PepsiCo Fdn Supports Game-Based Strategy for Young Women Workers

The PepsiCo Foundation is collaborating with the International Youth Foundation (IYF) on a digital life-skills course to help young people, particularly women, succeed in the workplace.

Game-based learning program Passport to Success helps young women develop skills for the workplace. (Image Credit: IYF)

The IYF Passport to Success program is a game-based program that can be accessed by youth worldwide using a mobile device. The 10-hour 18-unit program is designed to be “gender-smart” and includes women serving in various professional and non-traditional roles, as well as in positions of authority. The country-specific curriculum also targets barriers to gender equality as they exist in different regions.

The game-based course teaches life skills that are applicable across a range of settings and sectors and include self-confidence, responsibility, teamwork, and communication. The program, the result of a $2.5 million investment from the PepsiCo Foundation, builds on the IYF paper curriculum that is already in use in many countries. The program addresses conflict management and critical and creative thinking skills, among other areas. The digital version is available in American and British English, Spanish, and Hinglish (a blend of Hindi and English). An Arabic version will debut later this year. The online program is designed for 16 to 24-year-olds and the curriculum is culturally relevant and appropriate to each market.

The program is for youth of both genders, but the challenges facing young women are an important element of Passport to Success. The PepsiCo Foundation cites a 2019 report from UNESCO that finds girls are more likely than boys to be excluded from education, and the International Labour Organization notes that women and girls often lack access to vocational education and skills training. The IYF life skills program is designed to address these disparities, and the goal is to have one million young women and girls access the curriculum by 2025.

The PepsiCo Foundation has invested nearly nine million dollars since 2014 in its partnership with IYF. In addition to Passport to Success, the PepsiCo Foundation is supporting IYF’s efforts to improve female students’ readiness skills in Mexico’s public technical high school system, and prepare young South African women for the workforce by integrating life skills training into that country’s college system.

Ultimately, PepsiCo Foundation will invest $100 million by 2025 in programming aimed at 12.5 million women worldwide working in the food system and farming. Currently, the work of many women in the agriculture sector is unpaid and undervalued, and many women farmers have limited access to technology, land rights and financing. This hurts women, but also results in yields that are 20 to 30 percent lower than might otherwise be the case.

The International Youth Foundation is a non-profit and was founded in 1990 through a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. It operates in 100 countries, and its programs directly benefit 7.7 million young people.

The PepsiCo Foundation was established in 1962, and in the 1970s it began supporting fitness research. In the 80s it established a focus on preventive medicine, underwriting research in this field at medical schools and institutions including Duke, Harvard, Stanford, and the Mayo Clinic. Later, the Foundation’s focus expanded to include funding fitness education for youth. Currently, the PepsiCo Foundation works with nonprofit partners and invests in the essential elements of a sustainable food system – helping alleviate hunger, manage water and waste responsibly, and supporting women as champions of nutrition from farm to family.

In addition to its spending on disaster relief and humanitarian support, PepsiCo’s global philanthropy efforts feature four interrelated pillars: nutrition, water, waste and women. According to the Foundation, ‘When a woman has the time and opportunities to learn, her children are better fed, healthier, and more likely to be educated themselves—sparking a virtuous cycle that essential to building a more sustainable food system.” The $100 million investment in helping 12.5 million women in the farming and food sector is essential to a key Foundation goal: “Increase the earnings potential of women to drive economic growth and increase food security.”

Along with its global investments in improving the working lives of women, the Foundation is investing in a four-year four-million-dollar program with the Robin Hood Foundation to support education and workforce training programs for 20,000 girls in the Bronx, New York’s poorest borough. The PepsiCo Foundation disbursed approximately $45 million in 2018, which included $6.3 million specifically targeting women.

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Philanthropy Women covers funding for gender equity in all sectors of society. We want to significantly shift public discourse, particularly in philanthropy, toward increased action for gender equality. You can support our work and access unlimited and premium content with one of our subscriptions.

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Author: Tim Lehnert

Tim Lehnert is a writer and editor who lives in Cranston, Rhode Island. His articles and essays have appeared in the Boston Globe, the Providence Journal, Rhode Island Monthly, the Boston Herald, the Christian Science Monitor, and elsewhere. He is the author of the book Rhode Island 101, and has published short fiction for kids and adults in a number of literary journals and magazines. He received an M.A. in Political Science from McGill University, and an M.A. in English from California State University, Northridge.

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