Coca-Cola Central, East and West Africa Limited (CEWA) has trained 42 young people in Migori County and given them a starter kit to start their businesses.

The initiative in Migori County was in partnership with its bottling partner Almasi Beverages and is part of the Kuza Kazi programme that seeks to boost their entrepreneurial skills. Migori County has a labour force estimate at 430,000, majority of which is made up of the youth due to a child rich population. Of the total labour force, an estimated 19,000 are classified as unemployed.

The initiative, dubbed Kuza Kazi, seeks to create job opportunities, offer training and sharpen entrepreneurial skills of the youth in a bid to address the high rate of unemployment in the country and to encourage the young men and women to be self-reliant.

Through the Kuza Kazi initiative, Coca-Cola aims to economically empower a total of 1,000 youth from Migori County in the next three years by boosting their entrepreneurial skills and equipping them to start table-top businesses. The youth will then join Coca-Cola’s retail chain distribution network using Coca-Cola products as anchor products to enhance their income and savings, expand their business, and build their potential to become future employers.

The initiative was rolled out in partnership with PricewaterhouseCoppers (PwC) as the project managers and aims at not only creating employment opportunities, but also formalizing the informal sector which currently represents over 80 percent of employment in Kenya.

The 42 beneficiaries are the first batch of 1,000 youth to receive a starter kit consisting of an ice box, a parasol, products (soft drinks, water or juices) and branding materials, which were costed as an initial investment into their business. The beneficiaries will then operate under the direct supervision of the Coca-Cola bottling partners who will integrate them into the Coca-Cola retail network as well as fulfil vendors’ product orders, offer training and sales support.

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. The initiative has previously launched in Kwale County.