More than two million women in Africa have benefitted from the Coca-Cola Company's 5by20 programme, the company announced recently as part of its International Women's Month celebrations.
5by20 assists women entrepreneurs across the Coca-Cola value chain - agricultural producers, suppliers, distributors, retailers, recyclers, and artisans - overcome challenges when establishing and growing their business. By providing access to business skills, financial services, assets and support networks of peers and mentors, women entrepreneurs are enabled to overcome social and economic barriers and succeed as entrepreneurs, while also helping create sustainable communities.
The Coca-Cola Company executed 5by20, an ambitious global initiative implemented across 33 countries in Africa, where they rolled out locally relevant initiatives.
The Coca-Cola Foundation funded some of the 5by20 initiatives, working with several partners to implement over 300 programmes in 100 countries to provide women entrepreneurs with business skills training, mentoring networks, financial services and other assets to help enhance their businesses and lives as well as provide more for their families.
In 2012, The Coca-Cola Company signed a global agreement with UN Women to enable the economic empowerment of women entrepreneurs in three pilot countries, which included South Africa. At the end of the four-year partnership in South Africa in December 2016, over 25,000 women micro-entrepreneurs had received business skills, leadership training, mentoring and peer networking skills, and access to finance.
In Kenya, a partnership with the Women Enterprise Fund (WEF) established in 2014 and rooted in a shared interest in creating a fair equitable environment to help women overcome barriers and build sustainable businesses, aimed to empower 1 million women through entrepreneurship training and access to capital investment. At the end of 2020, nearly 800,000 Kenyan women were empowered through the initiative.
In Nigeria, in partnership with the UK Department for International Development Girls Education, we launched the Educating Nigerian Girls in Nigeria Enterprise (ENGINE) value program, which aimed to strengthen the educational and economic opportunities of the Nigerian girl-child. Nearly 13,000 young girls and women benefitted from this programme.
"This International Women's Day, we celebrate surpassing our goal to reach 5 million women, but we know that there is still work to be done," said Patricia Obozuwa, Vice-President: Public Affairs, Communication, and Sustainability Coca-Cola Africa. "Women entrepreneurs continue to face major hurdles hindering their successes, and we acknowledge that our work must therefore continue, particularly given the significant socio-economic disruption created by the pandemic in so many communities around the world."
"By investing in women's economic empowerment over the past decade, we have created shared value in hopes of a better shared future - enabling improved livelihoods for women, their families and their communities, while inclusively expanding our business," said Obozuwa. "We are proud about the ripple effects that these programs have had on the on the millions of lives we have touched and will continue to have over the years to come."
"Our efforts will focus on supporting community resilience and as the impact of our continuing efforts multiplies with each passing year, we expect to reach many more women and underprivileged populations around the world."
Source: Namibia Economist