President Uhuru Kenyatta Friday at State House, Nairobi, challenged the Sports, Arts and Social Development Fund Oversight Board, to utilise resources at its disposal to restore the country’s sporting glory, promote the arts, and preserve Kenya’s rich national heritage.
Speaking after being briefed on the progress made by the board in achieving its broad mandate, President Kenyatta said sports and the arts have the potential of being major sources of jobs for Kenya’s youth if well resourced and managed.
“We need to revive sports and the arts in the country. One way of doing that is to motivate our young people through adequate resourcing,” the President said.
He said that as part of fulfilling its mandate, the board should be able to facilitate all national teams participating in international games not only by funding them but also by branding them with national colours through provision of uniforms and other supplies necessary for the teams to succeed.
“You need to be in the forefront of building strong national sporting teams through provision of adequate funding as well as through branding and provision of the necessary supplies they need to excel,” said the President.
President Kenyatta asked the sports oversight board to ensure that activities under its mandate which include national heritage, culture and the arts are fully catered for, saying preservation of the country’s heritage and culture will help in building a strong reference point for future generations.
He tasked the board to ensure that Kenya’s heritage sites and resources including museums, monuments and artefacts are properly mapped, secured, resourced and managed.
On the arts, the President called on the board to support the Studio Mashinani Initiative, a national government project aimed at ensuring availability of high quality multimedia studio production facilities and equipment to young talented Kenyans across the country.
The President asked the board to ensure that the Studio Mashinani Initiative, which is growing very fast as a platform for talent development and source of livelihood for thousands of young Kenyans, is adequately resourced and expanded to cover the entire country within the shortest time possible.
President Kenyatta further pointed out that the board should do all in its power to attract many more youths to utilise their talents in sports and the arts by renovating existing national facilities and by constructing new modern sports infrastructure including stadia.
He observed that many young people get disillusioned when individuals who are mandated to facilitate them achieve their goals fail and frustrate their efforts, a vice that the Head of State said should end.
“You should refurbish existing sports infrastructure and develop new ones throughout the country. This will be one of the ways of attracting and enabling young Kenyans to explore and utilise their talents to earn a living,” President Kenyatta said.
The President asked the board to partner with the private sector in resourcing and in the running of the National Drama and Music Festival activities which is one of the major platforms used by most children in Kenya to discover their talents and gifts in the arts.
“We appreciate the role played by the private sector in supporting the growth of sports and the arts in the country. Although we appreciate their support, as government, we need to take up our responsibility by participating fully in these noble activities,” he said.
The Sports, Arts and Social Development Fund Oversight Board was gazetted in December last year and its members include former Vice President Moody Awori and Athletics Kenya President Lieutenant General (Rtd) Jackson Tuwei. Other members of the board include National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich, Principal Secretaries for Sports Amb. Kirimi Kaberia, and his Education and National Treasury counterparts Belio Kipsang and Kamau Thugge respectively.