Empowering people with disabilities in East Africa

Empowering people with disabilities in East Africa

3 Dec 2021

Unemployment and poverty are some of the major challenges facing people with disabilities in Kenya. It is estimated that people with disabilities make up less than 2% of the total Kenyan workforce.

To help address this imbalance, we’ve partnered with Sightsavers, an international NGO promoting the rights of people with disabilities and seeking to build a framework to ensure people with disabilities can participate equally in society. Our first joint project was to bring smallholder farmers with disabilities into our supply chain.

It started in March 2020 when our Kenyan business, Kenya Breweries, recruited 39 farmers with disabilities in Homabay County, western Kenya to plant white sorghum, a vital ingredient for producing our ‘Senator Keg’ beer. By partnering with Sightsavers we had access to their invaluable expertise and network throughout the programme, including ensuring our inclusive recruitment process complied with applicable laws, and mobility assistance for the farmers.

We’re now into year two of the partnership and in 2021, 71 farmers with disabilities took part – almost double the previous year’s participants. Over two tonnes of sorghum for use in production was delivered and the harvests now form part of the 80% of raw materials we source locally in our African markets.

We’ve partnered with Sightsavers, an international

In Nairobi, we have also partnered with Sightsavers to help increase the number of people with disabilities working in the hospitality industry. Supported by Sightsavers, we adapted our Diageo Bar Academy to ensure blind and deaf bartenders can take part in the latest series of bartending training, which covers a wide range of topics from new trends and cocktails to safely reopening venues during covid. The programme hopes to train 10,000 aspiring bartenders over the coming months.

Across East Africa, Sightsavers have ran sessions for Diageo employees and leaders on inclusive leadership – specifically disability inclusion including guidance on communication and recruitment.

Supported by Sightsavers, in Nairobi we adapted ou

Being there for employees and creating a safe and inclusive culture is at the heart of Diageo. When Rosemary Nakuya, a HR Business Partner in Uganda, became visually impaired, we supported her rehabilitation and put measures in place to ensure a smooth return to work, including blind type training and introducing her to an occupational therapist.

Rosemary has been inspired to help others following her experience.

Leading an inclusion and diversity cross functional team, Rosemary is now focused on improving the accessibility of sites at Uganda Breweries Limited (UBL) and is passionate about creating an inclusive workplace. Together with others, she has successfully commissioned a site accessibility audit and coordinated Disability awareness training sessions for all UBL staff.

Rosemary also represents UBL at the Uganda Business Disability Network (UBDN) of which UBL is a founder member.

“My recovery has been hugely helped by the support I received from Diageo. Along with my team, I hope to build more understanding of what it means to be a person with a disability and help create a culture where everyone thrives.”

Rosemary Nakuya

HR Business Partner