Jaffna, 22 August June 2019: Ms. Jamunadevi Ponnampalam, the Secretary to the Pungudutivu Food Manufacturers Society and the President of the Jaffna Palmyrah Handicrafts Guarantee Ltd was awarded the ‘Sri Lanka Thilaka’ award at the recent National Honors 2019.
Amongst 70 personalities, Ms. Jamunadevi was awarded for her work in the Northern Province by H.E the President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, Maithripala Sirisena, in Colombo.
Both the Pungudutivu Food Manufacturers Society and the Jaffna Palmyrah Handicrafts Guarantee Ltd are two entities that have been supported by UNDP with assistance from the Government of Canada.
The Pungudutivu Food Manufacturers (PFM) was established in 2007 by Ms. Jamunadevi and a few others to provide skills development and employment opportunities specially for young women in a post war context by utilizing local resources, such as palmyrah root and medicinal herbs growing in the area.
In 2018, under the Government of Canada funded Agro Economic Development Project (ADP), UNDP supported PFM to improve income through production processing of rice flour, chillie powder and other value-added agro based products. Today, PFM provides employment to 15 conflict affected women and have increased their sales drastically since inception.
The Jaffna Palmyrah Handicrafts Guarantee Ltd is another entity supported by UNDP in 2012 under the Rebuilding Agri Livelihood Project (RALP). With rising sales covering a diverse range of palmyrah based handicrafts sold both locally and internationally, as of 2019 they provide employment to 25 other women.
From what started as two small producer groups, today they have both significantly grown providing livelihood opportunities to many women in the area. From the inception, Ms. Jamunadevi has always been inspired to do more. In recognizing her efforts, she was recently felicitated at the ‘National Honors 2019’ which is an annual event held to honor personalities who have rendered outstanding and invaluable services to the community.