U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Robert F. Godec has pledged US$300,000
to support a partnership that helps at-risk young women start small businesses.
The pledge, which he announced during a visit to the Coca-Cola Equator Bottlers’ plant in Kisumu, western Kenya, on Friday, is from the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief –PEPFAR kitty.
Ambassador Godec joined John Waihenya, Senior Assistant Commissioner for Cooperative Development, Ministry of Industrialization and Enterprise Development, and Dr. Susan Mboya, President of the Coca-Cola Africa Foundation, at the plant.
Also present in the lakeside city was Fredrick Afuoko, President of Kisumu County Bunge Forum and Vice President of the National Youth Bunge Association, as well as more than 200 youth bunge members for the hand over of Coca-Cola coolers and other equipment to 30 youth bunge members.
The bunge members are taking loans from their Youth Savings and Credit Cooperative, or SACCO, to purchase the inventory they need to start their small vending businesses in Kisumu or neighboring counties.
Through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Yes Youth Can programme, the National Youth Bunge Association, with assistance from the Ministry of Industrialization and Enterprise Development, has formed 30 Youth Bunge SACCOs in the past year.
More than 30,000 youth have already joined SACCO and have opened savings accounts.
The US$300,000 from the U.S. Government will enable the SACCOs to issue loans to eligible and vetted youth bunge members to purchase Coca-Cola sodas from Coca-Cola bottlers around Kenya.
As part of the loan package, the borrower will also receive Coca-Cola branded equipment to support sales. At least 70 percent of beneficiaries will be female.
Through this partnership, the Youth SACCOs and Coca-Cola will create economic opportunities for 5,000 eligible youth bunge members in up to 30 counties in Kenya.
The Coca-Cola 5by20 programme aims to assist 5,000,000 young women entrepreneurs by 2020.