Over 150 youth from Nyeri county are set to benefit from a project dubbed “Kuza Kazi” by 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.

The project , in conjunction with the County’s grassroots network, aims to economically empower and boost the entrepreneurial skills of the youth , to enable them 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.

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.

Speaking at the launch event held at the Nyeri County headquarters, Nyeri County Governor Mutahi Kahiga said the initiative will be a worthy addition to the County’s 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

“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 17.5percent 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.

‘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. 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.