June 29, 2021: Coca-Cola Central, East and West Africa Ltd together with its bottling partners Coca-Cola Beverages Africa-Kenya and Almasi Beverages Limited and the County Government of Nyeri have today launched the ‘Kuza Kazi’ project to harness the power of Coca-Cola’s supply chain and the County’s grassroots network to economically empower and boost the entrepreneurial skills of 150 Nyeri youth. The youth will join Coca-Cola’s retail chain distribution network to earn an income, generate savings, expand their businesses, and enhance their potential to become future employers.
Speaking at the launch event held at the Nyeri County headquarters, Nyeri County Governor H.E. Mutahi Kahiga said: “The ‘Kuza Kazi’ initiative fits very well into our youth empowerment strategy which involves creating, supporting and sustaining an environment that unlocks the potential of the people of Nyeri to achieve progressive socio-economic growth. It will be a worthy addition to our youth empowerment program currently being run by the Department of Gender, Youth and Social Services where youth are being supported with tools, equipment and machinery to support their business start-ups or bolster existing small businesses.”
The initiative seeks to empower youth with business skills training, facilitate access to financial assets and create job opportunities. Almasi is providing the beneficiaries with a starter kit each consisting of an ice box, a parasol and a garden set while the County Government of Nyeri through the Department of Gender, Youth and Social Services, is purchasing initial Coca-Cola beverage products (soft drinks, water and juices) for the youth and allocating them trading spaces to enable them start table-top businesses. This will contribute to addressing the high rate of unemployment in the country and encourage the young men and women to be self-reliant.
“This is a very noble course, not only for Nyeri County, but also for the country at large as it also contributes to the national government’s Big 4 Agenda. We are indeed pleased to receive these kits from the ‘Kuza Kazi’ initiative. I believe this will have a positive impact in the socio-economic lives of our youth which is in line with our strategic objective of promoting shared growth and job creation especially during this time when the business environment has been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. My government is willing to support a similar batch in the next financial year to expand this program even further,” said Governor Kahiga.
According to the Nyeri County Government Integrated Development Plan 2018-2022 there are over 13,000 job seekers not gainfully employed. ‘Kuza Kazi’ in partnership with the county governments aims at not only creating employment opportunities, but also formalizing the informal sector which currently represents over 80 percent of employment in Kenya.
“As Almasi, we are today delighted to partner with the Country Government of Nyeri, through the Department of Gender, Youth and Social Services, as we seek solutions to address the unemployment situation especially among the youth in Nyeri County currently pegged at 17.5 percent of the potential labour force,” said Phillip Gikunju, Business lead, Almasi Beverages Limited.
The initiative is designed to work through the existing Coca-Cola ecosystem, utilising the supply chain operated by the Coca-Cola bottling companies (Almasi Beverages, Coca-Cola Beverages Africa – Kenya and Coastal Bottlers).
The starter kit issued to the youth beneficiaries serves as an initial investment into their business by the partners. They will operate under the direct supervision of Almasi who will integrate them into the Coca-Cola retail network as vendors and also fulfil their product orders, offer training and sales support. Funding support for the purchase of the beverage products has been provided by the County Government of Nyeri through the Department of Gender, Youth and Social Services which is mandated to spearhead the youth agenda in the county.
The ‘Kuza Kazi’ initiative fits into the department’s youth empowerment objective which includes, training, provision of seed capital in the form of merchandise, tools, equipment and machinery to ensure that the youth move from the periphery to the core of the economy especially in the business sector. The Department will continue to partner with successful corporates like Coca-Cola who have youth empowerment as one of their sustainability pillars.
The ‘Kuza Kazi’ initiative, seeks to harness the power of The Coca-Cola Company’s supply chain to create jobs for Kenyan youth every year in partnership with like-minded private sector entities and with support from county governments.
‘Kuza Kazi’ was launched in 2019 and is already operational in five other counties – Nairobi, Kericho, Kisii, Migori and Kwale and has impacted more than 900 youth.
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About The Coca-Cola Company
The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO) is the world’s largest beverage company, offering over 500 brands to people in more than 200 countries. Of our 21 billion-dollar brands, 19 are available in lower- or no-sugar options to help people moderate their consumption of added sugar. In addition to our namesake Coca-Cola drinks, some of our leading brands around the world include: AdeS soy-based beverages, Ayataka green tea, Dasani waters, Del Valle juices and nectars, Fanta, Georgia coffee, Gold Peak teas and coffees, Honest Tea, Minute Maid juices, Powerade sports drinks, Simply juices, smartwater, Sprite, vitaminwater, and Zico coconut water. At Coca-Cola, we’re serious about making positive contributions to the world. That starts with reducing sugar in our drinks and continuing to introduce new ones with added benefits. It also means continuously working to reduce our environmental impact, creating rewarding careers for our associates and bringing economic opportunity wherever we operate. Together with our bottling partners, we employ more than 700,000 people around the world. For more information, visit our digital magazine Coca-Cola Journey at www.coca-colacompany.com, and follow The Coca-Cola Company on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.
About Nyeri County
Nyeri County is one of the 47 counties in Kenya located in the central region of the country. It has a population of 759,164 and an area of 2361 km2. It is currently under the leadership of H.E. Governor Mutahi Kahiga. The County lies between Mount Kenya and the Aberdare ranges with Agriculture as the main economic activity. The County is also renowned for horticultural farming. Other agricultural activities which act as a source of income include dairy farming and fish farming. There are also a number of industries in the county such as tea and coffee factories providing employment to the locals as well as producing goods for both local and international consumption.
The County headquarter is located in Nyeri Town which is easily accessible from all the eight sub counties. Some of the famous people who hail from Nyeri County include former President Mwai Kibaki, Nobel Peace Prize laureate the late Prof. Wangari Maathai, renowned Olympic (Boston and Chicago) marathon medalist Catherine Ndereba amongothers
About Kuza Kazi
The Kuza Kazi project is designed to economically empower the youth by boosting their entrepreneurial skills and equipping them to start table-top businesses. Through capacity building and financial support, beneficiaries of the Kuza Kazi program are expected to successfully join Coca-Cola’s retail network, increase income and savings, expand their business, build their potential to become employers and create new jobs for the Kenyan economy.
The project is designed to work through the existing Coca-Cola ecosystem, utilising the supply chain operated by the Coca-Cola bottling companies (Almasi Beverages, Coca-Cola Beverages Africa and Coastal Bottlers) who are geographically located across Kenya.
Each of the beneficiaries enrolled in the program receives a starter kit consisting of an ice box, stand, a parasol, product (soft drinks, water or juices) and branding material needed to start a business. The beneficiaries will receive this starter kit at cost as an initial investment into their business.