Pact’s award-winning approach toward helping empower women in Myanmar has been awarded a $3 million grant from the Coca-Cola Foundation, the charitable giving arm of The Coca-Cola Company.
The Coca-Cola Foundation identified Pact’s WORTH program as an ideal investment to help support families and economic development in Myanmar, a country undertaking sweeping changes to improve its people’s lives. Coca-Cola announced the grant in a news release last week.
“We have seen the tremendous resilience and entrepreneurial energy of the people of Myanmar,” said Mark Viso, president and CEO of Pact, a nongovernmental organization based in Washington, D.C., and at work in 29 countries.
“The Coca-Cola Foundation’s generous contribution will allow even more women to tap their own potential, earn a dignified living and lift their families out of poverty, while also helping all of Myanmar realize the promise of a brighter future.”
Pact has been serving women and families in Myanmar for 15 years and is the largest international NGO in the country today.
Myanmar, also known as Burma, has been rapidly implementing economic and democratic reforms under the leadership of President Thein Sein. Coca-Cola has not done business in Myanmar in more than 60 years but expects to begin business in the country as soon as the U.S. government issues a general license allowing American companies to make investments there.
“The Coca-Cola Company has always stood for optimism at times of change and progress around the world,” said Coca-Cola Chairman and CEO Muhtar Kent.
“From the fall of the Berlin Wall to the establishment of normal U.S. relations with Vietnam to the rise of political and economic freedoms in Myanmar, Coca-Cola has proudly been there to refresh, invest, partner and bring hope for a better tomorrow.”
WORTH encourages small groups of up to 25 women to save together to develop village banks that make low-interest loans to members to fund entrepreneurial efforts. In addition to developing more income for their families from their small enterprises and dividends from interest payments, the women learn to read, apply basic math skills, confront public health issues and exercise influence in community affairs.
To date, WORTH has benefited nearly 60,000 people in 31 townships in Myanmar. Pact developed the WORTH program in Nepal in 1999.
Like Pact, Coca-Cola builds local promise. The company has a general practice of operating as a local business in every market it serves, including selling, distributing, manufacturing and hiring locally.
Coca-Cola is the latest corporation to join Pact in its efforts to help those in poverty build lasting solutions at the local level. Corporations and/or their philanthropic arms interested in innovative local solutions to challenges facing their workforces and families around the world should contact Suzanne Rexing at firstname.lastname@example.org.