with individual toilets. The worker families will be expected to repay the capital for these loans within a 24 month period in equal instalments, while Watawala Plantations will bear the loan interest rate at 10% p.a on behalf of these families.

In addition, Watawala Plantations will allocate suitable land for the construction of these toilets and engage the health and welfare team attached to each estate to monitor the construction process and mobilise the estate workers on the benefits of using toilets.

Berendina Development Services (BDS) will also assist with selection of relevant contractors to undertake the project, provision of required monitoring and evaluation processes, as well through the conducting of special information sessions on proper maintenance of these toilets.

The initiative is a result of a 3 year campaign by Berendina and Watwala Group to educate the workers that they no longer need to wait for handouts to improve their quality of lives. Though there was some initial resistance to this initiative, so far over 400 worker families have taken loans from Berendina on a full cost basis. This was thanks to the awareness campaigns carried out to educate the estate workers and trade union representatives on the importance of individual latrines for health, sanitation and for privacy of females.

A decision was made by the CEO of Watawala Plantations, that every estate family attached to the company should have a toilet by the year 2017 and the joint initiative with Berendina was a response to this decision.

Berendina also constructs latrines on grant basis for destitute families in the plantation sector. Over the years over 1200 such latrines have been constructed by Berendina on a grant basis.

‹‹ Prev Page 1 of 2 Next ››

Remote village in Anuradhapura provided safe drinking water by Berendina

17th March 2015: Berendina as part of its assistance towards Social Businesses initiatives, recently helped construct a reverse osmosis water purification plantin the village of Wahagapuwewa in the Kahatagasdigiliya area of Anuradhapura district. The plant was officially handed over to the Ekamuthu Praja Sanvidanaya; a Community Based Organization (CBO) in the village, at a small ceremony held on the 17th of March 2015.

The water purified through this plant will meet WHO specified health standards and will be sold at a subsidized rate of Rs. 1.50-2.00 per liter to these villagers by the CBO.Profits earned from the sale of water will be utilized to benefit CKD patients in the area.

Around 120 families in the village of Wahahapuwewa and adjacent areas face immense hardship due to the Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) crisis and are forced to travel around 16-20 km to purchase safe drinking water for consumption. Identifying the critical need of these families to assure a safe and easily accessible drinking water supply, Berendina signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ekamuthu Praja Sanvidanaya to initiate the project in January this year. Through the agreement, Berendina provided an interest free loan amounting to Rs. 540,000 to the Ekamuthu Praja Sanvidanaya to construct the water purification system. In addition, Berendina will also bear service costs of the purification unit for a period of one year.

‹‹ Prev Page 1 of 2 Next ››

Stake holder Consultation Meeting of Citizen action for the protection of plantation sector workers rights project

30th June 2015: Berendina's support for the vulnerable people in the estate sector is strengthened by its new project of “Citizen's action for the protection of plantation sector workers rights project” funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through its grants project of Support for Professional and Institutional Capacity Enhancement (SPICE). The Project launched its long time expected stake holder consultation meeting on the 30th of June, 2015. The meeting was represented by 65 participants from 25 estates and 7 plantation companies, including the 7 representatives of elders club and representatives from each of the Abagamuwe and Nuwera Eliya Divisional secretariats, specially the Assistant Commissioner of Labour Department in Hatton and representatives of USAID were presented including the Director and General Manager of Berendina Development Services. The overall objective of the consultative meeting is to establish an action forum consisting of Estate Mangers, Labour Representatives, Religious Leaders, Divisional Secretariat and Elders leaders to work toward the benefit of ensuring the rights to statutory dues of retired workers in the plantation sector. Most importantly the action forum will work together towards addressing involvement of 3rd party as brokers who charge a major proportion of their dues as commission and building the relationship of the Plantation companies with ACL office at Hatton to strengthen the EPF claiming process by plantation workers.
 
The meeting was successfully completed as planned. It was noticed that the participants were able to discuss their issues both ACL and the estate officials and members of elders clubs to come to a conclusion. Finally an action plan and an action forum was developed in the meeting which is the highest point of achievement of the project at this point to reduce the grievances facing by this vulnerable retired workers at their age of retirement.

‹‹ Prev Page 1 of 2 Next ››

Elders Sports Meet at Lonach Estate

24th March 2015: The Plantation program of Berendina Development Services (BDS) organized an Elders' Sports Meet at the Lonarch Estate (part of the Watawala Plantations group) on the 24th of March 2015. Around 125 elders residing on the Lonach Estate actively participated in this event.  The sports meet was held at St Aubins Playground on the Lonarch Estate.

Many entertaining events such as Kolam competition, breaking pots, running events, walking race, fancy dress competition, musical chairs as well as singing competitions were conducted with the active participation of all elders who were present. The majority of participants were over 60 years of age.

The special invitees at the event were; Mr. Jeyaram, Manager, Lonarch Estate and Mr. B. M. Raheem, Senior Manager, BDS Plantation program.  On conclusion of the event, all participants were gifted special umbrellas courtesy of BDS.

‹‹ Prev Page 1 of 2 Next ››