A US$6 million programme supported by Sightsavers aims to increase the inclusion of people with disabilities, particularly women, and improve labour rights at two large Kenyan companies.
The Global Labor Program, part of the Inclusive Futures initiative, is funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID). It will work with East African Breweries Limited (EABL), owned by Diageo, and Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (Kenya) to ensure inclusion and labour rights are a key part of the companies’ supply and distribution chains.
The two companies are thought to support the employment of 47,000 farmers, more than 9,000 distribution workers and about 65,000 retailers.
Simon Brown, who leads Sightsavers’ work on disability-inclusive economic empowerment, said: “I’m thrilled that we have secured more than US$6 million to try to change the way big businesses work. It’s a very bold programme: what we learn will not only benefit people who are frequently marginalised, but everyone working in supply and distribution chains. And hopefully all big businesses will be paying attention and replicating the approach.”
The five-year programme builds on existing work by Inclusive Futures, funded by UK aid in partnership with EABL, which gave farmers with disabilities the skills and resources to supply sorghum crops to brew lager.
Sightsavers Kenya country director Moses Chege explained that women, people with disabilities and young people often face unequal treatment in work, despite global improvements in labour rights legislation and policy. He said: “What we achieve will be used to demonstrate to industries and governments how to improve the employment of people with disabilities and demonstrate how labour rights can be strengthened for everyone.”
For more information about Inclusive Futures, see www.inclusivefutures.org.