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Toast to Standard Group as it turns a century old

COUNTIES
By Michael Chepkwony and Titus Too | December 3rd 2018

Standard Media Group's Human Resource Manager Nicholas Siwatom (2nd right), flanked by Sarova Hotels Senior Accounts Manager Carolene Mbugua (right) leads his team in a cake mixing at Sarova Taita Hills Lodge Restuarant in Taita Taveta County. [Maarufu Mohamed/Standard]

The rich heritage of The Standard Group, Kenya Railways Corporation and Sarova Hotels played out during an event to mark 100 years since the media house was registered as a company a century ago in 1918.

The three entities re-lived Kenya's a rich history in the country dating back to the construction of the railway line and the First World War.

And the marking of The Standard Group centenary jelled well with the Standard Gauge Railway train that was launched last year, this time billed as Madaraka Express. 

The Standard Group prides itself as a leader that has advanced economic development in the country by highlighting social, political, and economic issues that have positively impacted national development.

It was listed company number three of 1918 and shares a common history with Kenya Railways Corporation, started 122 years ago, and Sarova Hotels, which was started in 1902.

The Saturday event to mark the Standard Group's centenary celebrations had great significance as it was hosted by Sarova Hotels at the Taita Hills wildlife sanctuary.

Partners and staff from Nairobi were ferried by Kenya Railways' Madaraka Express. One coach was a moving museum telling the story of three companies.

In Voi, Taita Taveta County, The Standard Group Chief Executive Officer Orlando Lyomu underscored the importance of partnerships, saying the company was working with other companies to be part of development movers as the Government seeks to achieve its goals through the Big Four agenda.

Mr Lyomu said partnership would make a positive change in all sectors of the economy and that the media group was building a positive impact in public-private partnerships.

Lyomu said The Standard Group, through its various platforms, had introduced new initiatives, including Farm Kenya, Great Places to School and Transform Kenya, to encourage information flow to ordinary citizens and make an impact through awareness creation.

"The future belongs to the brave, those who dream and dare. The challenge has been how to have the right partnership for impact. We have the ability to change the narrative. There will always be politics and current affairs, but I feel we need to think of impact, which is using what you have to transform lives," he said.

He promised to change the narrative of pushing for degree education at the expense of acquiring skills from middle-level colleges.

"We have worked with the regulators to ensure students are sensitised to join middle-level colleges, where they can acquire important skills needed in various sectors," said Lyomu.

He lauded the impact-oriented partnerships, saying, "When you set out to make an impact, you find yourself fulfilling the needs of people, not wants."

He also said the education sector in Kenya needed a shift from the normal ranking even as he revealed that the recent approach initiated by The Standard Group under Great Places to School where institutions based on character development and talent nurturing take the lead.

Kenya Railways Acting Managing Director Philip Mainga said partners should consider future plans that can be developed to create an impact in the lives of Kenyans.

He congratulated The Standard Group for being in business for over a century and praised the company for maintaining the lead over the years in informing, educating and entertaining the public through its various platforms.

Standard Group Chairman Robin Sewell praised the company's staff for embracing talent to advance the needs of the audience despite the belief that media are only about politics, broadening the scope in coverage.

"Quality of the staff and the management has been the driving force in the growth of development of the company," said Mr Sewell.

Those who attended the function included Siddharth Chatterjee (United Nations Resident Coordinator), June and Doris Moi, Standard Group Editorial Director Joseph Odindo, Board Director Juliana Rotich, Sarova Manager Willie Mwadilo, Francis Muhindi (founder and group CEO, Manpower Services Limited and former MD, Standard), and Francis Theuri (CEO, Automobile Association of Kenya).

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