Funded by HSBC through the Biodiversity Sri Lanka (BSL) of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, the ‘Watershed Conservation and Restoration in the Knuckles Conservation Forest and Environmental Protection Area: mini-watershed of Puwakpitiya Oya’ is a three year project, started in October 2015, implemented by IUCN Sri Lanka office in close collaboration with the Forest Department.
Project focus is on the northern part of Knuckles Conservation Forest and surrounding environs in the Puwakpitiya, Pottatawela and Dammantenna Grama Niladari Divisions.
During 27th to 29th November 2015 period, IUCN Biodiversity staff together with 15 HSBC staff volunteers and a representative from BSL gathered ethno-biological, socio-economical and visitor data through questionnaires.
The survey identified:
priority locations for immediate actions and project activities
community level main stakeholders and key resource persons
pepper, coconuts, areca nuts and mango as main economical crops for restoration of home gardens
project related community needs; awareness programme on organic and traditional agricultural practices, improvements to the village Library, awareness programme for school children and crop cultivation assistance to elderly people of the village.
Part of the activities also consisted of an awareness raising session on the Knuckles region and identification of project activities for HSBC volunteer team.
HSBC staff volunteering in development projects is also part of the HSBC Corporate Social Responsibility. So far HSBC staff volunteered three occasions in IUCN implemented HSBC funded projects, firstly, during a tank restoration project in Warawewa (northwestern province), secondly during a biodiversity assessment in the Kapriggama (North Central Province) tank cascade restoration project and thirdly in cleaning a drainage canal to reduce the salt conditions in the paddy fields, again in the Kappriggama project.