Unilever Sri Lanka recently held its annual Diriya Pranama Awards to reward its top Saubhagya performers for their efforts. Unilever Sri Lanka’s Project Saubhagya has consistently remained a strong symbol advocating the empowerment of women in rural Sri Lanka by providing them with sustainable livelihoods.
Dr. Anoma Gamage, the State Minister of Petroleum Resources Development graced the event as the Chief Guest while other special invitees at the event included representatives from the Samurdhi Authority, Women’s Bureau and Grama-Shakthi.
Currently in its 16th consecutive year, Project Saubhagya is Unilever Sri Lanka’s key initiative under its Unilever Sustainable Living Plan pillar of providing ‘opportunities for women.’ Through the many years of its operations, Saubhagya is instantly recognized as a symbol for women’s empowerment which helps rural women earn a sustainable livelihood by becoming direct-to-home ambassadors of Unilever brands.
This year’s top entrepreneur for the fourth consecutive year was Mrs. R. N. Ranjani of the Monaragala district. She stands as a representation of what Project Saubhagya embodies; showcasing the capabilities of rural women while helping them lead a better life in society and being a role model to her peers.
“Women’s rights together with the economic inclusion of women in Sri Lanka is fundamental to the growth and prosperity of Sri Lanka as a nation. Project Saubhagya not only improves the livelihoods of women through opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship, it also enables Unilever Sri Lanka to build stronger distribution networks and create a more sustainable business while supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of creating gender equality,” said Unilever Sri Lanka’s Customer Development Director, Aruna Mawilmada.
Implemented in 2003 with five brave women entrepreneurs who took the first step towards economic inclusion, the program has since progressed to more than 3500 active Saubhagya entrepreneurs. Playing an integral part within Unilever’s own distribution network, their journey to economic inclusion has equipped them with the necessary fundamental knowledge in sales, accounts and other essential skills required to be an entrepreneur. With the hope of eradicating the difficulties faced by women in developing markets, Project Saubhagya will continue to stand for the empowerment of Sri Lanka’s women and helping them improve the living standards of themselves and their families.