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Coca-Cola Is Investing in Women

As part of the brand’s efforts to empower Liberian women, the Liberia Coca-Cola Bottling Company (LCCBC) is launching a new initiative called the Next Level & 5BY20 campaign. The project is a collaborative effort between the LCCBC and UN Women Organization.

Initially, 5BY20 stood as Coca-Cola’s campaign for the economic empowerment of five million women entrepreneurs by 2020. The global initiative knocks down the obstacles that many female entrepreneurs have to tackle in order to build a successful business. By providing these women educational resources such as business and management courses and mentorship programs, 5BY20 allows them to foster and breed business-savvy skills, financial independence, and ultimately healthy entrepreneurships.

The Next Level & 5BY20 program was officially launched early June with an induction ceremony. Members of both Coca-Cola and UN Women were in attendance. At the launch, LCCBC HR Manager Aminata Kamara said her company wants to provide economic freedom and security for beberian women, especially marketers. According to Kamara, empowered women result in an empowered and stabilized economy and society.

The HR Manager is hopeful that 5BY20 will help Liberian women achieve self-sustaining livelihoods and economic independence. Since 5BY20’s conception in 2010, more than 1,700 women have built successful and self-reliant entrepreneurial livelihoods as a result of the initiative, including some female ebola survivors.

Now, Kamara’s decision to collaborate with UN Women is extending the campaign’s efforts across the country. UN Women’s Program Manager for Women Economic Empowerment, Raman Garway, reported that so far the Next Level program has successfully reached more than 15,000 female entrepreneurs from over 110 Liberian communities. According to Garway, programs such as Next Level & 5BY20 arms its participants with the skills and know-how needed to successfully infiltrate the global economics sphere, the ultimate source of income for female entrepreneurs belonging to the informal sector.

“Given that this joint venture aims to address the skills gap among female entrepreneurs, UN women will use this platform to get its message across demonstrating the power of collaboration in addressing women’s economic empowerment in a sustainable manner,” explained Garway in an interview with AllAfrica. “With the Next Level & 5BY20 partnership, we expect women participating in these programs will have greater ability to establish and grow their business, increase their earnings and create new jobs in their communities. Their success will set an example for other women and create virtuous cycle of re-investment in their families and communities.”

Guest speaker at the Next Level & 5BY20 induction Yvonne Bright-Hardings found the collaboration between the two organizations an integral step toward greater female empowerment in Liberia. Bright-Hardings stated that the fostering of economically independent and self-sustaining women results in a future citizenry of well-educated children, as research shows that women are more inclined than men to invest in the upbringing and education of children.  

Featured Image by Adrian Scottow on Flickr

Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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