The Kenyan Ministry of ICT, Innovation & Youth Affairs and Netflix has an MOU to support Kenyan creatives through various initiatives.
The partnership will focus on skills & capacity development, creative sector infrastructure development, marketing and media spend, digital consumer protection and local content investment.
The specifics of the partnership are:
1. Local content investment
Netflix has invested in 3 Kenyan co-productions which are currently in various stages of production while a number of licensed local titles are being reviewed by Netflix. The selected Kenyan titles will be revealed at a later date closer to their premier dates on Netflix.
2. Human Capital development
Netflix has committed to support human capital development and institutional capacity building to enhance the digital content ecosystem in Kenya.
This commitment includes the Netflix Creative Equity Scholarship Fund for Africa which is being administered through HEVA Fund for the East Africa region. Under the MOU, Ksh. 11 million (US$100,000) will fund scholarships for 30 beneficiaries covering tuition, living expenses, learning materials and stipend, in support of Kenya Film School and the African Digital Media institute.
A further Ksh. 23 million (US$200,000) has been allocated towards scholarships (inclusive of fees, accommodation, living costs, learning materials and stipend) for aspiring creatives to study at other Kenyan institutions that provide film and TV studies. There’s also a scholarship opportunity for aspiring Kenyan creatives to study for a Masters in International Screenwriting and Production (MISP) at the University Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan, Italy.
Netflix will identify various opportunities which may include further career development via internships, job shadowing, on-set training, access to creative development labs, technical masterclasses, development executive access and mentorship programs, or a combination of different elements for Netflix scholarship beneficiaries.
3. Marketing, media & digital consumer protection
Netflix will collaborate with Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) to promote responsible digital parenting and appropriate viewing practices for consumers of online content and Netflix customers. This will include the rollout of educational tools on online safety, joint sensitization programs on digital parenting and joint campaigns on age-appropriate online environments. Netflix will also collaborate with Communications Authority (CA) of Kenya under its campaign on Child Online Protection (COP) launched in 2021. As part of the collaboration, Netflix will work with industry players convened by CA and contribute to the industry microsite on COP.
4. Creative sector infrastructure development
Netflix will collaborate with the Kenya Film Commission (KFC) to provide institutional capacity building and provide technical support towards the design, establishment and rollout of a fit-for-purpose screen production sector incentive and the requisite frameworks for operationalizing the structure in Kenya. Netflix will also partner with the KFC to identify capacity development areas that would benefit the local creative ecosystem.
In launching the partnership, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of ICT, Innovation & Youth Affairs, Mr Joe Mucheru, said, “ICT Infrastructure in the country has improved thus presenting a good business environment for OTT platforms such as Netflix. This MoU will not only facilitate job creation in the country but also unlock training opportunities for screen sector development. We welcome this partnership with Netflix because Kenya has many stories to tell the world and all the initiatives with the various partners will help us ensure we have the ability to create quality stories.”
Speaking about the initiatives planned, Netflix’s Director of Series in Africa , Dorothy Ghettuba, said, “Netflix is excited by the potential of Kenya’s next generation of creative storytellers. We believe there are great stories in Kenya and we want to do our part for Kenya’s creative community by supporting the development of the local film and TV industry and talent pipelines, both in front of and behind the camera, through partnership initiatives . We also hope that the stories will encompass themes which are unique to Kenya, which our global audiences will find appealing.”
There’s currently a project by a Kenyan storyteller, Voline Ogutu, in development after she became one of the six winners of the Netflix & Unesco African Folktales Reimagined competition. Voline won herself Ksh. 2.8 million (US$25 000) as well as a production budget of Ksh. 8.6 million (US$75 000) to create her short film (in English, KiSwahili & Luo). This will be through a local production company, and under the guidance of Netflix-appointed supervising producer and an industry mentor, Leila Afua Djansi. This project will be launched on Netflix later this year. 3
Kenyan creatives have also been accepted into Netflix sponsored mentorship programs. They include the Realness Episodic Lab with Hussein Kurji with his story concept Bushcamp and Voline Ogutu making it with Dilemma while Mona Ombogo has made it into the Development Executive Traineeship.