CDB fuses its business model, which combines urban funding and rural lending, with sustainable practices. This, combined with our net lending position to the rural economy, positions us as a conscientious and formidable leader in the financial services industry, enriching the lives of the marginalised people in thick rural areas. CDB drives community-led sustainability, using our digital capabilities to enable and encourage rural entrepreneurship and uplift rural financial strength, thus helping to address the inequalities, social exclusion, and marginalisation of various societal groups.
CDB strives to provide learning opportunities for passionate, dynamic, and focused young people through our internship and management trainee programmes and our island-wide branch network. During the period under review, internship and management trainee opportunities were provided to youth outside the Western Province and 52% of new hires were from outside the Western Province.
CDB believes that investing in women empowerment is crucial to encouraging inclusive economic growth, gender equality, and contributes to poverty eradication in Sri Lanka. We support and empower women through our core business of providing financial services, including extending loans to start new businesses, expand existing ventures, and reinvesting returns to spur the development
of small businesses. During the period under review, 33% of our lending was extended to women. We also empower women entrepreneurs through the CDB SMB Friday initiative.
With one in 100 children being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, CDB launched the Autism Awareness project in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Association for Child Development (SLACD) in 2016 to promote early detection and timely intervention and reduce the negative impact that autism can have on their lives. In addition to raising public awareness around the disorder, CDB mooted the Autism Trust Fund by allocating Rs. 10 Mn. A dedicated hotline was also established at the CDB Customer Care Centre, thereby creating a framework for families to obtain information and assistance.
Since our inception, we have been investing in activities to raise awareness among our communities about Autism Spectrum Disoder and child wellbeing. This includes mass media campaigns, outreach programmes, establishing a therapeutic play area at the Ampara District hospital, organising the Autism awareness walk and opening the state-of-the-art Children’s Intervention Centre at the Anuradhapura Teaching Hospital in collaboration with SLACD.
Going forward, a series of activities have been planned. These include the “Train the Trainer” programme in collaboration with SLACD, and the doctors and medical staff to enhance the knowledge and practice of early detection and intervention. CDB will support by sponsoring a dedicated resource person to coordinate and implement the programme. Furthermore, intervention centres will be established in Colombo and Badulla under the national theme “Act Early for Autism”.
CDB strives to support the human capital development needs of Sri Lanka and create an equitable society. We believe that access to quality education is a fundamental right of every child and the solution to many economic and social problems in our Nation.
With the objective of uplifting the Children’s education, we have been continuing the CDB Sisu Diri scholarship program for the past 12 years. We aim to offer 100 new scholarships in season 13 as well. This scholarship programme recognises and nurtures the talents of schoolchildren, enabling access to quality education and encouraging them to acquire the skills to strengthen their employability, and reducing the school dropout rate that stems from financial difficulties. Since the inception of the programme, we have awarded 609 scholarships valued at Rs. 12 Mn. in order to enhance the access to quality education. Furthermore, 12 schools have been provided with smart classrooms, empowering students in rural schools with access to digital education.
CDB aims to inculcate a spirit of volunteerism and empathy in our team towards the less fortunate people in our communities by promoting community development and deploying social sustainability representatives across the island through CDB Hithawathkam.
In celebration of our 25th anniversary, 25 community projects were conducted covering most of the districts in Sri Lanka with an investment of Rs. 3.7 Mn. Additionally, our staff members also contributed to these projects, which were carried out with the participation of all branch team members.
CDB also aims to empower entrepreneurs and small businesses by providing them with a platform to raise their visibility through our “CDB SMB Friday” initiative. With an average of 35,000 views for a video, we helped to increase their visibility through our social media channels and corporate website.
As a key initiative in the year under review, we conducted the first ever webinar for women entrepreneurs coinciding with International Women’s Day. Several areas of importance were discussed including the importance of women empowerment, support systems available to navigate through the challenges of the pandemic and an open discussion to clear any doubts relating to their respective business areas.
The resource panel included four SMB vendors we had featured at the inception of the programme and they shared their success stories.
We have taken several steps to support communities and the nation during the pandemic, including donating Rs. 10 Mn. towards the building of a Quarantine Centre and supporting deserving families through the branch network.
Encompassing the brand Promise, “Your Friend”, several initiatives were conducted to raise public awareness and wellbeing. In particular, the COVID-19 awareness campaign was a key initiative undertaken during the period. Furthermore, we placed awareness boards at dealer points highlighting the basic etiquettes that need to be followed to prevent the spread of the virus. We reached deserving families through our branch network and provided essential supplies during the period of travel restrictions. Furthermore, essential medical equipment costing Rs. 10 Mn. was donated to the Gampaha District Hospital during month of May 2021. These included a vital ICU monitor and an ICU ventilator unit.
We will continue to use the UN Sustainable Development Goals to guide our social responsibility initiatives. With the path to the end of the COVID-19 pandemic being laid out, we will focus on supporting our communities and small businesses to return to normalcy and support the country’s economy. In particular, we will create a physical and virtual market place for the vendors providing the needed digital support to uplift the SMEs who are the backbone of our economy. We will merge the SMB Friday programme with the patpat virtual market place, allowing the vendors to reach and meet their potential buyers. Additionally the CDB SMB Friday programme will be extended to other regions of Sri Lanka to support business communities to reach
a wider audience.
To empower our next generation to be global citizens, we will provide 25 smart classrooms to deserving schools in the ensuing year, and equip them with the needed IT skills, competencies, and IT literacy.