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The Kenya National Commission for UNESCO hosted a three-day national workshop from January 26-28, 2021 to increase the capacity to collect cultural statistics for the sustainable development of the cultural and creative sectors in Kenya. The three-day workshop, which is part of a UNESCO participation program, drew over 45 representatives from government institutions, civil society organizations and cultural officials from the county. It was led by four national experts – Prof. Kimani Njogu, Ms. Joy Mboya, Mr. Peter Nderitu and Dr. Garnette Oluoch-Olunya, who participated in a UNESCO Expert Training Workshop on Cultural Indicators in June 2020, introducing them to the technical methodology and guidance on data collection and implementation of the Cultural Indicators 2030 at national and local level.
In her opening speech by video message, Prof. Jyoti Hosagrahar, Deputy Director of the UNESCO World Heritage Center, presented the thematic indicators for measuring the role of culture and its contribution to the United Nations 2030 Agenda. She stressed that this broader and more differentiated approach to measuring the contribution and support of culture to the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals would enable greater protection of cultural heritage and the promotion of creative industries for sustainable urban development.
The Secretary General of the National UNESCO Commission for Kenya, Ms. Evangeline Njoka, emphasized the topicality of this initiative, as it coincides with the “Year of Arts, Culture and Heritage” of the African Union and the “International Year of the Creative Economy for Sustainability” The United Nations Coincides Development ”, both in 2021, calling on the AU and UN member states to renew and strengthen policies to protect and promote cultural heritage and promote creativity.
The workshop moderators shared the framework for the indicators Culture | 2030, which describes four key thematic dimensions: environment and resilience; Prosperity & livelihood; Knowledge and skills; and inclusion and participation to make the contribution of culture to sustainable development visible.
Mr. Benjamin Muchiri of the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics gave a detailed presentation on the classification of cultural industries in official statistics, including a demonstration of the design of a data collection tool for the cultural sector.
Invited as a special guest, Dr. Biggie Samwanda, Director of Arts, Culture Promotion and Development at the Zimbabwean Ministry of Youth, Sports, Arts and Recreation shared Zimbabwe’s experience with building structures to ensure that cultural statistics are captured in national surveys and processes. He explained the successful strategy of sending a culture official from the Ministry of Culture to the National Statistics Bureau, whose job it was to collect data on culture. This mechanism not only enabled the sector to collect reliable data to insert through appropriate channels, but also had access to relevant data to influence cultural policy. Additionally, he showed how Zimbabwe has systematically built institutions that enable the cultural sector to thrive, particularly the National Arts Council, which plays a pivotal role in organizing action and building partnerships in support of the public and private sectors. As Kenya begins collecting cultural indicators and is preparing to set up a National Arts Council, the lessons learned from Zimbabwe’s experiences were of particular interest to the Kenyan participants.