March 8th, 2022 - Colombo: Coca‑Cola Sri Lanka Private Limited, together with Women in Management (WIM), recently organised a special event ‘Break the Bias Today, for a Sustainable Tomorrow’ that recognized the important role played by the women in the waste management sector of Colombo. The event, held to mark the International Women’s Day under the global theme #BreakTheBias, recognized their untiring work towards helping maintain a clean environment on a daily basis, created awareness on the importance of recycling and waste management and also empowered women to use recycling and waste management as an entrepreneurship tool to move ahead in life and improve their livelihood opportunities.
Studies have shown that on average, the waste management sector collects up to 70-150 kg of trash per day, all of which gets deposited into trucks at the end of the day. During their daily routines, these workers are regularly exposed to the heat and humidity of the city as well as toxic chemicals and fumes, against which they receive little or no protection. On average, despite their gruelling work, they earn only between Rs. 500 to Rs. 700 per day, amounting to roughly Rs. 24,000 monthly, most of which is spent on food and transport. As a result, a lot of the women in waste management in Colombo experience homelessness and malnutrition and these factors work against their upward mobility.
The Chief Guest of the event was Hon. Dr. Sudharshini Fernandopulle - State Minister of Primary Health Care, Epidemics and COVID Disease Control
Also present at the event, Pankaj Sinha Managing Director of Coca‑Cola Sri Lanka Private Limited opined, "We are thankful to Women In Management for giving us the opportunity to partner with them for this noteworthy initiative. As we celebrate International Women's Day, we must all break the bias and acknowledge the exceptional role played by these brave female street cleaners day in day out in giving us a clean environment and a beautiful city to live in. They are true heroes”
Dr Sulochana Segera stated, “We are happy to extend the International Women’s Day program that we commenced last year where we convey our gratitude to our road cleaners and waste collectors in Colombo by rewarding 100 females this year. The objective of this celebration is to appreciate their service and also to give them respect for doing the most important job, which allows all of us can live in a clean city. We are thankful to Coca‑Cola Sri Lanka for joining hands with us to make this a success.”
Hon. Dr. Sudharshini Fernandopulle commented, “International Women’s Day is a very special occasion celebrated globally and it’s inspiring to see organisations partnering together to celebrate the hardworking women of Sri Lanka who work tirelessly throughout the year to make this city a beautiful place to live in. I would like to convey my gratitude for both Women In Management and Coca‑Cola Sri Lanka for giving these brave women their due recognition and I hope their needs will be taken care of into the future.”
Women in Management (WIM) works to empower Sri Lankan Career women and women entrepreneurs by connecting and bonding them by providing leadership and guidance in nurturing their knowledge and skills and inspiring them to achieve their goals and to act as conduits to the transformation of the role of women in career and business into a dynamic force. This wouldn’t be the first partnership between WIM and Coca‑Cola Sri Lanka. In alignment with Coca‑Cola’s global 5by20 initiative to empower women, the two organisations have worked in a strategic partnership to economically empower over 3,500 women across Sri Lanka.
This project also contributes to Coca‑Cola’s ‘Give Back Life’ program which is working towards the company’s global ‘World Without Waste’ goal where it aims to collect and recycle a bottle for each one it sells by 2030.