Jetwing and John Keells collaborate on national issue under Lanka Business Coalition AIDS awareness

Saturday, 2 June 2012 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Two of Sri Lanka’s large corporates with business in the leisure sector set aside competition and joined hands recently to address a national cause to combat the spread of HIV and AIDS under the Lanka Business Coalition on HIV and AIDS (LBCH).

The unique collaboration took place between Jetwing Sri Lanka one of the largest hotel operators in the island and John Keells Holdings, Sri Lanka’s largest listed conglomerate of which the leisure arm is one of its biggest businesses. Both corporates are members of the LBCH and are committed to raising awareness of HIV and AIDS among its staff at all levels.   

An inaugural ceremony of ‘Passing the Pillow’ held from 8 to 9 May, at the Jetwing Lagoon saw the symbolic bright red cushion inscribed with the message ‘Pass on Awareness, not HIV’ being handed over to Jetwing Sri Lanka Chairman Hiran Cooray by Chevron Sri Lanka Country and LBCH Chairman Dr. Kishu Gomes and, kick-starting a series of education and training programs to be held at Jetwing properties island wide conducted by in-house voluntary trainers from JKH. The program is slated to cover eight Jetwing Hotels over the four weeks.                                    

Speaking at the event, Hiran Cooray said, “What we start here today will not be in this room only; first and foremost we will spread awareness amongst our associates, and they in turn will share their knowledge with others. If there is the possibility of eradicating this menace, then let us do it anyway we can through the communities in which we are present”.

Dr. Gomes said, “This unique collaboration between the two companies goes to show the importance of the cause and the need for such partnerships for the sustainability of the society. The biggest asset we have as a nation are the eight million people in the workforce, and we as business leaders should recognise the AIDS issue and own it for a solution through early mitigation action.”

LBCH’s HIV and AIDS awareness campaign launched earlier this year in an effort to highlight the importance of awareness of the disease among the over 60 LBCH member corporates, which include leading banks and conglomerates in the island, signifying a challenge for organisations to take forward the AIDS awareness program.  Its goal is to leverage the business community to make a committed response to mitigate the threat of HIV and AIDS in the workplace and community.

LBCH provides a platform from which policies and awareness programs can be coordinated and executed efficiently by pooling resources and knowledge that exist within the business community. LBCH works with its members to ensure that each of the organisations has an HIV and AIDS Workplace Policy in place, and provides on-going customised awareness programs. Professional trainers conduct these programs at no cost to member organisations.

According to statistics, nine out of 10 people living with HIV and AIDS globally are in the work force, which if not addressed, will threaten workplace productivity. As the number of persons living with HIV reported in Sri Lanka is on the rise, with approximately two new HIV cases reported every week, there is a need to recognise the magnitude of the issue and make a concerted effort on spreading awareness to mitigate the threat.

The creative concept for LBCH’s new awareness campaign was devised by the leading advertising and PR agency Bates Strategic Alliance which supports LBCH in its publicity. The pillows were sponsored by International Labour Organisation (ILO).