Sponsorship gives boost to arts industry

President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto engage the Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) CEO Ezekeil Mutua (second left) and the Kenya National Schools and Colleges Drama Festival Chairman Prof Christopher Odhiambo (middle) in the presence of the First Lady Margaret Kenyatta during the winners gala at the State House Nairobi.

The creative industry is set for a boost following sponsorship of the annual schools and colleges festival by the Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB).

KFCB will be the title sponsor for the 60th edition of the festival next year, with the outlay expected to be between Sh6 million and Sh10 million.

This was announced by the board’s chief executive, Ezekiel Mutua, when he met with President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House last week.

“We are ready to go as the main sponsors beginning next year,” he told the President, who in turn asked the fete Chairman Christopher Odhiambo to work on modalities of the sponsorship.

Dr Mutua said the arts segment has grown to be a new frontier for job creation and said it deserves support from all quarters.

According to the World Intellectual Property Organisation, the creative sector contributes up to five per cent of Kenya’s GDP.

This includes genres such as writing, music, film and theatre as well as painting and sculptures.

Kenya’s young population and growth of Internet use have drawn more people towards seeking livelihoods in the creative industry.

Accommodate film

The annual drama fete that sees over 150,000 participants nationally has grown to accommodate film.

“We had over 300 films entered at the fete this year and the quality has been impressive,” said Dr Simon Peter Otieno, the coordinator of the film festival at the fete, now in its fifth year.

The University of Nairobi lecturer disclosed that the festival has over 3,000 high quality films in its collections.

The Government releases over Sh600 million annually for co-curricular activities, but the money barely covers the costs leaving schools to struggle in the face of low capitation.

Private schools largely dominate the event because parents pay a little more for the acitivities.

“KFCB’s contribution will enable a higher level of inclusivity in our programmes,” said Odhiambo, who called upon other benefactors to come on board.