Pact Myanmar receives grant funding to extend the successful ‘Swan Yi’ women’s empowerment program another three years until 2021, and to expand community outreach into two other important areas: Water Access, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH); as well as Recycling and Waste Management.
YANGON, 4th September 2018 – The Coca-Cola Foundation, Coca-Cola Myanmar and Pact Myanmar announced a continuation of their ongoing partnership and expansion of programming to cover three areas of community development: women’s empowerment, WASH (water access, sanitation & hygiene), as well as recycling and community waste management. The US$1 million in grant funding extends the partnership between Pact and Coca-Cola another three years until 2021 and is targeting to reach 14,500 beneficiaries during this phase of the program.
The ‘Swan Yi’ women’s empowerment program, which began in 2012, will reach and benefit an estimated 40,000 women in Myanmar during the program’s nine years of implementation through 2021. Swan Yi helps women learn to save money and improve their families’ financial health through various trainings and savings groups. By providing educational training in areas such as financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and business management, the program gives women the knowledge and tools to start their own businesses and plan for their financial futures. During this next phase of ‘Swan Yi’ in Yangon Region and Mon State, even more women will receive business skills development training, linking Pact’s small-to-medium-enterprise (SME) approach with hands-on workshops to enable the transition from informal business activity to the formal sector, ultimately helping women support themselves and their families.
“There is a huge demand and need for this type of women’s’ empowerment activities around Myanmar. Together with our partner, Coca-Cola, we are pleased to be extending the ‘Swan Yi’ program another three years and also expanding into several other areas,” said Sabine Joukes, Programs Director Pact Myanmar. “Over the past six years, Swan Yi’s savings-based empowerment approach has been crucial in equipping women with the means to become self- sustaining entrepreneurs, enabling them to earn a living themselves to support their families and children’s education. This in turn strengthens their self-esteem and they become more engaged and respected members in their community and in their own households.”
During previous phases between 2012 and 2018, the ‘Swan Yi’ program was supported by US$5 million in grant funding from The Coca-Cola Foundation. The program is consistent with The Coca-Cola Company’s global 5by20 initiative, which seeks to break down barriers to women’s entrepreneurial success by providing access to business skills training courses, financial services and support networks. “The partnership extension also involves two other critical areas for community development – WASH and Community Waste Management – enabling us to implement water access, sanitation and hygiene-related activities as well as educational workshops to raise awareness on the importance of recycling and proper waste management,” explained Sabine Joukes of Pact Myanmar.
WASH program activities will aim to improve the socio-economic wellbeing of 1,000 villagers surrounding Coca-Cola’s bottling plants in Hmawbi and Hlaing Thar Yar Townships. By providing access to clean water supplies in schools and educating on hygiene and sanitation practices, the additional funding will provide much-needed training for communities, as well as local infrastructure. This will in turn promote health and hygiene practices, and reduce the incidence of water- and sanitation-related diseases.
The third element of the partnership will focus on community-based Recycling and Waste Management Awareness with the goal of educating and empowering more than 10,000 people, including children and women, to adopt the reduce, re-use and recycle principles and understand the importance of recycling and proper waste management to promote a clean and safe environment. Community-based action plans, in-school education as well as ‘clean funds’, sanitation infrastructure and improving waste management through safe hygienic behavior for a healthy physical environment at community level will all be implemented through this project.
“We are proud to continue this strong partnership with Pact that has made such meaningful impacts in communities throughout Myanmar,” said Sandy Chapman, Public Affairs, Communications & Sustainability Director at Coca-Cola ASEAN BIG Markets. “We would like to thank Pact for their ongoing commitment to bringing meaningful change to Myanmar’s communities and look forward to celebrating more milestones together that highlight out work tying to our sustainability pillars - women, water and recycling.”