In recognition of its outstanding efforts in girl child development, women empowerment and job creation under its 5by20 programme, the Coca-Cola System in Nigeria has received the ‘Job Creation Champion’ award from the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) at the Fund’s 5th Anniversary Gala and Awards Night which held on Friday, March 4th 2022, in Lagos State.

Chairman, LSETF, Bola Adesola, while conferring the honour on Coca-Cola at the Awards Night on Friday, commended the Coca-Cola System (comprising Coca-Cola Nigeria and Nigerian Bottling Company) for sharing in the goal of the Fund, which led to improving the learning outcomes and economic status of 18,000 marginalized adolescent girls in Nigeria aged 16-19 under its Educating Nigerian Girls in New Enterprise (ENGINE), implemented by Mercy Corps, a global humanitarian agency, in a partnership intervention with UK Department for International Development (DFID).

LSETF is proud to have been part of this journey as well as the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Coca-Cola and Nigerian Bottling Company under its 5 by 20 initiative aimed at empowering over 1,000 women in the State.

The MoU, executed in 2018, was a framework where select women across the state received training in financial literacy and business skills, as well as startup capital to integrate them into the Coca-Cola value chain as retailers of the company’s beverage products.

Managing Director and Vice President, Coca-Cola Nigeria, Alfred Olajide, noted that the 5by20 initiative came about upon empirical studies that revealed overwhelming evidence indicating that achieving gender parity through women empowerment would have broad ripple effects for the good of the society.

He highlighted that though originally conceived for women’s economic inclusion and productivity, the ‘5by20 Initiative’, was an offshoot of Coca-Cola’s ‘Global Women’s Initiative’, created in 2007 to accelerate recruitment, advancement, and retention of women across the organisation’s value chain.

“It later morphed into a 10-year master plan from 2010 – 2020 as the System collaborated with non-governmental organisations (NGOs), governments and businesses across operational locations of the company”, Olajide pointed out.

He harped on the enduring strengths of womanhood and how impactful they can be on mankind. “As pillars of their communities, women invest a sizable portion of the income they earn in the health and education of their children and in their local economies, creating a tremendous economic impact, and the Coca-Cola system remains committed to making a positive change in the communities we call home’’, he added.

He explained that though they had surpassed their target, they had also accepted that the challenges confronting female entrepreneurs across the world were still enormous and solving them would require a collective effort, a task to which they remain committed, in a bid to make the world a better place for all.

In his words, “By investing in women’s economic empowerment over the past decade, we have created shared value in the hope of a better-shared future—enabling improved livelihoods for women, their families and their communities”.

With the conclusion of the 5by20 programme in 2020, more than 6 million women entrepreneurs across 100 countries had been successfully impacted—from fruit farmers, retailers and restaurant owners, to artisans, recyclers and distributors. 34 per cent of this number, representing over 2 million women, benefitted from the programme in Africa, with almost 500,000 constituting Nigerian women.

Coca-Cola and its bottling partner, Nigerian Bottling company will continue to support women-focused initiatives creating shared opportunities for all, contributing to an equal and better world.

Published on Brandfit.