SRI LANKA - Ford Motor Company selected the Fire Prevention in Knuckles Forest Reserve project as the winning entry in its Environmental Conservation and Grants program in Sri Lanka. The project will receive $10,000 to take steps to minimize the damage caused by forest fires in the southern border of the Knuckles Forest Reserve in the central highlands of Sri Lanka.
Fires break out most frequently during the dry season between June and September. The program’s goal is to raise awareness among villagers, build relationships between communities and the Forest Department and provide prevention measures. The hope is that they will be able to both reduce the number of fires and minimize damage from those that do occur.
Ford’s Conservation and Environmental Grants program has become an annual event in select markets within Export & Growth’s (E&G) Asia Pacific region. Since its inception more than 10 years ago, the E&G Asia-Pacific chapter of the grants program has supported multiple organizations with significant fund injections for winning projects.
“This program is one of many initiatives Ford carries out to care for the environment and contribute to a better quality of life,” said David Westerman, Asia Pacific regional manager, Ford Export and Growth. “Environmental conservation, protection and education are an integral part of our business, both in product development and the execution of our community efforts.”
The Sri Lanka program was announced in late 2011. Future Automobiles – Ford’s authorized dealership in Sri Lanka – received 53 applications, including proposals from NGOs, student groups, academics, environmentalists and corporate entities.
The four finalists’ proposals aimed to benefit projects on greener fuel production and usage, the conservation of ecosystems, developing environmental crop areas where wild elephants can habituate and forest fire prevention and minimization. The Fire Prevention in Knuckles Forest Reserve project was selected because of the organization’s thorough knowledge of the issue and capacity to make a significant impact and because the program can be replicated if successful.
The program has received support from various government and private organizations dedicated to environmental protection. The jury panel, comprised of experts in different areas of conservation, selected winners based on:
• usefulness and practicality
• financial need
Westerman noted Ford is continually working to improve the efficiency of its products and processes, using less energy, water and other resources. “As a result of these efforts, our customers get cars with better fuel economy, safety and quality. In addition, by increasing the use of recycled or renewable content in our vehicles whenever possible, Ford is helping reduce waste sent to landfills by millions of pounds.”