US technology giant Google is targeting to financially support about 500 vulnerable women in Kenya, who have lost their sources of income due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The women, who will be identified and selected through a vigorous process, will receive monetary support of Sh6,500 per month for five months as well as a business investment grant worth Sh112,500 per individual.
In a webinar with the media Friday, Google East Africa County Director Agnes Gathaiya noted that the Covid-19 pandemic has affected many households, businesses and individuals across the country.
She said the Google initiative was the organisation's way of supporting Kenya's economic recovery plan.
"As Google we are seeking to support in four key areas, which include support the most vulnerable women in the society, support job seekers or those who have lost their jobs, help small business enterprises and facilitate e-learning," she said.
"The Sh125 million grant is aimed at helping the most affected women start their own businesses or find new ways of supporting themselves financially. They will also be equipped with livelihood improvement activities and training to promote entrepreneurship and financial literacy," she added.
A report by the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) on the business perspectives on the impact of Covid-19 showed that a month after the first Covid-19 case, more than 61 per cent of business reported to have directly felt the effects of the pandemic.
This has consequently, resulted to some business reducing their staff, enforcing pay cuts, or closing completely. As of June, at least one million Kenyans had lost their jobs or had been put on indefinite unpaid leave due to effects of Covid-19.
In response to this, Google has pledged to support 500,000 small and medium enterprises by getting them online through Google My Business that not only makes these businesses visible but also open to local and international markets.
Similarly, more than one million individuals will benefit from free online courses on digital marketing and soft skills that will improve their employability post-Covid-19.
"The platform, which will run until end of 2021, will also be useful for those seeking to upscale their skills for the new digital economy. In addition, there will be certifiable courses from November which can be presented to potential employers," Ms Gathaiya said.
Google will further provide Sh75 million in IT support scholarships through Google.org which will be focused on communities and job seekers who cannot afford data. This 5-course certificate will include an innovative curriculum designed to prepare individuals for an entry-level role in IT support.
"Job seekers can access the Grow with Google training portal to help grow their career or business at their own pace, with flexible and personalised training courses designed to build their confidence and help them thrive," Ms Gathaiya said.
In the education sector, Google, in collaboration with different stakeholders and partners, will be targeting 500,000 students to continue with e-learning through Google for Education.
On Friday, the company launched Google Teacher Centre, which aims to train 25,000 teachers to allow for easier integration of Google tools into their classroom while supporting them with the best strategies to reach more students using technology.