On March 7 in Cairo, The Coca-Cola Company and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) announced the launch of a women’s empowerment program in Egypt, in cooperation with the Wahid Min Al-Nas NGO and the Social Fund for Development (SFD).

As part of The Coca-Cola Company’s global 5by20 initiative to enable the economic empowerment of 5 million women, the program will aim to reach 4,000 Egyptian women through providing retail outlets, upgrading Manual Distribution Centers (MDCs) and adding new distribution vehicles such as motor tricycles. In addition, the program provides women with business skills courses on topics such as financial literacy and general project management.

The Coca-Cola Company will provide coolers, beverages and other essential goods for these women to start their retail businesses. The 5by20 program in Egypt supports the overarching objectives of the Ministry of Local Development and contributes to the National Presidential project goal of developing 250 villages across Egypt. The new partnership program’s initial focus will be on Upper Egypt, in Fayoum, Beni Suef, Minya, Assuit, Sohag and New Valley governorates, where women are in the greatest need of economic assistance. But women will not be the only ones to benefit from the new program — their communities will benefit as well.

Ghada Makady, Senior Manager of Public Affairs and Communications for Coca-Cola Egypt, says that “this program demonstrates Coca-Cola’s commitment towards communities in Egypt by supporting women—the backbone of the Egyptian families.” SFD Secretary-General Suha Suliman echoes these thoughts, maintaining that gender equality and women’s empowerment are “cornerstones of sustainable development and are remedies against poverty and social exclusion.” For The Coca-Cola Company, UN Women and their partners in this important program, women’s economic empowerment is an essential part of strong community development.

5by20 is dedicated to removing economic barriers for women — from overcoming a lack of business skills and training to providing the resources and mentors to make them successful business owners and leaders. When women do better, so do their families and their communities. Thanks to the devoted partners involved in this new program, the women and the communities of Egypt will soon have many success stories to tell.