Plantation Human Development Trust turns 30 | Sunday Observer

Plantation Human Development Trust turns 30

18 September, 2022
For the past 30 years the PHDT has been an iconic facilitation agency
For the past 30 years the PHDT has been an iconic facilitation agency

Plantation Human Development Trust (PHDT) is a tripartite organisation that was set up and incorporated on September 18, 1992 to facilitate improving the lifestyles of the plantation community through social welfare programs.

The three parties are the Government, Regional Plantation Companies and some of the major trade unions in the plantation sector. The Government is represented by the Ministries of Plantations, Finance, Health and State Ministry for Estate Housing and Community Empowerment. The PHDT as the main service provider to the plantation worker community has also expanded its services through various specialised sectors to improve and deliver these services in a more professional manner.   

The PHDT vision was to be the leading human development organisation trusted for excellence, providing sustainable development programs to continuously improve the quality of life in the plantations. Believing that the employees are their most valuable asset making an effort to develop the ability and productivity at all levels they are always endeavouring to conduct their activities responsibly and ethically sustainable development by adoption of best practices and processes that ensures long-term economic, social and environmental sustainability.

Facilitation agency

For the past 30 years the PHDT has been an iconic facilitation agency and has a reputation for strength, stability, integrity and resilience. The PHDT serves the most underprivileged sector of the country, the plantation community by maintaining the highest standards of governance and transparency, innovating with the latest digital technologies and investing in sustainable programs and projects.

Over the past 30 years their commitment to implement hardware and software programs maintaining its sustainability despite many challenges and obstacles to ensure the uplift of the plantation community they continued steadfastly to maintain the trust the workers placed on them even during the past two years with the Covid19 pandemic.

The PHDT has performed strategically and systematically to expand their operations having streamlined and implementing an array of effective projects catering to the need and requirements of the plantation community by way of providing the Estate work force with greater opportunities and adequate tools to assiduously build their dreams.

The PHDT always kept in mind the plantation community continued a series of successful projects during these 30 years. The PHDT through the years identified and provided the needs of the plantation community.

The PHDT has been recognised for its Financial Transparency, Accountability, Good Governance and for Best Accounting  Practices by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka and South Asian Federation of Accounts.

The PHDT has a talented team who are unique and differs from any other capital within the organisation who plays a more complicated role in providing and serving the plantation community. They provide a wide services to the plantation worker community with improvements to Housing and  Infrastructure, Water and  Sanitation, Health and  Child care, Social Mobilisation and  Community Development.

The PHDT   as the main service provider to the plantation worker community has also expanded its services through various other specialised sectors to improve and deliver these services in a more professional manner.

Health programs

The PHDT in their project activities mainly focusing on improvements to the infrastructure facilities of the working community. Since the formation of PHDT it catered to the workers and their families through many health programs, to prevent diseases, promote health  and healthy lifestyle.

Some of the programs are: maternal care, child development, child protection early child care and development activities, health education, nutrition awareness and cooking demonstrations, women empowerment, training programs for estate health staff, activity specific  awareness for the estate managers some of their major activities organised and carried out by their health division to uplift contribution to the productivity and sustainability of the industry.

The Regional Plantation Companies are providing unstinted support to estate workers housing co-operative societies in terms of capacity building, and mobilisation of resources. In addition to providing loans for various other projects. Water supply and sanitation project (WASSIP) is the latest project funded by the World Bank.

This project focused on the plantation sector in many estates. So far under this WASSIP has spent over Rs. 835 million to provide safe drinking water to nearly 5,000 households and approximately 250,000 beneficiaries.

Their ECD project funded by the World Bank, implemented under the Ministry of Women and  Child Affairs and Social Empowerment initiated in 2016 with a total investment of US$ 10 million. Under this scheme the children were provided security in modest Child Development Centres under the guidance of a Child Development Officer. These Centres were provided a play area with furniture and play equipment spending nearly US$ 8.29 million for the children for their recreational activities.

Community kitchens

The PHDT has reached the second half of the third round of immunisation against Covid 19 covering nearly 97% of the estate community. Through the PHDT regional staff they have organised vaccination awareness programs to educate the plantation community.

To overcome malnutrition in the plantation sector with collaboration of Palm Foundation they launched 10 community kitchens.    

Several other measures are underway to further improve and strengthen the EWHCS units in the country including automation of their financial records for greater discipline and accountability. The EWHCS has emerged as a leading community based organisation in the country and many units are located at RPCS Estates.

We believe, it is a commendable achievement for an organisation to reach its 30th anniversary in its journey as a trailblazer in the plantation Industry and a dedicated corporate citizen, the PHDT commemorates this day with humility their journey has always been a  challenging, yet inspiring one today, the PHDT is strongly positioned, financially and in terms of expertise, experience and other resources, to fuel economic development.

The Plantations Human Development Trust (PHDT) has understood the dire need and had obtained the approval of the Planters Association and the Ministry of   Industries to initiate discussions with the Social Security Board of Sri Lanka to launch the plantation employees voluntary pension scheme needs wider support and recognition by all who are interested in the survival and the sustainable growth of this important forex earner. May the PHDT sustain its services to the Planters with greater commitment and motivate all Planters to look to professionalism in serving the plantation sector and country.

Let us look to the future with the inspiring strength and vigour of the past and rise to fulfill the workers’ needs.

We congratulate the Director General  Lal Perera, his efficient assistant, the staff and also all those who contributed  during the past 30 years  for their achievements working towards the betterment of the plantation sector and its community.

The writer is the Secretary General, Ceylon Planters’ Society