OLF Vendor Model
The OLF Vendor Model project emerged from a partnership between the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) USAID/ Southern Africa USAID, Coca Cola (Peninsula Beverages) and the OLIVE LEAF Foundation. A sustainable livelihoods initiative piloted first in Ethiopia by USAID was then adopted in Cape Town, South Africa during May 2007. The OLF Vendor Model not only intends to generate vital household income for Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC), but more importantly seeks to build sustainable financial management, business and entrepreneurial skills among the community’s most at-risk youth. The project began by recruiting youth in the OLIVE LEAF Foundation’s OVC programme (ages of 14-17) to vend Coca Cola products at school and in public recreational facilities.
With funding support from PEPFAR/USAID, the OLIVE LEAF Foundation provides Coca Cola vending machines and umbrellas, as well as all necessary supplies (calculators, cash boxes, stationary, etc) and ongoing training to support their business skill development. The OLIVE LEAF Foundation also requires all vendors to sign a Code of Conduct with contributions from the vendors themselves, and facilitates the process for all participants to open bank accounts so they could save a portion of their savings. Coca Cola provides one vending trolley worth of free stock to get the vendors started in their new business. Vendors sell their cool drinks at schools before the start of each school day, during lunch, and after school. During the holidays, they have special permission from the City of Cape Town’s Sports and Recreation Department to vend at public pools. Once they restock, they are required to save a portion of their income, and contribute an additional portion to their household. As incentives, participants have the opportunity to “shadow” business professionals at the Coca Cola plant. Students are also encouraged to spend the day at the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business’s Ackerman Academy for young entrepreneurs, and envision their future as business professionals. The Coca Cola Vendor Model therefore seeks to not only generate essential income for vulnerable households, but to also establish sustainable and marketable business skills among the participants, which will improve their livelihoods and prospects for the future.
The first team of vendors started their business on December 24, 2007 at Khayelitsha’s community swimming pool. Despite several initial challenges, the project is off to a promising start with 20 vendors, and aims to enrol up to 40 vendors from the OLIVE LEAF Foundation ’s Orphans and Vulnerable Children’s programme by mid-2008. Over time, the OLIVE LEAF Foundation then plans to slowly phase out its level of involvement with the vendors, so that they may be self-sustaining and build their businesses on their own. Both the OLIVE LEAF Foundation and the City of Cape Town feel confident that the project will be able to expand to include youth in additional vulnerable communities in Cape Town in the coming year.
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