With ‘environment’ forming an essential part of sustainability along with ‘economy & society’ components – the Foundation of Goodness (FoG) has worked consistently to ‘stay green’.
It has been FoG’s aim to also inculcate the concept amongst the youth and children and more importantly to encourage the entire community in Seenigama and its regions to ‘think green’ especially after the tsunami.
Beneficiaries at Victoria Gardens Housing Complex
receive plants for their gardens
When building the 1000 houses FoG coordinated for tsunami victims, FoG aimed to bring about a difference by giving each beneficiary adequate garden space alongside the houses to make the environment green and more beautiful.
In The Beginning
Recognizing the importance the environment plays in our day to day lives and in sustaining communities, the Foundation of Goodness (FoG) incorporated an ‘environment component’ as one of its 30 management sectors. Heading this green sector are Asiri Suranga the environment manager and Dilip Kumara the environment coordinating officer.
FoG Green Team members with their certificates
This environment team has been spearheading many projects amongst which the most popular have been beach cleaning and biogas projects. It has also been working hard to identify existing and potentially damaging factors to the environment to ensure minimal or no damage is caused. Creating environmental awareness and keeping a tab on maintaining a safe and secure green environment is no easy task in rural regions. So to help in this task the environment sector set up a FoG ‘green team’ comprising ten members to ensure environmental success.
Enthusiastic students at Sri Wimala Buddhi MV
Understanding the need to involve children in ‘going green’, the FoG green team decided to launch a project at school level. Sri Wimala Buddhi MV was selected and an environment society was set up there, which proved to be a success. The FoG green team conducted many simple and effective awareness programmes and workshops with the school children, which were well received and liked.
A villager sets up a compost manure bin
to aid her home gardening project
At the KPMG/LOLC Village built for tsunami affected families, the FoG green team introduced the concept of solid waste management and also initiated home gardening projects. These have proved to be a success as well. Here too a green team was set up amongst the youth who were also tasked with a bi-monthly shramadana to ensure village cleanliness. In addition to this every month the best home garden is selected and the family responsible receives a hamper of essential food items worth Rs. 15,000/-. This incentive has been pivotal in ensuring the success of the home gardening projects.
Beach cleaning and planting to prevent sea erosion
Beach cleaning is another of the projects initiated by the FoG green team. It is carried out by the children’s green team and is carried out once in two months when the stretch of beach in and around the historic Seenigama devalaya is cleaned and also the stretch of beach from there to the Malewanna junction. The FoG green team has also initiated a tree planting project along the coastline in the region in a bid to avert coastal erosion. The coastal belt is one area which needs much focus in Seenigama. Prior to the tsunami many people in the region were exploiting the seas off Seenigama by engaging in illegal coral mining. This had gone on for many generations until in 2004 when the tsunami waves swept 2 kilo metres inland and put an end to this destructive and harmful occupation.
FoG Green Team provides villagers plants and instructions for home gardening projects
The FoG green team also selected twenty families from in and around Seenigama to launch a pilot home gardening project. Families were selected amongst the poorest in the region and the aim here was to help the families to cultivate and produce for their daily dietary needs from their own home gardens. For this the FoG green team provided the seeds, saplings, compost manure and agriculture advice to help the families get started.
Successful home gardening projects
Further to this, another 372 families were identified in Seenigama for home gardening projects and plant saplings were provided to them to get them started on their individual projects.
Model organic garden and waste management
at MCC COE
The FoG green team also launched a model organic garden at the MCC Centre of Excellence in Seenigama, along with a solid waste management programme. It also installed an organic waster incinerator for the benefit of the Rainbow clinic and dental unit housed at the MCC centre of Excellence.
FoG’s pilot biogas project in Udumulla
The FoG green team initiated a biogas project in Udumulla, with the aim of reducing the high cost of fuel for the villagers. The pilot project was initiated in the backyard of a family that was raring pigs.
Home Gardening Competition
In October, the FoG green team selected the top home gardens in Seenigama from amongst members of the Children’s Goodness Club. Each of the home gardens were judged in five areas – types of vegetables grown, types of leafy greens grown, types of fruits grown, types of medicinal plants grown and the apt maintenance of the home gardening projects. The adjudicators gave ten points per each area making fifty points the winning mark.
Section of winning home gardening projects
Bhavani Jaya was the winner – she came first with 22 points a majority which was earned in the vegetable and maintenance areas.
With 20 points Rumeshi Dinsara was second, and interestingly was the only competitor who earned points in all areas, and the only one who had focused on growing medicinal plants.
In third place was Piyumi Lakhara. A majority of her 19 points was earned for the areas of vegetables and maintenance.
Having achieved so much so far the FoG green team is also focused on the future. It plans to - initiate a 100,000 plant project, a green garden, further coastal conservation projects, hold workshops on waste management, introduce the Japanese S5 system to the community, replace poly bags with biodegradable bags, hold health & sanitation workshops and raise awareness on the conservation of water.
The FoG understands the only way forward is to ‘go green’. FoG founder/trustee Kushil Gunasekera is pleased with the achievements the green team has made so far. “We established within our holistic project plan of addressing the concerns of the rural community by creating an environment management unit to emphasize the significance of the worthiness of the green concept keeping in line with the green world concept” Gunaskera said adding that “the Planet Wheeler Foundation recently recognizing its value has extended sponsorship in this regard and this is encouraging for the green approach the FoG has employed.”
“We won't have a society
if we destroy the environment.”
- Margareat Mead