Coca-Cola have taken their job creation initiative dubbed Kuza Kazi to Kwale County where the youth were trained on entrepreneurship. It was in partnership with USAID/KYES Programme.

The initiative is aimed at tackling the challenge of high unemployment in the country. 135 young people in Kwale were trained and then they received a full starter kit consisting of an ice box, a parasol, products (soft drinks, water or juices) and branding materials. This was an initial investment into their business.

“All these beneficiaries will operate under our direct supervision and thereafter be integrated into the Coca-Cola retail network as well as fulfil vendors’ product orders, offer training and sales support,” said Emily Waita, Director Public Affairs, Communications and Sustainability, Coca-Cola, East and Central Africa Franchise.

According to a World Bank report, nearly four in every 10 able Kenyans of working age have no jobs compared to the global average of six people in every 100. The Kuza Kazi initiative therefore offers a direct solution to unemployment by economically empowering the youth through Coca-Cola system vast network of bottlers and distributors.

The contribution of self-employment to household income is at 1.9 percent and 6.2 percent for rural and urban areas respectively. A big number of this group is engaged in the Jua kali sector and other Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). The agriculture sector, mainly subsistence farming contributes 80.6 percent to the household income employing about 62,681 people in the County. Around 30 percent of the total labour force aged between 15 years and 64 years is either unemployed or underemployed. This constitutes 105,774 people with the youth being the most adversely affected.

The Coca-Cola system has been involved in the “5by20” global initiative focusing on empowering women and youth. In Kenya, more than 350,000 women and youth have benefitted from this initiative since 2011.

Coca-Cola launched the Kuza Kazi initiative in Nairobi in June this year. The initiative is designed to work through the existing Coca-Cola ecosystem, utilising the supply chain operated by the Coca-Cola bottling companies (Coca-Cola Beverages Africa, Almasi Beverages, and Coastal Bottlers). The initiative aims to create 50,000 jobs for Kenyan youth every year in partnership with donors, like-minded private sector entities and support from county governments.