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UNESCO leads discussion on Kenya Youth Participation in Culture Development

© Candice Seplow on Unsplash

The UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa, in partnership with the Kenya National Commission for UNESCO (KNATCOM), hosted a workshop targeting Kenyan youth to participate in the development of the Culture and Creative Sector. This workshop, which took place on 12 May 2021, was held within the context of the Kenya ArtXchange programme spearheaded by  International Committee for the Development of Peoples (CISP) Kenya. 

 Attended by over 130 participants, the workshop helped raise awareness about the policies and measures for sustainable culture development in Kenya, and inspired greater participation by the youth. Panelists from UNESCO, KNATCOM, Ministry of Culture, and the Creative Economy Working Group made various presentations on 1)UNESCO Conventions in the field of culture with particular focus on the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, and the 1980 Recommendation concerning the Status of the Artist; 2) Kenya Culture Policy Framework and Engagement with the Youth; and 3) The role public participation plays in the development of an enabling policy environment. An insightful session on gaps and opportunities for youth participation, with experiences shared by representatives from Nakuru and Embu Counties, and recommendations on long-term youth engagement was also held. 

While sharing key highlights of the Kenya National Culture and Heritage Policy, one of the main issues highlighted was better communication of the existing policies, programmes and opportunities available for the youth in this sector. The Ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage will strive to enhance communication in order to reach this important section of our population.
Dr. Lagat Kiprop, Director for Culture, Ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage, Kenya
UNESCO recognizes the important role an enabling environment plays in supporting the creative practitioners to hone their craft, and access training, funding and markets. It is therefore imperative that we make the connection between policy and practice, leverage the policy environment, and positively influence the creative value chain.
Ann Therese Ndong-Jatta, Director, UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa

This important dialogue contributes to African Union Year for Arts, Culture and Heritage, whose theme is "Levers for building the Africa we want." Valuable perspectives on strengthening synergies between the county and central government, civil society and practitioners were shared to promote greater cooperation between all stakeholders involved in addressing long-term issues that affect the creative sector in Kenya.