Stimulating creativity at grassroots
DAILY NATION By JOE MUCHERU
Friday March 24, 2017
On Friday last week, I inaugurated a recording studio in the Koma-Rock area of Matungulu constituency in Machakos County that signals the beginning of the setting up of grassroots studios in three other counties to stimulate creativity.
Studio Mashinani is a project through which the government is taking recording studios to the grassroots where the majority of talented youth reside.
Five studios — two in Nairobi and one each in Machakos, Mombasa and Kisumu counties — have been completed and plans are under way to eventually spread out to all the counties. The studios are fitted with modern high-quality recording equipment.
The inspiration behind the concept is that Kenya has enormous creativity and unexploited talent.
The missing link is the lack of, and in some cases inaccessibility to opportunities for youth to exploit their potential.
Many of talented youth from poor backgrounds cannot afford the high cost of producing and recording their music and other creative content in commercial studios.
Studio Mashinani will bridge this gap by providing state-of-the-art equipment and mentorship as well as access to platforms to commercialise their productions.
It leverages on talent as an asset that can pay, hence the mantra ‘Talent ni Kazi’, and that if properly harnessed, the creative energy and artistry of youth can turn around their fortunes.
Indeed, the creative economy has huge career prospects that Kenya can exploit to sustain the livelihoods of our talented young people, having generated business empires through entertainment ecosystems such as America’s Hollywood, India’s Bollywood, Nigeria’s Nollywood and now our very own Riverwood.
This demonstrates government focus on alternative and innovative ways of creating jobs for youth, considering that only 70,000 out of the 800,000 young people who enter the job market annually succeed in securing professional employment in the formal sector.
The rest join the ‘kibarua’ workforce and hustle for their day-to-day needs.
The creative economy has huge career prospects that Kenya can exploit to sustain the livelihoods of talented youth and the government is trailblazing by creating an enabling environment.
Studio Mashinani makes it affordable to produce, record, popularise and commercialise talents from all over the country through KBC’s newly launched youth television channel (Y254) and other digital platforms.
We envisage that the productions will increase supply of local content to broadcast stations and also boost their efforts to comply with the statutory 45 to 60 per cent requirement for local content.
The Studio Mashinani Project is part of the Ajira Digital Programme — a broader initiative that provides a remarkable digital solution to youth unemployment.
It seeks to introduce unemployed youth to online work, providing training, resources and infrastructure they require to succeed in the digital work space.
I encourage youth to visit the Ajira portal www.ajiradigital.go.ke, and register for the programme.
The online sector has huge promise for solving the unemployment challenge. Some 40,000 Kenyans earn a living through online work.
The government is leveraging on this opportunity to scale up the numbers and has invested heavily in awareness creation, sensitisation and training about online work to grow a critical mass of online workers.
The workers are expected to mentor thousands more to exploit this opportunity and contribute to the attainment of the one-million jobs annual target.
The government will provide free Wi-Fi, high-speed Internet connectivity and digital devices in the 290 constituencies through the Constituency Innovation Hubs project.
Each constituency will have four innovation hubs to enable young people at the grassroots level to access online work and other digital opportunities.
Already, Limuru and Mathioya constituencies have hubs that have become beehives of activity with hundreds of young people frequenting them to access and complete online work and other transactions.
We encourage more MPs to sign up and allow their constituents to also access free Wi-Fi and faster Internet speeds.