K.D.N. Weerasinghe

Ashoka Fellow
Matara, Sri Lanka
Fellow Since 2010

Citation

This profile was prepared when K.D.N. Weerasinghe was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2010.
The New Idea
Weera is revitalizing the stagnant cinnamon industry in Sri Lanka by actively spearheading a global campaign to reposition the country as the premium producer of the finest cinnamon. Weera has worked tirelessly since 1986 to improve the status of the cinnamon industry and its workers. Recently, he developed technology that has proven to increase production of better quality cinnamon. Weera’s interventions comprehensively and holistically address the problems of small stakeholders by improving the image, productivity, and profitability of the industry.

Weera founded a unique incubator company, located within Ruhuna University, and helps graduates use the technology and technical expertise free of charge so that they may pursue their own socially responsible business ventures.

Weera’s technology has mechanized the cinnamon peeling process and increased the productivity, safety, and efficiency of workers. However, his innovations are much more than technical; they also address socioeconomic issues such as caste prejudices, unemployment, as well as gender and disability rights.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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