Riversands has supported Coca-Cola South Africa to achieve their global objectives of empowering female entrepreneurs while also encouraging recycling activities. During the course of 2017, the Riversands team worked with Coca Cola to ensure targets were met and women’s lives were improved in meaningful ways.
The goal for 2017 was to empower 350 women to make bags using industrial sewing machines and incorporating discarded billboard material into the designs.
The success of the programme is attributed to the individual approach taken with each woman, depending on her strengths. Creative thinking is encouraged and women come up with new designs for bags, clothing and home décor to sell to different markets.
Another programme strength is the synergy that exists between manufacturer and Riversands partner Eco-Smart, which receives corporate orders for various laptop and other bags, and the women participants who make the bags to gain income and experience as well as exposure to the market.
Many of the women have bought their own industrial sewing machines thanks to a savings scheme. Fifteen of them are proud owners of machines while a further six have committed to the savings process.
There is a bias towards business skills development over technical sewing skills– women are taught how to cost their goods including calculating the value of their labour and price accurately, which ensures they have the tools to become profitable.
Coca Cola has transformed many of these women’s lives and highlights the power of partnership.