Policy and the Strategy of Social Responsibility of the Madulkelle Tea and Eco-lodge

1. Introduction

This paper explains the key elements of Social Responsibility (SR)of Madulkelle Tea and Eco-lodge, and the ways and means of fulfilling those responsibilities. The project operationally defined Social responsibility as “Sharing and Caring of social relationships that the hotel project has for its different stakeholders to ensure the social wellbeing of their relationships with the hotel project”. Under this definition the project has three major stakeholders, namely:

The guests/tourists

The members of the hotel

Surrounding communities

The overall objective of this strategy of social responsibility is to operate the project with compassion and humanity beyond its business goals. Under this overall objective, the project follows the key principles of it social reasonability:

Mutual understanding and respect towards the social and cultural diversities in the each group

Sharing social and cultural resources possessed by the each group for mutual benefits

Assisting in the preservation, management and enhancement of local socio-cultural resources for community development

The next section will explain the key responsibilities that the hotel holds for each stakeholder group and the ways and means of fulfilling them.

2. The social obligations and the ways of fulfilling them

As explained above, the project considers three primary stakeholder groups to fulfill its obligations. Of those groups, the social responsibilities the hotel project holds for each group and the means of fulfilling them are as follows:

The Guests

The hotel is ready to fulfill their social needs, first and foremost by our heartiest welcome and genuine service. Being sincere to the guest and treat him/her wholeheartedly is the prime principle which is followed by each and every staff member of the hotel. Accepting and respecting all types of diversities among our guests is our policy. The staff has been well trained in this regard to assure the guests.

The staff has also been trained on the different ways of preventing any accidents and to always protect the guests against accidents in case they happen, and also on first-aid to manage such unexpected incidents.

Healthy meal preparation is a prime focus in using old “Ayurvedic” recipies and methods and have been given due recognition in our kitchen. We do our best to serve the guests as much as possible organic grown fruits and green veggies, which are directly harvested from the garden, which is maintained and developed by our own staff members.

Guests are always invited to take part in the Community Tourism Programs conducted by the hotel as a special program. It aims to promote and share cultural resources between local community members and the guests reaching for mutual understanding and social wellbeing. It will also be an opportunity for the guests to be partners of our social responsibility activities, because a 10% of the profits of the Community Tourism Program goes to a common fund, which is benefits the Child Empowerment and the Environmental Conservation Projects of the Hotel.

The guests are also invited to participate actively in our community and child development activities, which has special emphasis on the wellbeing of the children in the neighboring communities. The guests could express their interest through the hotel web-site on conducting educational programs for the children to develop their life skills and capacities. For example guests can conduct lessons/workshops on Arts, Handicrafts, Music, Child Psychology Enhancement Program, sports, leadership and personality awareness/development activities, and many more which the guests are capable of.

The staff

The staff of the hotel are treated as a family rather than employees. Their social needs are well taken care of by the management, while ensuring their security in employment and opportunities to climb up the career ladder. In other words, they are guided towards a successful hotel career, not for just a job.

We have adopted Human Resource Policies, which deals fairly for all different types of social groups. We recruit people for hotel vacancies based on their skills, attitudes, knowledge and aspirations towards the career, regardless of their gender, colour, creed, cast, ethnicity, religion and so on. During their employment period, all the entitlements, rewards, privileges are shared equally amongst the staff without considering the above mentioned social divisions that they belong to.

They are given secured and comfortable residential facilities, life insurance, and service charge in addition to the basic salary.

A welfare society and a fund is established to help them and their families in important family/social events.

Their birthdays are celebrated in the hotel, and leisure activities are organized for them during main social and cultural events of the country.

The Staff is also trained in various areas of life-skills so as to enhance their capacity for a better living standard. For example, the whole staff has been educated on Children’s-Rights, Gender and Social Diversities, Conflict Management, and First- Aid, which are very important for the overall day-to-day life in society. Life-skill development training will be extended to many areas based on the needs identified by the staff members and the management.

The staff will also been given a thorough Awareness and Training on the Social Responsibility of the Hotel project and this Policy for it. Their commitment towards it is included in their service contract, and they are appropriately rewarded for the best performances shown in social responsibility.

3. The neighboring community

The community living around the hotel consists mainly of tea estate workers, and they are Indian Originated Tamils, who were brought to Sri Lanka for plantation work during the British Colonial era. They live in “Line Houses” (10’x10’ houses adjoining to each other as a line of houses). Economic and human poverty rates high among them when compared to the other sectors of the region. Therefore, the hotel bears up its responsibility towards assisting them for better social and economic wellbeing. For that the following strategies are followed:

Providing employment opportunities in the hotel for young men and women in the community through the hotel project. Absorbing men and women who already have a capacity for the different levels of vacancies, and training more of educated and unemployed youth for the hospitality industry, either to be absorbed into the hotel if there are vacancies or elsewhere.

Empowering children through education, training and exposure on conflict management, child rights, personality and leadership development, environmental sanitation, home gardening, personal cleanliness- hygiene and health, resource and capital creation by themselves.

Developing the capacity of the children in collectively benefiting mutual actions, through the development of their organization, named “Madulkelle Children’s Club”. Children will be work together for raising the necessary funds for their “Library, Computer Learning, and the Recreation Center”. The hotel will assist the fund raising by connecting them with professional artists to do paintings and handicrafts. They will also be given a space within the hotel to display and sell their products.

The adults and children are supported in the prevention of child abuse which is done by educating adults and children on child rights and connecting them with the legal institutions which provide facilities against child abuse and violations of their rights. The community will be supported in forming a committee to protect children against abuse and develop their capacity in the committee to function effectively. In addition to these medium and long term community projects, the hotel will support the community in special instances, such as in natural disasters. It will also take part in the community’s cultural events, to enhance the harmony between either parties.

3. The Functional Model of the SR policy/strategy

In this strategy, the hotel management is socially responsible for all three stakeholders; the guests, staff and the community. The hotel staff has duties related to the social responsibility towards the guests and the community as explained above. The guests are encouraged to move with the community through Community Tourism Program, but it is purely their own personal decision. As a whole, the implementation of the SR strategy successfully and effectively relies centrally on the hotel management.

The management should monitor the success/weakness of the activities under the strategy in appropriate time intervals, preferable in every month. The management should appoint a capable staff member to handle and coordinate the programs under the strategy, and s/he should provide a reliable report in every month to the management. According to the findings of the report the needed adjustments should be done. Therefore, this initial strategy can be changed based on the situations/developments arise. However, those changes should be added in writing to the strategy paper with the consents between/among relevant stakeholder groups affected by the new development.

4. Financial policy/ strategy

The following ways are adopted to collect funds for the community development and environmental conservation activities:

The hotel will contribute 1USD from each of its booking.

Fund raising campaign through the selling of “Season’s Greeting Cards” each year. Through gifts/donations by guests

A 10% of the profit from the “Community Tourism Program”

The “Community Development Fund” will be managed by the hotel in a separate account. The decisions regarding funds are collectively taken by the Hotel Management (the Managing Director and the Environmentalist) and the leaders of the Children’s club.

The Staff Welfare Fund will be separately developed and maintained by the Welfare committee, and they will have their own agreed ways of raising funds for it. Some ways for it could be: contribution a agreed percentage of service charge, maintaining a nursery of herbs and plants for selling to local guests, selling of recyclable garbage accumulated in the hotel kitchen etc.