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 WOMEN ENTERPRISE FUND AND THE COCA-COLA INITIATIVE ECONOMICALLY EMPOWERS 200,000 KENYAN WOMEN 

Joint initiative has supported 199,120 Kenyan women with business & finance skills training in less than three years; expands ambitions to reach 500,000 women by 2019

NAIROBI, Kenya, March 8, 2017 – In recognition of International Women’s Day, Women Enterprise Fund (WEF) and The Coca-Cola Company today announced that almost 200,000 Kenyan women have now participated in a joint women’s economic empowerment program which was first introduced in early 2014. The initiative also represents the single largest global program in Coca-Cola’s 5by20 effort to economically empower five million women worldwide by 2020, and will now enter a new phase and be expanded to reach more than 500,000 Kenyan women by 2019.

          The public-private partnership aims to address and remove barriers that women may experience in creating economic opportunity by providing access to business skills training, financial services, assets including coolers, marketing materials and products as well as providing access to peer networks through a business club for mentoring and ideas sharing. By the end of 2016, 199,120 Kenyan women had participated in the Shopkeeper Training and Resources (STAR) program throughout Kenya following an initial pilot program undertaken with just 140 women. Following participation in the program, it is estimated that more than 26 women groups are now employed within the Coca-Cola value-chain, more than 15 are in regular employment and 5 have established their own business.

          Women Enterprise Fund officers were initially trained by the Coca-Cola team to deploy business skills training for women throughout Kenya. To date, 866,919 women have been trained on entrepreneurship and business management skills. WEF has also continued to invest in capacity building programmes to ensure that the uptake of 30% government procurement opportunities increases and benefits the women, youth and Person’s With Disability. Through LPO financing, the target group is able to access individual loans of up to Ksh. 2 million to service their orders. The Fund has also enhanced the lending cycles from Ksh.500,000 to Ksh. 750,000 for the group lending model popularly known as the “chamas”.

It is estimated that Kenyan women account for 20% spending on grocery and household goods, therefore ensuring the program is helping create new economic opportunities for both participants and for their local communities.

The Women Enterprise Fund is a Kenyan government organization under the Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs that seeks to empower women through the provision of credit and capacity building. Formed in 2007, the Fund has disbursed loans totaling Kshs. 9.7 billion to 1,326,512 women beneficiaries (72,033 groups) and the loan repayment rate stands at 92%.

Through this partnership, WEF aims to empower one million women in Kenya by 2019. Additional partners in the golden triangle initiative that brings together capabilities from across the private sector, public sector and civil society include Hand in Hand International, Export Promotion Council, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology and SNV Netherlands.

“Overcoming the stubborn and numerous barriers that exist for women in capturing economic opportunity can make a tremendous difference both to individual lives but also in supporting regional economic growth,” said Dr Susan Mboya-Kidero, Group Director for women’s economic empowerment, The Coca-Cola Company. “We are truly inspired by the passion of our partners and the 200,000 women who have participated in this 5by20 program to date, and we are delighted to be expanding this program to help fulfil the dreams of even more remarkable Kenyan women over the next three years.”

Having participated in the program, Seline Achieng of Lurambi Hope Women Group was previously a small scale trader, started selling sodas to boost her income from the retail shop. Currently, Ms. Achieng is planning to expand her business to Busia County by opening a distributor store. She says ‘I have been able to increase my stock and pay school fees for the orphaned relatives who are under my care, I am a dignified woman through the support I have received from WEF’

“Women form the cornerstone of our communities across the length and breadth of Kenya, and we are committed to ensuring they have access to the expertise, education and support that will allow them to prosper and succeed in business,” said Eng. Charles Mwirigi, CEO, Women Enterprise Fund. “We are extremely encouraged by the positive progress we have made with The Coca-Cola Company and other partners to date in transforming the lives of more than 1.3 million women throughout Kenya. We are excited to see how this program will continue to expand over the next two years.”

For media enquiries

Emily Waita, Public Affairs and Communications

The Coca-Cola Company

+254728335498

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Notes to editors

About The Coca-Cola Company

The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO) is the world's largest beverage company, refreshing consumers with more than 500 sparkling and still brands and more than 3,800 beverage choices. Led by Coca-Cola, one of the world's most valuable and recognizable brands, our company’s portfolio features 20 billion-dollar brands, 18 of which are available in reduced-, low- or no-calorie options. Our billion-dollar brands include Diet Coke, Coca-Cola Zero, Fanta, Sprite, Dasani, vitaminwater, Powerade, Minute Maid, Simply, Del Valle, Georgia and Gold Peak. Through the world's largest beverage distribution system, we are the No. 1 provider of both sparkling and still beverages. More than 1.9 billion servings of our beverages are enjoyed by consumers in more than 200 countries each day. With an enduring commitment to building sustainable communities, our company is focused on initiatives that reduce our environmental footprint, create a safe, inclusive work environment for our associates, and enhance the economic development of the communities where we operate. Together with our bottling partners, we rank among the world's top 10 private employers with more than 700,000 system associates. For more information, visit Coca-Cola Journey at www.coca-colacompany.com, follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/CocaColaCo, visit our blog, Coca-Cola Unbottled, at www.coca-colablog.com or find us on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/company/the-coca-cola-company.

About Women’s Enterprise Fund

Women Enterprise Fund is a Semi Autonomous Government Agency under the Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs that promotes promoting the realization of 1st and 5th Sustainable Development Goals on poverty reduction, gender equality and women empowerment respectively. The Fund is a Vision 2030 flagship project under the social pillar that seeks to make fundamental changes in four areas namely; Opportunities, Empowerment, Capabilities and Vulnerabilities. The vision of the Women Enterprise Fund is ‘a transformed Kenyan woman contributing to sustainable socioeconomic development.’ And the mission is ‘to mobilize resources for sustainable access to affordable financial and business support services to empower Kenyan women.’

Since inception, the Fund has received Kshs. 3.9 Billion from the National Treasury and cumulatively disbursed loans totaling Kshs. 9.7 billion to 1,326,512 women beneficiaries, (72,033 groups). The Loan Repayment Rate stands at 92%. Through the various partnerships that the Fund has engaged in, no. 866,919 women have undergone various training to empower them socially and economically. The Fund’s programme is built on the opportunities that lie in strengthening women’s entrepreneurship and improving their access to credit and business support services in the sectors where the majority of women’s businesses operate. The Fund has a robust ICT infrastructure that supports and enhances efficiency and effectiveness in service delivery and has been at the forefront of employing technology to serve Kenyan women efficiently as is evident in the use of MPesa for loan repayments, a robust internal system and techno-savvy modes of communication evident by the recognition through the ICT Association of Kenya (ICTAK) Award 2014 “Best use of ICT (State Corporation Category)”. For more information visit Women Enterprise Fund Website on www.wef.co.ke; hotline No. 0714 606 845; email us on: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.;

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