Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Hmmmm..its time to write a blog perhaps just to pass the time. Also wise-use of the time I am spending inside airplane. I am at Kolkata airport Bangladesh, actually not even inside airport but sitting inside the plan for last 2 hours. I am not supposed to be here by now and should be having my lunch with my friend in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Wow….I started my journey today morning at 5am from Colombo after saying good bye to my family and wanted to reach Dhaka after 2hrs and 5o minutes. Got into Mihin Lanka and it is my first time experience with our own airline (other than Sri Lankan airline we have).  Exactly after 2 hrs and 40 minutes the pilot announced that due to the poor visibility at Dhaka we were diverting to Kolkata, India. So…still waiting and not sure whether the situation will get improved or not????

The best part of this journey is I am going to address a youth conference on Climate Change, organized by BGreen Movement( and  our partner organization in Bangladesh. Isn’t it interesting??? Going to address a climate change conference and stuck at a different airport due to unexpected weather condition!!!!

This is end of year 2014 and if I manage to attend the conference I will be back to Sri Lanka by next year. (5th January 2015). I feel bad about not writing a blog for last 9  months. I blame on Face book. Since ECO-V become very active in face book I became lazy in writing long articles on our activities. Too bad!!! I know it’s not the excuse to stop writing blogs as it’s our duty to keep updated about our friends who are not friends on face book. So since I am stuck at airport and not knowing what will happen next, I thought this is the best time to look back to history…actually history of last 10 months.

ECO-V has been moving into conscious consumerism field more faster than we thought. It was just as I got initial training from Consumer Association in Penang, Malaysia in 2013 and became the president of Consumer Voice of Sri Lanka; the group was started by 21 participants from Sri Lanka. As I believe, Nature conservation is depending on consumerism of all resources on this Mother Earth. Unless we consume them with consciousness all the resources will be vanished so fast. So I thought it’s a good way to talk about nature conservation for normal consumer. That approach was a great success! I was invited to many platforms to deliver presentations and some of these platforms were not even in Nature conservation field. Such as Health Ministry of Sri Lanka and MAS holdings. So I ended up reaching  both goals of passing knowledge on Nature conservation and conscious consumerism! The second batch of Sri Lankans (another 20)got the same training from Penang and I accompanied them to Malaysia in September thanks to CAP Malaysia and Sevalanka Foundation Sri Lanka. So far we have done more than 50 awareness sessions on conscious consumerism towards environmental sustainability. We already passed these information to some school students too. 
Prefects of Royal College reading lables of food products

MAS holdings training session on consciouse consumerism

ECO-V involvement in Good Market with our innovative programme “Nature Kids” was very successful throughout the year 2014. Thanks to KSMA Award from Conservation leadership Programme we won, we conducted more than 40 programmes on every Thursdays and 5 holiday programmes. The other innovative programme for year 2014 was “Nature Friendly Birth day parties for Kids” We conducted 5 b’day parties on invitation. Its all about Nature conservation through conscious consumerism. One successful story about nature friendly B’day party was, one 10 year old girl who had her nature friendly B’day party was so inspired about it. When it was the time to make a presentation for Trinity college of speech and Drama Exam her presentation was all about her B’day party which was her real experience. The examiner who had come from London was so surprised to hear her (obviously she must had extraordinary presentation skills) got 100 out of 100marks and it was first time in history for her supervisor in Sri Lanka.
Tiara and her presentation about Nature Friendly B'day
during Nature kid programme

a kid holdng a milipede during a kids programme

Conducting few sessions for MAS Holdings - one of the main clothing factory in Sri Lanka was another achievement of ECO-V. We conducted 2 holiday programmes for kids of staff members and 2 day programmes on conscious consumerism with exhibitions were well received by staff members. Also I helped with initiating butterfly gardens at 5 factories they have.

Winning a small grant from US Embassy was helpful for us to establish and run a Nature center at Wariyapola which started in October 2014. It’s in the process still and too early to tell you whether its successful or not.
youth getting training about eco gradening

Establishing our Eco Garden at the ECO-V office was very satisfactory as it is a practical demonstration for home garden, Butterfly and Bee garden and Biodiversity garden. Since I spent lot of my personal time on it I am very happy as it is a learning experience for me. Now we have been using it as a living laboratory for teaching about connecting with Nature! We had 6 training programme since March. 15 university students, 8 village youths, 16 kids, 3 families  and 5 farmers have visited us at our Eco Garden to learning and get experience. In March we had recorded only 6 species of butterflies from the garden and by end of November our checklist was 59 species. We are in the progress of making wild plants and other insect checklists. This is a great example of understanding a little space given to Mother Nature will give back million dollars value of happiness and satisfaction in additions to fruits, vegetables, flowers  and herbs we are sharing in our neighborhood. With this experience I personally got involved in advising for establishing Butterfly Garden of Biodiversity park that the government that is establishing in our capital city, Sri Jayawardanepura-Kotte. It’s a voluntary involvement for myself where about 15 university students are preparing it.
products of Eco Garden

Our partnership  with united Nations Volunteers (UNV Sri Lanka) in their bike tour to celebrate the International volunteer day was very successful where 2 youth from Kelani Nadee yathra and Paapedi 2013 rode with them for 15 days. This was the programme we did instead of the International journey we were planning to be held at the beginning of 2015 with the help of Journeys for climate justice ( We are happy about the decision we made not to have it next year due to changing political situation in the country so we are waiting till everything gets cool down again.
ECO-V logo as a partner of UNV cycle tour

We have planned a youth camp for early next year and hope again we can do something innovative, fun and productive with more learning. If you are willing to support that Village Earth USA is supporting us to raise fund via Global Giving so you also can contribute something even very small where that will help us to achieve our target (

Oh…well they are announcing about our departure to Dhaka now…wow…after 3 hrs of our landing here in kolkata. Well I will post this when I get internet in Dhaka. It was a great experience after all sitting in a economy class at Mihin Lanka air plane without aches and pains but memorizing what we did in year 2014 while going through thousands of photographs in my computer! Thank you for those 3 hours! Hi again….now I am safely with my friend Fadia of Bgreen who is very busy with BGreen conference that our partner organization JCJ is also a sponsor. I am here as co-founder and vice chairman of JCJ to see how we can be widen our networks for future work. Thanks for CLP alumni programme who sponsored my travel to Bangladesh. All are helping us to make a difference in this Mother Earth. Thank you all for believing ECO-V and hope to see be with you in 2015 too. I wish you very best for year 2015! 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Conscious consumerism for sustainable future!

New initiatives, busy lives….1/4 of the year is gone…planning work and conducting them is easier than making reports and writing blogs J But how can I forget all our supporters who would love to read this blog and get updated about our activities. So it’s my duty to report you too.

ECO-V did not celebrate it's 13th B’day on the 7th of February the way we usually celebrate in Colombo. I was in Anuradhapura in North central province conducting a 2 day youth training programme for Sevalanka Foundation. It was very much of fun to work with the youngsters who are learning more about organic farming. My duty was to make them understanding about what Mother earth is and how we can make our contributions to make her happy as Green Leaders.
Youth during kitchen gardening

Experiencing Nature an activity

End of February was another busy week with the National exhibition “Deyata Kirula”. We were having an educational stall for a week at the exhibition under the National Nutritional Secretariat of Presidential Secretariat of Sri Lanka. We did not talk about Nature Conservation directly but it was all about “Conscious Consumerism”. Since we started “Consumer Voice of Sri Lanka” group as a result of the International Training from Consumer Association of Penang, Malaysia last year, we have been working on consumer issues too. I have been delivering more presentations at different audiences on Food safety issues with the support from National Nutritional Secretariat of Sri Lanka for last few months. Therefore, we were invited to deliver the same message at Deyata Kirula exhibition too. It was very positively taken by many visitors and all the volunteers at the stall lost their voices at the end of the exhibition due to too much of talking. E numbers or artificial food additive was the most popular topic at stall other than BPA, and sugar levels of food and drinks.

Volunteers talking to visitors about food additives 

Toshani explaining to kid and her family

Kanchana, Sandya and Toshani at stall

Newly trained volunteer Sandya explaining

I am invited to more Radio programmes on this issue as I am working more on Natural and Organic food for sustainable development. So there are more people calling and asking for more information and for more awareness presentations at local level which is encouraging but finding time and covering cost is the most challenging issue for a voluntary organistaion like us L. Well…..anyway ECO-V mission is to create more awareness to have a behavioral change among people to make them more environmental friendly citizens. So we are on our way…..

Good Market Saturday is also started now. We have a full time stall at Thursday Good Market but not on Saturday. But we initiated a new programme called "Nature Youth" at Saturday Market to train more youth as Green leaders and make them more aware on organic products and sustainable life style along with personal development towards a Green leadership. The opening of Saturday Good market was done by Mrs. Anoma Rajapaksha (wife of Mr. Gotabhaya Rajapaksha teh defence Secretary of Sri Lanka who really admires sustainability). We had a media Briefing on Good Market objectives and I was invited to take part to talk about "Nature Youth" Initiative too. 
Mrs. Anoma Rajapaksha (in blue) at Good Market

Mrs Rajapaksha talking to vendor, Achala and Kanchana watching

Kanchana at Press briefing 
I went to Phnom Penh, Cambodia to participate in a alumni seminar on Climate Change adaptation and mitigation. This was organised my Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute where I got my initial training on Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation in year 2011. It was very nice to meet peers in the field who are doing very important work in their regions. 
Kanchana addressing the forum 

Alumni group from SMHI in Cambodia

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Thank you 2013.....we had a great year! with new initiatives and successful results!

We had a great successful year in 2013. Paapedi 2013 the bicycle journey for Climate Justice was a very successful campaign we had for Climate Change mitigation and adaptation work. Also we got involved with Good Market ( and started “Nature Kids” a very unique programme for kids to get connected with Mother Nature. 

Nature Talk before Nature Walk

During Nature walk

Some Nature kids with animal flags
 Also we started two educational stalls at Good Market under the kind sponsorship of Dilmah Conservation. One on Eco Education and the other on Conscious Consumerism.

Eco Stall 

Eco Stall and Consumer Voice Stall

Reading about food and health on consumer voice stall
Sugary drinks and conscious consumerism 
I personally completed two important training programmes. One on Consumerism (Consumer Association of Penang, Malaysia) and the other on Climate change leadership with former Vice president of USA Mr. Al Gore “Climate Change corps” in Istanbul, Turkey. Both programmes were very helpful for me to get more confidence and also loads of information was passed down to various working groups of ECO-V. I also attended a conference in Malaysia on “Interfaith Dialog for Peace and Sustainability” with the kind invitation from Seva Lanka (a NGO for social development work in Sri Lanka) as a Climate Change and sustainable living campaigner. It was great opportunity to participate at People's Forum of The 23rd Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Colombo.  Also I was invited to be at prince Charle's B'day party held in Colombo during his CHOGM visit to Sri Lanka.  

In Istanbul

People's Forum, CHOGM 2013
We had many international volunteers who visited and helped us in our activities. ECO-V won a grant from Kate Stork memorial Awards, UK for our “Nature Kids” programme and it’s the second award from them we won. Thank you for KSMA Awards! We were able to continue our great work with kids at Good Market because of you. Then Nature Kids won the “Environmental Impact Award” of the annual award ceremony of Good Market! This is what we call ripple effect for positive change!! One start leads for something else…
Kanchana and Uvasara with Impact award at Good Market

Having our own training center is the long term plan for ECO-V and we have been working towards it always. Dhanushka from Udawalwa is One of our youth leaders we trained for last 5 years under various programmes (starting from friends of Pelicans, then KSMA youth trainee, kelani nade yathre and Paapedi 2013 yathree). After kelani Nadee yathra he decided to start a farm in his own land as a post journey project. We were thrilled and guided him to start a permaculture farm which we can develop as a training center eventually. The year 2013 was a successful year for him as he able to build a natural building, a toilet and basic accommodation facilities. Thanks to Journeys For Climate Justice in Melbourne who is our partner organization for both journeys we had who sent us International volunteers to work with his team and him were able to get exposure to more wider world. 
Dhanushka and team making compost

Dhanushka's team

Also I started a small permaculture plot very close to our office and trying to develop it as an educational center and make it more sustainable for ECO-V future work. Also we started selling extra vegetables (after sharing the harvest with neighbors and friends) at Good Market and willing to join with them under participatory Guarantee System (3rd party organic certification).
Eco Garden of ECO-V

Harvest of Eco Garden
We started a very special programme for students at School for Deaf. It’s called talking through Nature which is still in progress. We managed to create a butterfly garden with all native plants and our volunteers did more shramadana work (sharing work) with these differently able children at school. I still remember their exited faces when they saw the first ever caterpillar reported on a herb that they planted.  
Volunteers involved in painting walls of Butterfly Garden area

Students and volunteers working together

We continue to teach about nature for them using this space. Our face book page ( exceeded 2000 members which is very helpful to spread the messages of our work among volunteers and also helped us to raise funds for our work.

So thank you very much for all of you who were with us in 2013 and we very much hope that you will continue to stay with us in year 2014 in this journey.