, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 26 – Coca Cola has set aside Sh104 million for youth and women empowerment as Kenya prepares to celebrate 50 years of independence.
Coca Cola East Africa General Manager Peter Njonjo said on Tuesday that the money would see 13,000 women and youths get job opportunities by mid 2014.
He explained that they would be identified through the already established Uwezo Fund but would get direct funding from the Coca Cola kitty.
“As part of this partnership the Ministry of Devolution and Planning will identify eligible women and youths from across the country to take part in the programme while Coca Cola will provide the seed capital and we will also provide training and mentorship,” he said.
Devolution and Planning Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru added that those who would get funding from Coca Cola would still be eligible for the Uwezo Fund assistance.
She explained that Uwezo and Coca Cola would be partnering to ensure that as many youths as possible get funding.
“Coca Cola is not bringing in their cash to put it into the bank account of Uwezo. Coca Cola is leveraging on the programme so it is not that we are mixing up the money. We are coming up with a complementary activity,” she clarified.
Waiguru further downplayed the challenges that the Uwezo Fund has been facing saying that disbursements will be made soon and that the process of setting up the requisite legislation was on course.
She argued that the political game power over the control of the Fund was healthy but that a clear management structure of the Fund would be known as soon as the laws were cast.
She added that once the law governing the Fund was gazetted by the Attorney General, then money from the Fund would become available.
“Parliament finished with the regulations but we are waiting to receive them. The procedure is that they’ll send them to the Finance Ministry and then they will go to the Attorney General for the final gazettement,” she said.
“After that we should start the process of rolling down the resources and we will work very fast to ensure the money gets down as soon as possible.”
Coca Cola will also donate an additional Sh2 million to specifically mark the [email protected] celebrations.
Sports, Culture and the Arts Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario revealed that the beverages company would be providing soft drinks to Kenyans who will be attending the celebrations as President Uhuru Kenyatta hoists the flag at Uhuru Gardens as was done in 1963, when Kenya gained independence.
“We will have a magnitude of Kenyans gathered there but I’m sure they will be thirsty so Coca Cola will be there to break that thirst,” said Wario.