Kisumu – The first group of 110 women in a five-year programme to empower women with disabilities to start their own retail businesses have officially begun their training, supported by Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA) in Kenya in partnership with USAID.
The USAID-funded Global Labor Program, Inclusive Futures, is a $6m initiative that brings together eight strategic partners to build disability inclusion in the CCBA and East Africa Breweries Limited (EABL) value chains in Kenya, creating opportunities in two of the largest beverage companies in Kenya.
CCBA officially launched its initiative to support people with disabilities as retailers within its distribution chain in Kisumu under Inclusive Futures on Monday, 18 July.
CCBA welcomed the first cohort of 30 women from Kisumu and more than 80 women from Nairobi, who will be given equipment, training, business support and access to loans under the initiative.
A new cohort will be onboarded every year between 2022 and 2026 with the aim that by the end of the five-year programme, over 675 women with disabilities will be empowered as retailers within CCBA’s distribution chain.
“This initiative is part of our commitment to continue creating greater shared inclusive opportunities for women and communities across our value-chain,” said Public Affairs, Communication and Sustainability Director of CCBA in Kenya, John Mwendwa.
“Each decision our company makes is a chance for us to do the right thing. In all our actions, we must be consistently self-aware of our role in the world and the impact we can have. Therefore, we must help care for the people and communities we depend on to succeed,” said Mwendwa.
“Opportunity is more than just money, it’s about a better future for people and their communities everywhere on the African continent.
“People matter. Our planet matters. We believe in doing business the right way by following our values and working toward solutions that benefit us all,” said Mwendwa.
“When we grow our business the right way, not just the easy way, we help create inclusive growth opportunities for our communities, women and youth, our customers, our employees and our shareholders, for a better shared future.”
The Inclusive Futures program also brings together organisations representing persons with disabilities, NGOs and businesses. The USAID funding includes union and labour organisations to build protection of labour.
“One way we support communities is by empowering women and youth. Across local communities in our territories, we give back every year to help make them stronger and more prosperous,” said Mwendwa.
“Because women and youth are integral to our continent’s shared success, we seek to empower them by enabling their economic inclusion throughout our markets on the continent. CCBA’s contribution to The Coca-Cola Company’s 10-year global women empowerment initiative, the 5by20 programme, was significant.
“Whether donating money, our time or our expertise, we take our responsibility to the communities we call home seriously,” Mwendwa said.