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 the 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 shares 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.
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 are also promoted.
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 to 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.