MLH partners AOD’s ‘Design for Sustainable Development’ project

Wednesday, 14 September 2011 01:09 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The historic Mount Lavinia Hotel, known for its pioneering initiatives in eco-tourism and farm-to-table cuisine that promotes local agriculture, has become a part of yet another project that supports social sustainability.

This project, ‘Design for Sustainable Development’ (DFSD), which provides stable livelihoods for artisans in rural and war-affected areas in Sri Lanka, was initiated by the Academy of Design (AOD) under the invitation of the reawakening project of the Ministry of Economic Development.

DFSD is currently executed under the Palmyrah Development Board (PDB) under the Ministry of Traditional Industries. The project helps artisans and communities engaged in craft through design, product development while connecting high-end clienteles such as the Mount Lavinia Hotel with the artisans through large quantity production orders.

Artisans from Jaffna Pungudutivu Island and Mannar visited Mount Lavinia Hotel early this week, to present the completed order of palmyrah products to the hotel. Mount Lavinia Hotel General Manager Anura Dewapura accepted the products from the artisans.

“Mount Lavinia has always been a firm supporter of ecological and social sustainability and has made it an integral part of our corporate value system. We were delighted to place an order for the products made by these artisans, not only because it helps to establish better livelihoods for them, but also because their new products are specifically designed for our purpose and coordinated by the project set up by AOD, which makes the entire project feasible. I’m honoured to accept this delivery of the products from the artisans themselves,” said Dewapura.

Senior Advisor to the Minister of Traditional Industries Jegarajasingham and Personal Assistant to the Minister of Traditional Industries K. Dayananda also attended the event representing the Minister of Traditional Industries. Representatives of the Sri Lanka Palmyrah Board were present for the event too.

AOD Managing Director Linda Speldewinde expressed her thanks to Mount Lavinia Hotel for pioneering in social sustainable hospitality: “This marks the beginning of the involvement of Sri Lanka’s hospitality industry with the national development agenda in a completely new way. We’re confident that other leaders in the hospitality industry will join hands with us too.”

“Our income has increased over fivefold because of these orders – AOD has worked with us very closely and treat us very sincerely. From earning Rs. 8 an hour we now earn Rs. 50 an hour. This order from Mount Lavinia Hotel has helped us to have hope for the future,” said artisans at the Jaffna Pungudutivu Island Palmyrah Weaving Centre.

“We were only earning around Rs. 2,000 per month, but now because of these orders we earn Rs. 8,000 per month,” said artisans at the Narivilikulam Centre, Mannar.

“We had no steady income before this project. Now we have a new livelihood that was created for us with a new centre being developed for palmyrah weaving,” said artisans from Mannar, Pavilanpattu.