Coke’s Global Project for Women

»» IT’S AFRICA’S TIME is passionate about the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and we like to report on stories that show progress across Africa. In this story, we check out MDG 3 which focuses on the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.

We travel to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to meet some of the amazing women who have become role models in their communities, enabled by one of the biggest brands on the planet, in partnership with local stakeholders.

Our entry point is Coca-Cola Company’s 5by20 Project, an extraordinary global initiative focused on developing effective entrepreneurship and growing small businesses amongst 5 million women by 2020. We travelled to Nigeria in Season 1 to explore the project and now, in Season 2, find a very different context to see how it is progressing.

We meet Korach, a former pavement trader in Addis, who now owns her own store and whose income has improved dramatically since being trained in business and life skills by a 5by20 local implementing partner. We also meet Tiruwork, who for years has worked tirelessly with her fellow sanitary workers keeping the capital’s streets clean. Now, with new skills and confidence gained though the programme, she and a group of almost 1000 women have partnered with the local government and a recycling company in a pilot programme that sees them separating waste and earning each time they deliver recyclable plastic to the local business partner. They also make jewellery and decorative items to sell. These former garbage collectors have expanded their skills and have increased their income while contributing to the city’s environmental improvement goals. The plan is to have 4000 sanitary workers in the programme via 5by20 in the years to come.