MANILA, Philippines - Coca-Cola Philippines is helping empower women retailers through the Sari-sari Store Training and Access to Resources (STAR) Program with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
The STAR program, which has been successfully running in various communities in the Philippines for the last two years, is in line with the 5by20 global initiative of The Coca-Cola Company, which aims to economically empower 5 million women by year 2020.
The STAR Program is a gender-sensitive module customized for women micro-entrepreneurs. Acknowledging women as active players in economic development, the STAR Program has emerged as one of the most successful of 5by20 initiative in the ASEAN region.
"Women are already pillars of our business and of the communities we proudly serve. Giving them access to the various components of the 5by20 STAR Program will help transform them into becoming better entrepreneurs," Atty. Adel Tamano, Coca-Cola Philippines Director for Public Affairs and Communications, said.
TESDA deputy director general Atty. Teodoro Pascua noted Coca-Cola’s STAR Program is "one of the best corporate social responsibility projects".
Malaysia’s Department of Women Development deputy-general Che Azizah BT Che Rashid visited the Philippines last month to attend a day-long orientation of the STAR program. Women’s organizations and microfinance institutions from Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand also attended the event.
"We are proud of what Coca-Cola Philippines and TESDA have achieved so far, their passion and enthusiasm with a willing heart to continuously share best practices like this is already making a difference within the ASEAN neighboring countries as they get ready to implement 5by20 women economic empowerment programs in their respective markets," Jackie Duff, Coca-Cola Director for Women's Economic Empowerment, said.
Gilda Custodio-Maquilan, 5by20 Philippines STAR Program Chairperson, said investing in women economic empowerment is investing the future of communities.
"“We are encouraged by the participation of Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia in this learning exercise. Sharing the Philippine 5by20 experience will mean we will be able to empower more women in ASEAN," Custodio-Maquilan said.