Kenya launches youth heritage hub to foster growth of creative economy


  • World
  • Thursday, 13 Jun 2024

NAIROBI, June 12 (Xinhua) -- The National Museums of Kenya in partnership with the Rome-based International Center for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM), an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the preservation of cultural heritage worldwide, on Wednesday launched Kenya Youth Heritage Hub to foster the growth of the creative economy.

Senior officials said Kenya joined other African countries including Egypt, Rwanda, South Africa, and Zimbabwe to establish a platform for the youth to develop heritage products that promote economic growth and job creation.

Mary Gikungu, the director-general at the National Museums of Kenya, said the youth heritage hub will facilitate training and capacity development required to develop the latest cultural products for consumption by local and foreign tourists.

"This hub is more than just a physical space, it is a sanctuary for young minds to explore, imagine, and create to weave their own narratives into the rich tapestry of our shared heritage," she said.

Domiciled within ICCROM's Youth Heritage Africa Program, the hub seeks to engage local youth through innovation, and visual and performing arts, positioning the country as a hub for cultural tourism.

ICCROM's Director-General Aruna Francesca Maria Gujral said the hub to be based at National Museums of Kenya will boost youth participation in heritage preservation, and foster inter-generational dialogue and culture-based entrepreneurship.

She added that Kenya Youth Heritage Hub will offer tailor-made courses for the next generation of players in the creative economy including artists, dancers, painters, fashion designers, and carvers.

Edwin Abonyo, the chairman of the National Museums of Kenya Board, said the hub will empower the youthful heritage stewards through mentorship, reskilling, knowledge, and technology transfer.

"The youth heritage hub embodies our commitment to nurturing the creative spirit of the next generation and fostering a deeper connection to our heritage, leveraging technology for innovation in this digital era," Abonyo said.

Purity Kiura, a chief research scientist at the National Museums of Kenya, said that through the heritage hub, local youth will be able to develop niche heritage products including beadwork, poetry, songs, dances, shoes, and bags for income generation and highlighting critical themes such as climate change.

In addition, Kiura said that these heritage products that infuse the past and present will be used to spotlight ills facing society including gender-based violence, drugs, and substance abuse.

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