Over 200 film producers and creative performers have in the past two days thronged the Nakuru Players Theatre which is hosting the second recording edition of the Sh 100 million stimulus programme that kicked off in Nairobi earlier this month.
The inaugural recording under the stimulus package in line with the order issued by President Uhuru Kenyatta on April 6, this year directing the Sports, Arts and Social Development Fund (SASDF) to avail the money to cushion those in the creative industry during the Covid-19 pandemic was held at the Kenya National Theatre in Nairobi.
The participants included artists, musicians, poets, actors, storytellers and spoken word artists who recorded diverse stories of Covid-19 and how communities are coping with the pandemic, while film makers showcased productions promoting Creative Community Education on the disease.
Governor Lee Kinyanjui who graced all the recording sessions informed the participants that the Sh100 million was not a reservoir of free funds, but a provision to educate, innovate, sustain and improve the sector’s output.
“We thank the President for considering the youth to use their talent to earn a living during this difficult time. This is a noble venture that has adopted a Work for Pay model where money will be paid against the production of works geared towards promoting Covid-19 Creative Community Education.
“Most artists have been blocked from accessing spaces and institutions where they would ordinarily showcase the products of their artistic ingenuity. My administration will continue engaging the youth to create awareness, sensitization and educational messages on Covid-19,” stated Kinyanjui.
The County boss noted that before the outbreak and spread of Covid-19, the creative sector had been poised to contribute over Sh165 billion to Kenya’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) this year.
Photography, crafts, cartoons, print-making and ceramics that reinforce messages of Covid-19 and advocate safe behavior change among Kenyans are also eligible for funding under the SASDF stimulus package.
County Executive Committee Member for Youth, Culture, Gender and Social Services CECM Engineer Lucy Kariuki encouraged youth in the country to submit their proposals for the stimulus package through an online portal set up by the State Department for Culture and Heritage.
She said her department was linking visual artists who produce murals and graffiti in various public spaces and public parks reinforcing health education to combat Covid-19 with the National Museums of Kenya (NMK) to enable them benefit from the fund.
Engineer Kariuki said over 25 percent of creative performers, artists and film producers in the devolved unit are vulnerable groups including persons living with disabilities.
The project is set to supplement government’s efforts in combating Covid-19 and its effects by engaging and mobilizing the cultural and creative artistes in strategic messaging on behaviour change to flatten the coronavirus transmission curve including, but not limited to social distancing, hand washing and wearing personal protective equipment such as masks.
It is estimated that the programme will directly benefit over 20,000 musicians, actors and artists from all the 47 counties and over 80,000 additional people from the beneficiaries’ households, 30 percent of whom are vulnerable groups and persons living with disabilities.
“We have taken into account that Nakuru has over 15,000 creative artists and the available funding may not cover all of them. The process of picking successful proposals has been transparent and competitive” said the CEC.
According to the regulations establishing the Sports, Arts and Social Development Fund (SASDF), the persons who can access the fund for resources are classified under sports organizations, professional sportspersons, or government implementing agencies.
During SASDF’s launch Sports, Heritage and Culture Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed said the National government shall endeavor to guarantee participation in all the 47 counties, ensure gender parity and pay particular emphasis on the 30 per cent reservation for vulnerable groups, including Persons Living with Disability.
She assured the industry practitioners and the general public that the selection process will be fair, transparent and accountable.
The Permanent Presidential Music Commission (PPMC) will facilitate the participation of musicians, DJs, dancers and Acapella groups in all their categories.
The Department of Culture will cover comedians and visual artists, Kenya Cultural Centre will be responsible for actors, poets, story-tellers, theatre, including radio theatre and mimes, the National Museums of Kenya will oversee mural and graffiti artists while the Kenya Film Commission will manage all matters film and content creation.
By Anne Mwale