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Education on the Coke side of life

NAIROBI, September 10 – Machakos town in Eastern Province will in the next few years have a fully-fledged University.

This follows the handing over of the former East Kenya Bottlers site by Nairobi Bottlers which is owned by Coca Cola to the Machakos Catholic Diocese.

Nairobi Bottlers chairman Chris Kirubi Wednesday said they would provide the 27.5 acres plant along with all the buildings and facilities contained there.

“The institution will start operating as the Machakos Institute of Development Studies (MIDS) and then be upgraded into a technical university within a few years,” he said.

He pledged that his company would put in Sh2 for every Sh1 that the Catholic Church would invest in the project, which had already been approved by the Ministry of Higher Education.

The facility, which was closed three years ago, was worth millions of shillings.

He said they would ensure that the project succeeds to assist young people in the country to gain valuable knowledge through education. He added that Kenya could only progress if it created a big pool of independent, educated thinkers.

“If you want to help anybody, don’t give them fish; show them how to do it themselves,” he restated the popular quote.

The institution, Kirubi added would have five board members with two officials from Nairobi Bottlers on the board and welcomed support from all stakeholders including the government, the local community and politicians in order to make their dream a reality.

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Nairobi Bottlers Managing Director Darly Wilson disclosed that they had already developed a master plan that would outline how the facility would be transformed into an institution of higher learning.

He said the transformation would be done in phases with the first plan estimated to cost Sh35million.

The funds would come from Nairobi Bottlers, the Catholic Church and would also involved external stakeholders such as their suppliers, and the government.

Wilson added that they would source an expert who would help them to develop the college’s curriculum and a dean to advise the board.

Machakos Catholic Diocese Bishop Martin Kivuva lauded the Nairobi Bottlers company for the gesture and added that they would start the operations as soon as the current tenants (contractors building the local road) move out.

Most of the amenities were in a good condition, he explained although some modernization of some infrastructure would be needed.

“We will soon let you know when we are opening the doors,” he added when asked about when the first intake would be.

He said that they would be offering different courses depending on the needs of the community and the job market.

“We will start with IT and already have about 70 students who are learning in another facility,” he added.

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Given the size of the site, the Bishop was confident that they would eventually be able to accommodate more students.

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