Category Archives: Women’s Issues

Celebrating International Women’s Day with Coca-Cola’s 5by20 Initiative

Celebrating International Women’s Day with Coca-Cola’s 5by20 Initiative

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In honor of International Women’s Day I received a box of beautiful handmade products from Coca-Cola’s 5by20 program to introduce me to a few of their artisans. As always, all thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my own. A notecard in the box read:

“Hello, by opening this gift, you’re opening a world of possibility for women across the world.”

 

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These are a few of the gorgeous handmade items from the 5by20 collection

March 8th is International Women’s Day, and I’m happy to celebrate by supporting Coca-Cola’s 5by20 initiative to empower 5 million women entrepreneurs around the world by 2020.  #5by20 provides access to skills training, financial resources, and mentorship to women worldwide to help them rise out of poverty. Having witnessed first hand the type of impact that programs like 5by20 can have on a community I am excited to share what Coca-Cola is doing to help improve the lives of millions of women around the world. When you invest in women, through education and economic empowerment, the entire community benefits. Studies show that women reinvest 90% of their income back into their home, towards food, education for their children, and healthcare for their families.

We each have purchasing power as consumers, and as a woman, I love to support companies that exhibit corporate social responsibility and to buy from female artisans where I know that my purchase actually makes a positive impact in someone else’s life.  I love that the 5by20 program focuses significantly on female artisans as I have seen the positive impact similar programs in South Africa, Ethiopia, and most recently Haiti have had on the women and their families. The women I met all took great pride in their handcrafted products, and in being given a “hand-up” in the opportunity to develop their business in a sustainable way, rather than a one-time handout of charity. The beautiful handmade product samples that I received from the 5by20 artisans came from the countries of Brazil, Turkey, Kenya, Mexico, and the Philippines. Coca-Cola’s 5by20 program began in 2010 and has already reached 1.2 million women across 60 countries.

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Jocelyn Pacrin, pictured above, is a mother of four, just like me. She is also supporting her children on her own while living in a squatter’s area of Manila in the Philippines. Despite facing challenges after leaving an abusive husband Jocelyn is optimistic for her family’s future. Due to the training that she received from a Coca-Cola 5by20 local partner organization, the Philippine Community Fund, she is able to build a better future for herself and her children. Jocelyn was taught how to make jewelry, handbags, and other accessories using recycled beverage packaging. The women involved in the program work together, providing a built in network and inspiring support group for each other. The income that Jocelyn now earns will help her to provide education for her children and improve their living situation as her business grows.  Mother’s around the world share the common desire to provide for their children and to see them thrive. The 5by20 initiative addresses the most common barriers that women face when entering the marketplace. By giving women like Jocelyn access to training courses, financial services and mentorship Coca-Cola’s 5by20 helps them gain the tools they need to succeed. The ripple effect of their success allows mothers to provide their children with the proper nutrition and education that they need to get ahead in life as well. 

I received a PCF Narrow Ring-Pull bracelet made from recycled aluminum can pull tabs from the Philippines like the ones that Jocelyn now produces.

I received a PCF Narrow Ring-Pull bracelet made from recycled aluminum can pull tabs from the Philippines like the ones that Jocelyn now produces.

 

Coca-Cola is one of the most widely recognized brands in the world with sales in over 200 countries. It is a brand name that people even in the most remote communities of the globe are familiar with, and trust. Coca-Cola is leveraging that global reach and taking corporate social responsibility to make the world a better place by establishing clean water initiatives, aiding with health care supply chain and distribution partnerships, and economic empowerment initiatives for women around the globe. The 5by20 artisans are repurposing and diverting discarded packaging from landfill sites while improving their lives. By 2020 the ripple effect of 5 million women being impacted by Coca-Cola’s 5by20 initiative will have helped to shape not only their lives, and those of their children, but also the communities in which they live.

Check out the touching video below to meet a few of the artisans as they share their hopes and dreams for the future:

To purchase any of the beautiful handmade items created by 5by20 artisans like the gorgeous Coletivo Piroquet Handbag below made from recycled PET scales in Brazil visit the 5by20 store.

 

Coletivo Piroquet Handbag made in Brazil

Coletivo Piroquet Handbag made in Brazil

Gifts of Hope This Holiday Season

Gifts of Hope This Holiday Season

 

“Everytime that you buy a basket, know that there are about 10 people attached to your purchase.” – Janet Nkubana

My belief that we can create positive change through our purchase choices was further reinforced recently when I saw first hand the impact that “Trade not Aid” programs have on the communities in which they operate.  Many of the gifts that I am giving this holiday season are things that I brought home from my recent trip to Haiti where I could see how much our purchases meant to the artisans supporting their families through their craft.  In interviews with several of the artisans who create pieces for the Macy’s Heart of Haiti program each mentioned the pride in their work, and in being able to provide a sustainable income to support their families. They made it clear that even in tough times, they did not want charity, what they wanted was to continue to earn an income through their art.  Giving gifts that help generate economic empowerment in communities where the need is great is really like giving twice, it becomes a gift that gives back. A gift that gives hope.  In a way my trip to Haiti actually began in Rwanda with Macy’s Rwanda Path to Peace program. Read the rest of this entry

The Lady Project

The Lady Project

Takeaways from the #LadyProjectSummit :

FullSizeRender-11We jumped right in to the inspiration last weekend at the Lady Project Summit as it kicked off with tips on getting to the place where we feel “badass everyday” from Opening Keynote Speaker Ann Shoket.

“You know that feeling, wind in your hair, lights all turning green.”.-Ann Shoket

Shoket encouraged young women to see the world outside their window, and her advice to women was not to imagine that their life now is the way it is always going to be. “You have no idea all of the adventures in store for you”  Shoket, the former editor of Seventeen Magazine, divulged to the crowd of creative professionals.

The day was broken up into keynote speakers, panels and workshops with snack breaks and a delicious lunch from Ellie’s Bakery in downtown Providence in between. On the Media Panel that I attended Julie Zeilinger described why she founded the F-Bomb years ago at the tender age of 16.

“If you live in a place that is inhospitable to your beliefs, you can find a like-minded community on social media.”   – Julie Zeilinger

That quote resonated with me, as I stay connected with my own tribe of like minded women from around the globe that I have met through World Moms Blog and the UN foundation Shot@Life campaign via social media. My take away from the Social Media Panel was the importance for women to create their own opportunities in life.

Creativity is a currency right now – Carley Barton

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Afternoon Keynote Speaker Ruma Bose of the Chobani Foundation shared insights learned from her mentor Mother Theresa.

Greatness isn’t designed by what we do in this world but what we’ve done FOR this world.- Ruma Bose

To figure out what you are really meant to do with your life she suggested mapping out what you want to achieve and then looking for the ‘why’ in it, find the common themes that keep popping up.

I found it energizing to hear from so many young successful creative women about their path, and stumbling blocks along the way. Mentorship came up as a common theme and the need to reach out to those whom you admire, as well as help other women in their endeavors if they reach out to you.  Co-Founder and CEO of The Lady Project Sierra Barter was quoted in an article in Providence Monthly magazine as saying:

“Our vision was an ‘old boys club’ for fabulous women in The Creative Capital to network, connect with other like-minded ladies and to do so over a glass of champagne.”-Sierra Barter

Closing Keynote Speaker Elaine Pouliot, who spent her life shattering glass ceilings, ended our day by encouraging us to take risks and ask for what we want. For the second year in a row I came away from the Lady project Summit feeling empowered, full of possibilities, and part of a sisterhood of inspiring women.

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Join this extraordinary group of women.

International Women’s Day #IWD2016 And The #PovertyIsSexist Report

International Women’s Day #IWD2016 And The #PovertyIsSexist Report

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International Women’s Day 2016

In honor of International Women’s Day today ONE has released the #PovertyIsSexist Report  #PovertyIsSexist because there is no where in the world, not even here in the USA or any of the Scandinavian countries, that women have as many opportunities as men. And if you are female poor, and born in one of the countries worst for women, it is all too often a life sentence of inequality, oppression, and poverty. Sometimes even death.

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This year the world agreed on the new set of Sustainable Development Goals and governments are now putting those goals into action. The #PovertyIsSexist Report outlines 10 things that need to happen in 2016 to empower the women of the world and to work towards the end goal of eliminating global poverty by the year 2030.
Read the full #PovertyIsSexist Report to see why these are listed within as the 10 priority investments that need to be made now:

NUTRITION

Governments must commit historic increases in additional funding at the Nutrition for Growth II summit in Rio, and must adopt policies to strengthen data, improve accountability and build global leadership on nutrition.

GLOBAL FUND

Global Fund contributors must raise at least $13 billion to fight HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria at this year’s replenishment round.

LEGAL EQUALITY

All governments must repeal any laws that discriminate against women; and laws that protect the legal, economic and social rights of girls and women — including the right to decide whether and when to marry — must be passed.

WOMEN’S RIGHTS

African Union member states need to prioritise women’s rights as part of Africa’s Agenda 2063 and in order to deliver on existing AU commitments.78

CONNECTIVITY

Girls and women living in the places that are hardest to reach should be connected to the Internet, and should have the appropriate education, technology, access to finance and job opportunities. Reaching girls and women will help to ensure access for all. ONE will launch a report on connectivity for the poorest later in 2016.

ENERGY ACCESS

Efforts to increase access to safe and reliable energy for everyone must continue to be a priority. Innovative financing to bring in the private sector must be combined with regulatory reforms, and support must be given to programmes such as the African Development Bank (AfDB)’s New Deal on Energy for Africa and the UN’s Sustainable Energy For All Initiative, which are aiming to bring power to the world’s poorest people.

DATA REVOLUTION

Governments, businesses and civil society must open up their own data, guarantee that all data is gender- disaggregated (including for the SDG indicators), invest in open data and support national statistical systems.

GENDER INVESTMENTS

The IDA and the AfDB should be fully funded by governments, and both should deliver increased funding targeted at girls and women in order to catalyse the fight against poverty, including through priority areas such as energy, infrastructure and connectivity. Gender markers, to identify whether funding is gender-sensitive, should be introduced by all development finance institutions and delivery organisations.

TRACKING GENDER PROGRESS

ONE commits to work closely with partners to produce a major new accountability exercise each year leveraging international women’s day (IWD) to assess progress made for women and girls through the SDGs by governments, businesses and civil society.

DIPLOMATIC PRESSURE

Governments should use political and economic means to pressure partners to deliver on equality for girls and women in the fight against extreme poverty.

 What can you do about it today on International Women’s Day? Sign the Letter! Because:
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Join Malala and National Geographic

Join Malala and National Geographic

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National Geographic Channel and 21st Century Fox Stand With Malala and You Can Too! On Monday, February 29th at 8:00 EST The Award Winning Documentary He Named Me Malala will air commercial free on the National Geographic Channel. Each time you tweet #WithMalala during the broadcast $1 will be donated to the Malala Fund.

Malala Yousafzai was only 11 when she began speaking and writing on the importance of education for girls and living under the oppression of the Taliban. At the age of 15 the world watched her amazing recovery after she was shot by the Taliban for speaking out. At 17 she became the youngest Nobel Prize winner in history and has shaped policy on the future of education for the children of the world. At this point she has joined the ranks of international celebrities who are known by just one name, Mandela, Bono, Malala.

My daughters and I have watched in awe as her journey has publicly unfolded, she has become almost mythical to us in her bravery, strength, and accomplishments, and even more endearing in her statements reminding the world that she is at the same time a “normal teenager”. Despite her modesty instead of representing “one of us”, she really represents the best of what any of us could become. The possibility of what each of us could achieve with her same vitality and determination.

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My girls!

We can’t wait to view the award-winning documentary He Named Me Malala this Monday night on the National Geographic Channel. It will be aired commercial free at 8pm Eastern Time. This movie is a must see, and my younger daughter will be hosting a viewing party to share the experience with her friends.

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Our Viewing Party Kit!

Malala’s story resonates with so many across various planes. She illustrates the change that just one person can make in the world. As a young woman she is an amazing role model for our daughters.  Her example of bravery, her willingness to fight for the rights of others, and to overcome struggle with triumph is exemplary. In my mind she clearly exposes how fearful some cultures in the world are of an educated woman.  Just imagine the tip of the global power structure that would occur if girls grew up to be women who were as educated as their male counterparts. Imagine the global progress if those currently left out of the equation were included, and educated, and could fully contribute to society in more meaningful ways. At the moment sixty million girls around the world are out of school. In some cultures education is not permitted for females, while in others girls simply don’t have time for school because they must spend the day collecting clean water for their family.

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Whatever the reason, the world is missing out on the contributions and potential of millions of girls. Malala aims to change that. The Malala Fund was founded with the goal to ensure that every girl has access to 12 years of free, safe, quality primary and secondary education. Knowledge is power, which is exactly what is so frightening about it to some. It is time to empower the girls of the world with education, and you can help! Each time you tweet using the Hashtag #WithMalala during Monday’s broadcast of He Named Me Malala $1 will be donated to the Malala Fund. If Malala can accomplish so much as just one person, imagine what we can do together!

We received the viewing party kit as a blogger for this campaign.