Tag Archives: International Women’s Day

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

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


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.


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

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

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

iwdPicMonkey Collage

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.


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:


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


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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:

Global Impact’s Women And Girls Fund On #InternationalWomen’sDay

Global Impact’s Women And Girls Fund On #InternationalWomen’sDay
Woman in Long Ampung, Borneo taken by Elizabeth Atalay

Woman in Long Ampung, Borneo taken by Elizabeth Atalay

I was trying not to stare at her earlobe, but finally I had to ask. Not in English mind you because she spoke the local dialect of her village in Kalimantan. I asked her in that international pantomime us travelers learn to speak. One earlobe hung to her chin weighted with gold rings like most of the women. It was the inverted crescent of the other ear that had caught my attention, where the decorative lobe had been cut off.  She stood and sliced the air with two hands holding an invisible scythe. Bending over she then grasped at the shorn earlobe.  Chuckles came from the other village women with whom I sat on the floor of the longhouse as she did this, and I nodded that I understood.

According to Global Impact, two-thirds of the labor to produce more than half the world’s food is done by women. Meanwhile women control less than 10 percent of the world’s assets. I had seen the women working in the fields, carrying thatched backpacks full of grain back to the village, and then pounding it into fine powder.  The missing earlobe was merely an occupational hazard. In turn she motioned to her belly in a sweeping outward gesture unmistakable as pregnancy, and then clasped her arms to her breast. I shook my head “no” and smiled.  I had no children yet, knowing as their faces flooded with pity that being in my mid twenties this would be shocking to them. Still, despite our cultural differences and our language barriers, I remember being amazed at the feeling of sisterhood I felt as their guest. I was a stranger from a faraway land, but as women we connected and understood each other on some very basic level.

This type of experience would repeat itself for me all round the world, fortifying my sense of global sisterhood as I went. The feeling was bolstered even more so after having my own children, knowing for women the experiences that go along with that are universal.  As is the love we feel for our children, and our hopes and dreams for their futures.  That sisterhood stays with me, as does the knowledge that the population most affected by global poverty is women and girls. Women and girls are integral in overcoming poverty, for a family, a community or a nation.

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This International Women’s Day, Global Impact has launched the Women and Girls Fund which harnesses four of the most respected charities working to help women and girls, CARE, World Vision, Plan International, and the International Center for Research on Women.  These charities work to provide education, health care, protection from violence, protection from sexual exploitation, and job training to women and girls around the world.

We women need to stick together in this world, it is unacceptable that 1 in 9 girls will be forced into marriage before her 15th birthday, or that nearly 300,000 women will die from preventable childbirth related causes.  Girls in the developing world face overwhelming odds from the day they are born.  By educating girls we give them the chance to rise out of poverty, earn a living, and send their own children to school one day.  With proper health care and nutrition we can ensure that they grow to contribute fully to their communities.  Together we can help change the world by simply investing in women and girls. I think about the women I met along my travels who fed me and housed me despite their meager means, and that stranger from a strange land that I was to them, and I want to give back.  I still appreciate the camaraderie we shared so many years and miles away from my here and now, and it calls me to action.

Global Impact’s Women and Girls Fund has the goal of helping women and girls everywhere to live healthy lives, protected, educated, respected, and empowered to reach their full potential. Through this fund you can join millions of people working to help women and girls. All contributions go directly to supporting programs to improve the lives of women and girls around the world.  Please visit www.togetherforwomen.org to learn more about this great opportunity to make a difference.

This post is a part of a sponsored awareness program that seeks to help women and girls everywhere live healthy lives wherein they are protected, respected, educated and empowered to reach their potential. Visit www.togetherforwomen.org.

global teamI wrote this post as part of The Global Team of 200, a highly specialized group of members of Mom Bloggers for Social Good that concentrates on issues involving women and girls, children, world hunger and maternal health. Our Motto: Individually we are all powerful. Together we can change the world. We believe in the power of collective action to help others and believe in ourselves to make this world a better place for our children and the world’s children.


International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day

Empower Women, Empower The World

Today is International Women’s Day  and to honor this day I wanted to share some of my photographs of women that I have taken from around the world.  Today the United Nations Foundation , Johnson & Johnson, The Huffington Post, BabyCenter, and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are connecting women globally to help support women’s initiatives by kicking off the Global Mom Relay.

From now until May 8, moms are powering an online conversation about motherhood to unlock donations. Every time you share a relay post on Facebook, Twitter, or email or donate $5 or more as part of the relay, a $5 donation (up to $8,000 per day) will be donated by Johnson & Johnson and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to one of four initiatives that are helping women and children lead healthy and happy lives – Girl Up, the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA), and the Shot@Life campaign. The Global Mom Relay is in support of Every Woman Every Child, a movement launched by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to save the lives of 16 million women and children by 2015.”– United Nations Foundation

Photo By Elizabeth Atalay 

 It always amazed me in my travels how we were able to communicate even though often we did not share a common verbal language. Somehow stories were still told and questions still asked.  The first question women everywhere always asked me was if I had children or a husband. They were often fascinated that at that time in my life, my early twenties, which was considered an old maid in many of the places I visited, that I did not yet.  Often they were truly concerned for me on this matter, which I found touching. The women I met were strangers who frequently ended up housing me, hosting me for a visit, or feeding me, and I am eternally grateful for their global sisterhood.

Photo By Elizabeth Atalay

Much has changed in the decades since my extensive travels, and in many places the quality of life for women around the world has improved.  Women are generally marrying and having children later in life allowing them to stay in school longer, and have better economic opportunities in general. Increasing numbers of girls are receiving education, and increased access to vaccines has prevented millions of deaths from preventable diseases.   There is still so far to go, the problems of violence and  inequality for women remain.  Countries around the world need to realize that they have the opportunity to tap into a large source of economic growth in the women, whoever figures that out has the potential to double their National output.

Photo By Elizabeth Atalay

Things have changed  for me as well since those wanderlust days of travel, I am now a wife and a Mother, which I think those women would be glad to know.  Motherhood is a universal language and women can learn so much from each other.  I look forward to the wisdom from around the world in the Global Mom Relay!


Photo by Elizabeth Atalay

I wrote this post as part of The Global Team of 200, a highly specialized group of members of Mom Bloggers for Social Good that concentrates on issues involving women and girls, children, world hunger and maternal health.

Our Motto: Individually we are all powerful. Together we can change the world. We believe in the power of collective action to help others and believe in ourselves to make this world a better place for our children and the world’s children.




















Today is International Women’s Day!

Today is International Women’s Day!

African Women Harvesting Manioc; Photo by Elizabeth Atalay

Borneo; Photo by Elizabeth Atalay

Today is recognized around the globe as International Women’s Day.  This means slightly different things to different organizations around the world, but the point is sitting up and taking notice that there is work to be done globally in regards to women’s rights.   The U.N. theme is “Empower Rural Women — End Hunger and Poverty”; the European Parliament goes with  ”Equal Pay for Work of Equal Value”; and the International Women’s Day website focuses on “Connecting Girls, Inspiring Futures.” (According to the U.N., rural women and girls are one-fourth of the world’s population, yet “routinely figure at the bottom of every economic, social and political indicator.”) In any case as women we all share more than we differ.  Below I have posted photos of women from some of my travels around the world in honor of today.

Japanese Bride; Photo by Elizabeth Atalay

Peru; Photo by Elizabeth Atalay

Maasai Woman in Kenya; Photo by Elizabeth Atalay

Long Ampung,Borneo; Photo by Elizabeth Atalay

Morocco; Photo by Elizabeth Atalay