The Kenya School of Government in collaboration with the Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) are working on a unique creative arts development curriculum which aims to support youth innovation centres across the country to become sources of jobs and wealth creation.
The partnership, which started with the launch of a youth empowerment centre, in Isiolo in October, is meant to use film and arts as tools for youth empowerment.
The aim of the founders of the initiative is to encourage talented youths from the grassroots to pursue their creativity to create jobs and ensure they are not condemned to misery and depression just because they are not gifted in academics.
According to KFCB CEO Ezekiel Mutua, the nine-month curriculum will be hands-on and will be conducted virtually, although the final three months will entail practicals where learners will be expected to produce real products in their chosen areas.
"We expect anyone who joins the course to learn music and to be able to produce a song and a feature film to qualify for graduation," said Dr Mutua.
Dr Mutua said that most potential film makers in Kenya lack funding, technical skills and understanding of how the market works. This disenfranchises many talented youths who see their creativity and passion go to waste, he said.
Additionally, many are hampered by the fact that filmmaking is an expensive venture.
According to Dr Mutua, not many youths are able to raise enough capital for training, let alone investing in film as a business, unlike in places such as the United States, India, China and several western countries. At the same time, there are very few film schools in Kenya and the ones that exist are way beyond the affordability of ordinary young Kenyans. This is where this partnership comes in, said Dr Mutua.
KFCB and the Kenya School of Government’s partnership aims supporting youths to acquire training and linking them with the international market through technology.
"We hope to leverage on new technologies to help our youths to market their films globally," said Dr Mutua when he opened the one-week retreat for creative arts curriculum development and harmonisation at Lake Naivasha Resort.
The programme will be talent-based as opposed to academic qualifications.
“It's about passion for creativity as opposed to academic qualifications," he reiterated.
The two government bodies have already selected a team of specialists to come up with a solid curriculum for the beneficiaries of the programme.
According to Dr Mutua, two teams, each from KFCB and KSG, have been selected to develop the curriculum and guide its implementation.
The nine-month training scheduled to begin in January 2021 will see 50 youths enjoy a full scholarship from the KFClB to undertake the course which will be executed through the Kenya School of Government.
The programme will benefit youths aged between 18-35 years, and the qualifications for admission will be passion and motivation in diverse genres of art such as photography, film, music and comedy among others.
The programme has already attracted the support of UNDP, Huawei and other donors.
KFCB hopes to roll out such training across all counties in the country and is already in communication with the county governments of Kakamega, Siaya, Mombasa, Machakos, Kiambu, Homa Bay and Kisii to replicate the curriculum in their regions.
The programme will be coordinated by renowned film producer and trainer Rachael Wainaina. It will entail a six-month online course work and three-months practicals in which the trainees will be expected to produce works of art based on their areas of interest, talent and expertise that they will have acquired during the six-month course.
“The creative economy is a major frontier of job creation and with Covid-19 pandemic necessitating a shift to increased use of technology for business, that is why we have structured the programme this way,” said Ms Wainaina.
Besides Ms Wainaina, others charged with the curriculum’s implementation are KFCB's Joel Wamalwa (manager, licence and compliance), Nelly Muluka, (corporate communications), Paul Mbui (manager, Nairobi Film Festival Centre) and Marcos Masuga (head of licensing).
From the Kenya School of Government there is Jane Mwangi (head of curriculum), Elizabeth Owino (principal lecturer), Peter Quest, the head of Youth Empowerment Centre and Guru Wario a researcher.