Coca-Cola Foundation, United Purpose host a workshop for rural women
The Coca-Cola Foundation and United Purpose jointly organized a workshop on "The Role of Women Business Centre Model-(WBC) in Improving Access to Digital Tools for Rural Women" to celebrate International Women's Day on March 12.
During the session, the participants were presented with the initiative findings which had led them to understand the impact of the initiative and the importance of digital literacy for women in rural areas and communities. 10 successful women entrepreneurs were also awarded during the workshop for their extra ordinary achievements through Women Business Centers.
The workshop was organized at Department of Women Affairs, with guests from, private and public sector along with representatives from local and international NGOs. Hamidur Rahman, Advisor at Ministry of Agriculture & EX Director General at Department of Agriculture Extension along with Deputy Director of Women Affairs, Jamalpur Kamrun Nahar was the special guest.
The Director General of Department of Women Affairs, Farida Pervin attended the workshop as the Chief Guest. During the workshop, the participants have emphasized on the significance of giving the rural women access to digital tools as the way forward for a Smart Bangladesh.
Farida Parvin, the Director General of Department of Women Affairs said, "The first pillar to building a Smart Bangladesh is to create a smart citizen and a majority of our citizens are from rural areas, where the modern technology is yet to be within easy reach. It gives me hope seeing that private organizations like The Coca-Cola Foundation & United Purpose are coming together to make digital and IT tools accessible to rural women. Programs such as this doesn't only technologically enable women but also supports the communities to develop".
At the workshop, 10 women entrepreneurs from different business groups (IT, poultry, financial services etc.) were awarded for their successful business ventures and contributing in the development of their communities through telemedicine service, social welfare, leadership etc. Since 2015, 70 Women Business Centers in Jamalpur, Khulna, and Bagerhat districts directly impacted on wellbeing and economic empowerment of 100,000 women and indirectly 400,000 people benefited from the initiative.
Now, the initiative has embarked on second phase with the goal of empowering 40,000 women entrepreneurs through 30 WBCs in Sunamganj and Gopalganj. Through these 100 WBCs, the women entrepreneurs didn't only improve their financial condition but also supported their communities. Over 58,000 households registered through WBCs for health and nutrition support, more than 26,000 women received telemedicine services. Moreover, farmers and business owners also benefitted from the WBCs as 46,200 women entrepreneurs received mobile banking services and approximately, 80,000 women received livestock and agriculture services. Apart from these services, the beneficiaries also received other IT related services such as mobile recharge, photo print, scan and printing services from the WBCs.
Prior to the national workshop the two organization arranged series of small workshops at each of the 100 Women Business Centers in Jamalpur, Khluna, Bagerhat, Sunamganj and Gopalganj. During the community engagement, women entrepreneurs from Women Business Centers and women from the communities were taught the importance of technology and innovation to ensure gender equality. Following up with the community engagements, there were also three district level discussion session to discuss the role Women Business Centers in improving access to digital tools for communities in Gopalganj, Jamalpur, Sunamganj. Local government and non-government representatives attended and took part in the discussion and shared the urgency of making digital tools available for all in order to develop the communities.
"Through United Purpose, women are being empowered to build careers, build assets, and build lives of self-sufficiency," said Saadia Madsbjerg, President of The Coca-Cola Foundation. "There is no better investment than creating a climate where people can thrive and achieve success."
Through these Women Business Centers, rural women were trained in business management, IT, poultry farming and developing their existing skills. Apart from Women Business Centres, Coca-Cola system in Bangladesh and The Coca-Cola Foundation has been playing significant role in supporting Bangladesh to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations.
Local adaptation of the company's global initiatives such as Water Stewardship and World Without Waste has been actively contributing in community development across their value chain.