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John Keells Foundation conducts campaign for Int’l Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

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John Keells Foundation conducted a public transport campaign recently to coincide with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, for the third successive year. 

This year’s campaign is targeting bus commuters within the Colombo City limits through a sticker and leaflet campaign with a particular focus on the importance of reporting incidents of sexual harassment. Teams of volunteers from John Keells Foundation will be carrying out the campaign in prominent locations in Colombo including bus stands in Pettah, Borella, Gunasinghepura and Bastian Mawatha throughout the day to create awareness.

It is one of the many initiatives of the John Keells Foundation under this year’s theme ‘See it, Report it, Prevent it’ and the campaign will be conducted with the approval and cooperation of both the Sri Lanka Transport Board and Western Province Provincial Road Passenger Transport Authority (private bus authority). 

25 November is marked as the lnternational Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, uniting people worldwide in raising awareness of, and collective action to, end violence against women and girls. It is one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations in the world today but remains largely unreported due to the impunity, silence, stigma and shame surrounding it. 

“Combating gender-based violence (GBV) is a primary concern for the John Keells Group underlined by our Policy against Sexual Harassment which is based on zero tolerance for any form of sexual harassment in the workplace and our responsibility to create a workplace free of harassment. lt is also a key focus of our CSR via John Keells Foundation (JKF),” John Keells Holdings Chairman Susantha Ratnayake stated. 

ln November 2014, JKF launched ‘Project WAVE’ (Working Against Violence through Education) as a phased awareness campaign to combat GBV and child abuse focusing on Group employees, targeted external communities and the general public. ln the past four years, the project has conducted group-wide awareness for John Keells employees and service providers (under Phase 1) and targeted awareness their supervisory staff on preventing and addressing issues of sexual harassment (under Phase 2). 

Sensitisation programs have also been conducted for select external populations such as police officers, lawyers, school children and community members while two successful public campaigns against sexual harassment on public transport have been undertaken targeting both bus and rail commuters, with the project impacting over 223,000 persons to date.

 The public campaign will be complemented by an internal poster campaign including customer interfaces of Group businesses. The John Keells Foundation urge to commit themselves to building a workplace and a society free of all forms of discrimination and violence including sexual harassment and contribute positively towards initiatives undertaken by John Keells Foundation in this regard. 

The poster campaign will be carried out under the title ‘What is your response to Sexual Harassment?’ encouraging all to report it when they see in order to prevent it. The campaign highlights the following police hotline to notify such incidents immediately – 119/011 2 444 444.

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