Coca-Cola Bangladesh yesterday announced the extension of its Women Business Centre (WBC) project to the third phase in two upazilas of Jamalpur district.
In the third phase of the programme, it aims reach 20,000 additional women within 2018, taking the total count of women beneficiaries to 40,000, Coca-Cola said in a statement yesterday.
The main aim of the project is to contribute to the wellbeing and resilience of 40,000 women through economic empowerment, according to the statement.
The project aims to address common barriers women face in the marketplace by providing access to business skills training, market information, agriculture training and inputs, and mobile banking, nutrition, healthcare and counseling for women and mentoring and networking opportunities.
The project has been active in Jamalpur district of Dhaka division, and Khulna and Bagerhat of Khulna division, covering a total of eight upazilas. The announcement was made at a dialogue, jointly held yesterday with Business Initiative Leading Development (BUILD) to share good practices and critical challenges of rural women entrepreneurship development.
The dialogue engaged stakeholders from public, private and civil societies, media professionals and other relevant bodies to highlight cases of women entrepreneurship development, using Coca-Cola's Women Business Centre project, implemented by United Purpose, as a case study. The dialogue featured a panel discussion on economic growth of rural women entrepreneurs.
Mafruha Sultana, vice chairman and CEO of the Export Promotion Bureau (women development policy strategy), and Shubha Sekhar, director for sustainability of Coca-Cola India and South West Asia, attended the discussion, among others.
Shadab Khan, managing director of Coca-Cola Bangladesh, announced the extension of the programme.
“The WBC project in Bangladesh is adapted from Coca-Cola's global 5by20 vision, started with the aim to pull five million marginalised women up through economic empowerment by 2020,” Khan said.
“Looking at women's workforce participation in Bangladesh, we can proudly say that women here are already doing better than most South Asian countries.” “However, women workers continue to face harder obstacles, often arising from a lack of training and confidence. At Coca-Cola we have tried to bank on the potential of women first and success will follow,” he said.
”Working with and investing in women is one of the most powerful ways to spur sustainable economic growth and development, said Shubha Sekhar. Ferdaus Ara Begum, CEO of BUILD, also spoke.