Beyond what has already been played out in the news of the ongoing global pandemic, humanity also bore witness to many awe-inspiring initiatives from non-government organizations, private groups, and individuals across all sectors, in the year that has been.
The renewed sense of social responsibility, rightfully taking spotlight especially in the Philippines, also highlights the impact that the youth sector can collectively make in the face of challenges and adversity. Such as that of the Negros Occidental chapter of the Red Cross Youth (RCY) and Kilusan Para sa Kalikasan (KKK), who were the recipients of the Coke Barkada Awards for 2020 and 2019, respectively.
The Coke Barkada Award is a special award given to one of the chosen Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations (TAYO) to recognize and empower the outstanding youth group that share the passion to improve the well-being of communities through projects that are aligned with Coca-Cola Philippines’ sustainability priorities. And for the past two years, these two model youth organizations managed to stand out for their noble work.
A cleaner, safer province with the help from RCY
Composed of youth volunteers from school councils all over the country’s “sugar bowl,” RCY Negros Occidental is led by young humanitarian leaders empowered through training and education by the Philippine Red Cross.
These young individuals—responding to the call to help mitigate the spread of the COVID-19—repurposed 31 used steel drums into “Red Cross Youth Drumvatory Handwashing Facilities”—installing them in populated locations such as hospitals, health centers, establishments, and local government offices across the province. According to the group, each drumvatory is approximately used 4,000 times in a single day, no doubt an encouraging response.
Red Cross Youth Negros Occidental was recognized as the Coke Barkada Awardee last December 2020 in TAYO Awards. While their Drumvatory Handwashing Facilities helped provide cleaner and safer province during the pandemic, it was also aligned with Coca-Cola Philippines’ Water Stewardship and Recycling advocacies.
A clearer, greener tomorrow led by the ‘KKK’
Meanwhile the KKK, whose members are students from the Mindanao State University – Tawi-Tawi College of Technology and Oceanography (MSU-TCTO), initiates programs and activities geared towards environmental conservation all while providing opportunities for the youth to actively participate in these efforts. Through their “Kahapan ma Kawman” project for instance, they set out to empower the heavily discriminated Badjao community by spearheading community-based solid waste management programs and bio-intensive gardening.
This has seen the installation of waste bins situated near the homes of tribal leaders who, after being trained on proper waste disposal, were then tasked to share this know-how with their constituents. Meanwhile, by extending knowledge on the development of bio-intensive gardens, food security, self-reliance and additional income for community members is also promoted.
The 2019 Coke Barkada Awardee, Kilusan ng Kabataan para sa Kalikasan (KKK), empowered the heavily discriminated Badjao community through their “Kahapan ma Kawman” project. Part of the project is community-based solid waste management programs and bio-intensive gardening.
A brighter, better shared future
“Every year, we are ignited with a light of hope emanated by our Coke Barkada Awardees and their projects. Much like our own Company initiatives, these efforts aim to address the immediate and long-term needs of communities, proving that even the youth can play a part in making a positive impact on the lives of others,” said Cecile Alcantara, Coca-Cola Foundation Philippines President. She added that they will remain committed towards seeking out and supporting youth groups that spark positive change.
“It’s quite heartening that for 15 years now, we have been seeing such bright and responsible young minds who do their share in community and nation building. Thus, through the Coke Barkada Award and TAYO Awards Foundation, Coca-Cola will continue to support these youth groups so that they can further serve as an inspiration to others.”
No doubt, with groups like RCY Negros Occidental and the KKK leading the change, hope springs eternal. Together with these youth organizations, Coca-Cola Philippines will continue to work towards achieving its World Without Waste vision: to collect and recycle every single bottle it sells by 2030. In line with this, the Company is set to make progress this year on the PETValue recycling plant, the biggest bottle-to-bottle recycling facility in the country.
About Coca-Cola in the Philippines
Coca-Cola has been refreshing Filipinos and making a difference in the Philippines for 109 years. The Philippines was Coca-Cola’s first market in Asia to begin local bottling operations. Today, the Coca-Cola system in the Philippines has evolved into a total beverage company, offering a diverse portfolio of brands in its beverage portfolio and employing over 15,000 Filipinos in over 19 manufacturing facilities and more than 60 distribution centers nationwide. As part of its long-standing commitment to the country, Coca-Cola continues to #GOBEYONDGOOD as a business by continuously supporting safe water access programs in over 250 communities, empowering around 250,000 women entrepreneurs through training and peer mentoring, and accelerating packaging collection and recycling under its global World Without Waste initiative.