PepsiCo Pakistan and the United Nations Development Programme in Pakistan (UNDP) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Islamabad today. Krista Pilot, PepsiCo Vice President Corporate Affairs for Asia, Middle East and North Africa (AMENA) and Ignacio Artaza, UNDP Country Director, signed the MoU, which provides a framework of cooperation and facilitate and strengthen collaboration between the two to assist young people into the workforce.
As highlighted by UNDP Pakistan’s National Human Development Report, more than 29% of country’s population consists of young people between the ages of 15-29 years, who live in an environment of multidimensional and intersectional vulnerabilities to these challenges. Pakistan’s ‘youth bulge’ offers unique opportunities for the country’s social and economic uplift.
Both UNDP Pakistan and PepsiCo have programmes aimed at harnessing the latent potential that this youth bulge presents. UNDP’s ‘Kamyab Jawan Pakistan or the Youth Empowerment Programme (YEP) aims at creating opportunities for knowledge, skills and leadership development; active citizen and policy engagement; and economic empowerment while creating alternative and constructive narratives, pathways and opportunities that interest, influence and drive youth and other key stakeholders, including PepsiCo to further the Agenda 2030.
As one of Pakistan’s leading food and beverage companies, PepsiCo has been part of the nation’s business community for over 50 years. Together with its franchised bottling partners and distributors, the company creates more than 60,000 direct and indirect employment opportunities for Pakistani citizens, and further supports rural economies by maintaining local supply chains for products such as Lay’s and Kurkure.
PepsiCo Pakistan recognizes the need to support the country’s growing young population as they come into the workforce. The partnership with UNDP aims to facilitate opportunities for young people to develop desirable job skills, such as communication, teamwork, time-management and leadership, to increase their potential for successful employment. PepsiCo will work with UNDP to ensure program participants will include youth from the areas of Punjab, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
PepsiCo’s initial investment will enable the Amal Academy, a Lahore-based NGO, to conduct a pilot skills development program with 1,000 young adults from these priority provinces in 2019. The program will be facilitated at local university campuses through weekend classes run over a three-month period. Following the learnings from the pilot, the aim is to scale the program to include up to 50,000 young adults over five to ten years. Since 2013, Amal Academy has successfully trained university students in soft skills that are highly sought-after by industry experts.
“Through our partnership with UNDP, PepsiCo is proud to be taking actions that will help to fulfil the great potential we see in Pakistan’s young people,” said Ms. Pilot. “Supporting youth, who account for over 60% of Pakistan’s population, is in PepsiCo’s DNA and builds on our history of supporting young people’s ambitions in cricket and music.”
“The signing of this MoU between UNDP and PepsiCo presents an exciting opportunity to provide badly-needed jobs to young graduates through skills training and job placement” expressed Mr. Artaza.