Why I’m Going to Nepal with Coca-Cola
Coca-Cola is sponsoring my travel, accommodations and other expenses for my trip to Nepal.
Two years ago, I went on a life-changing trip to India with Coca-Cola.
That experience has been difficult to match, but my next adventure with Coca-Cola may prove to be my next life-changing trip.
During my visit, I will be meeting with leaders in the rebuilding efforts following last year’s tragic earthquake and speaking with female entrepreneurs in support of Coca-Cola’s 5BY20 initiative. This initiative is aimed at creating and supporting 5 million female entrepreneurs in their value chain by the year 2020.
Nepal Now 2016 From Rubble to Rebuild
A 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal on April 25, 2015 at midday local time. The earthquake affected an estimated 8 million people in 39 of Nepal’s 75 districts, including Nepal’s two largest cities – greater Kathmandu and Pokhara. In addition, more than 20 aftershocks—ranging between magnitude 4.5 and 6.7—followed the initial earthquake. Surrounding countries were also affected resulting in deaths and damages in parts of Bangladesh, China, and India.
During this critical time, The Coca-Cola Foundation gave a $1 million grant to the American Red Cross to support the Nepal Red Cross Society in delivering assistance to 75,000 people in 15,000 households by providing emergency healthcare, emergency shelter and restoring family links.
Following the devastation, Coca-Cola Nepal’s management team quickly administered support to their associates. Information about the associates and their family’s safety was of top priority.
First, displaced associates and their families were moved to hotels. In addition, a week’s worth of groceries for associates and people in communities around the plat were purchased.
The Coca-Cola Nepal management team quickly created a database to track damages inflicted on associates and their families. The database also recorded the considerable damages to both local bottling plants.
A team, comprised of management and workers union cadres, visited the houses of earthquake-affected associates in close proximity to the factory area. Immediate relief and financial aid were provided to associates whose houses either collapsed or were severely damaged. In addition to supporting associates, the bottler also donated nearly 20,000 cases of Kinley water, amongst other things, to several local organizations positioned to distribute to those in need.
While in Nepal this September, we will be visiting the bottling plant in Kathmandu, as well as the Bhurunchuli Village which was greatly affected by the earthquake. We will meet with associates who experienced the worst of the earthquake as well as from leadership who acted quickly to get the plant up and running to provide support to the community. While in Bhurunchuli, we will visit the site of a bathhouse that’s being built for women, see more than 55 homes that are being rebuilt and visit a local school. The bottler is supporting the build of separate male and female bathrooms at the school to provide safe and sanitary bathrooms for school children.
Women’s Empowerment in Nepal
Since 2013, Coca-Cola Nepal has provided free business skills training through Coca-Cola’s 5by20 program, locally referred to as ‘Shopkeeper Training and Resources (STAR) for Nepali female retailers. It provides traditional Nepali retailers with the skills, tools, and techniques required to succeed in Nepal’s constantly changing retail scenario.
Under the 5by20 initiative, the Company is working to help economically empower 5 million women across our global value chain by 2020. This initiative aims to empower women in our global business system by providing access to business skills, financial services, and assets, and support networks of peers and mentors. The program is focused on driving women’s empowerment through entrepreneurship for inclusive growth.
To date, 2848 Nepali female retailers have been trained across Nepal. We will observe part of a training program for 18-20 women at the plant. Afterward, several women who have already received business skills training will share their stories of success.
PET Recycle and Reuse Initiative
PET plastic bottles have played a role in ensuring safe, hygienic, standardized products, in a convenient way to consumers. Today, more than half of our global volume is delivered through PET plastic beverage bottles, which consumers prefer for lightweight, shatter-resistant, resealable, cost-effective, and recyclable packaging. However, since it is non-biodegradable, we need to be responsible to ensure its disposal and recycling.
In Nepal, we are partnering with the Himalayan Climate Initiative, a non-profit organization that constantly innovates ways to help the disadvantaged young women of Nepal by creating sustainable jobs. This initiative enhances the livelihood of waste workers—one of the most disadvantaged sections of our society—by paying them a fair price for PET bottles and by providing other attractive social benefits. These social benefits include; scholarships for their children, free camps, safety gear, health-related training (such as First Aid), and entrepreneurship and financial literacy training. This efficient and responsible mechanism for the collection and disposal of used PET bottles also contributes to a cleaner environment in Nepal.
Through this initiative, women have been engaged in bailing, sorting, and cleaning PET waste. A total of 157 tons of waste have been cleaned so far from the Kathmandu Valley. While on the ground in September, we will meet with several women and men waste workers, to hear their stories. A representative from the Himalayan Climate Initiative will also provide in-depth context to the project.
Learn more about 5by20 by visiting coca-colacompany.com/stories/5by20.
Coca-Cola is sponsoring my travel, accommodations, and other expenses for my trip to Nepal.
Founder of Mom Spark – a lifestyle blog for moms.