The Government of Kenya has recognized the immense potential of the cultural industries, in particular music and visual arts, for growth, employment and development. In 2008, the National Policy on Culture and Heritage was created, followed by a national long term development policy framework, the Kenya vision 2030. Since then, numerous infrastructures and institutions have been developed, leading to training and awareness-raising activities, exhibitions and festivals.
Although the country’s creative and cultural sector is growing fast, it faces challenges. Artists’ access to training opportunities remains limited in rural areas and access to both national and international marketplaces remains difficult. Given the opportunities presented by ICTs to improve market access on a local and global scale, the Department of Culture recognized the need to provide ICT training and managing skills to musicians and artists. This need for a nation-wide training program led the Kenyan government to seek technical assistance from UNESCO.
This technical assistance mission aimed at developing a training program on cultural policies and help musicians and visual artists acquire the necessary skills to develop marketing strategies. The goal was to reinforce the sustainability and competitiveness of Kenyan cultural industries and their products, by increasing their access to national, regional and international markets.
- Following 35 hours of seminars, participants gained valuable knowledge about cultural policies, intellectual property law, contracts, relevant international conventions and practical skills;
- The training inspired participants to create the Kenyan Creative Practitioners Association which committed to carrying forward teachings learned and articulated during training;
- The national team has identified Kenyan experts able to continue mentoring participants as the program is rolled out in the rest of the country;
- A SWOT analysis of the creative and cultural industries in Kenya was produced.
The mission also led to the elaboration of a set of recommendations to improve the culture sector in Kenya.
Please consult here a summary of the overall results of the missions and the future steps to be taken.
During their first country mission, the experts:
- carried out a thorough assessment of the opportunities for the cultural and creative industries in the country.
- participated in a series of preparatory meetings.
- consulted a large number of local stakeholders, including the Kenya Copyright Board, Kenya ICT Board, many civil society organizations and an IBM task group that had undertaken research on Kenya’s creative sector.
- met a number of local artists and music associations, and visited music and performing arts venues. This enabled the design of a program for local trainers tailored to the specificities of Kenya.
This preparatory work facilitated the second country mission which focused on specific training activities for thirty local trainers from the music and visual arts sector on the following four core themes awareness of cultural policies and 2005 Convention; general marketing and funding, business management, record production and label development; training in ICTs, technology and e-commerce, copyright issues and creative enterprise building.