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Traders challenged to take advantage of Turkana cultural festival

Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry Turkana Chapter Chairperson Justus Amoni has challenged the local business community to take advantage of upcoming Turkana tourism and cultural festival for the many untapped business opportunities.

The festival will kick off from September 25–27 at Ekaales Centre in Lodwar.

Amoni also challenged the county to invest in Ekalees Centre by planting trees and setting up permanent infrastructure for continuous operationalization of the centre, even after the festival.

He was speaking during a consultative meeting with partners working in Turkana to explore ways of mobilising resources to support the upcoming seventh edition of Turkana Tourism and Cultural Festival.

Deputy County Secretary Joseph Nyang’a thanked the partners for continued support to the government, as he hoped for overwhelming support in the forthcoming festival.

We appreciate your immense support in complementing the government’s efforts through implementation of high-impact projects. We still appeal for your support in making the event a big success next month, he added.

The County Executive for Tourism, Culture, Natural Resources and Climate Change, Dr Iris Mariao, noted that the much-needed strategic partnerships, especially on cluster coordination mechanisms, will help connect partners and investors in expanding resources to meet the financial gaps and create a breakthrough in holding the festival.

Dr. Mariao informed the partners that the 7th edition of Turkana Tourism and Cultural Festival has expanded from showcasing folk dances, Ekimwomwor and Naleyo, throughout the festival to exhibition of various cultural and creative arts products and artifacts.

“This year’s festival will showcase an array of the rich cultural heritage of the Turkana people, including traditional food, colourful Turkana ushanga beadwork, traditional regalia, crafts and artefacts, folk songs and dances, oral narrations of the rich history and lifestyle of the Turkana community. Opportunities for exhibitions and sampling of the hospitality industry, including excursions to Lake Turkana, the world’s largest permanent desert lake, will be on display for our visiting guests,” Mariao stressed.

Additionally, he told the partners that the festival will also bring together the Turkana community, the neighbouring counties, the pastoralists of Kenya, the Ateker communities of Karamojong from Uganda, Toposa from South Sudan and Nyangatom of Ethiopia, as well as their national, regional, international friends and other partners.

He emphasised the overall goal of the festival, which is to position Turkana County as the origin of mankind, the destination of choice for Cultural Tourism and promote indigenous climate change adaptation learning.

The Tourism and Culture Executive identified key areas of support and appealed to partners to consider: publicity and media coverage, greening Ekalees Cultural Centre, sponsorship for exhibitions and promotion of the hospitality sector.

On her part, the Chief Officer for Tourism, Culture and Heritage, Triza Amoni, revealed that her department is at advanced stage of investing and operationalizing the eco-lodges and the central island hiking trail.

She also disclosed, “the future of Ekalees Centre is to be a multi-purpose contemporary convention centre; the department is working on the concept note for the masterplan to modernise Ekalees Centre for the Arts and Cultural Heritage.”

Others who spoke were Boaz Ekiru (Ag. Director Natural Resources), Chuman Achumani (Public Communication), and Thomas Kaatho (Representative Council of Elders).

Representatives from Lokado, PanAfricare, USAID Nawiri, Skyward Express Airline, Kenya Breweries Limited (KBL), Napak Tented Camp, Ateker Hotel, Frontier and CREC-5 attended the partners meeting.

By Peter Gitonga

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