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Child Online Protection Takes Center Stage During 61st National Drama Festival In Mombasa

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The 61st edition of the Kenya National Drama and Film Festival whose theme was sponsored by the Communications Authority of Kenya has come to an end.

The festival saw more than 2,000 pieces in the form of plays and songs presented with at least 15,000 students from across the country taking part. 79 of these  performances were aligned to the theme (Pre Primary – 8, Primary – 23, Secondary 29, and University/College – 19)

This year’s theme was Fostering Digital Transformation through Theatre and Film: Promoting Online Safety, which was sponsored by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA).

At the venue, CA also trained learners and their teachers as well as parents on child online protection.
The regulator has implemented measures to enhance child safety online in line with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a United Nations agency for ICTs. This saw the Authority developing Child Online Protection (COP).

Speaking during the festival, Patricia Muchiri, Acting Director, Corporate Communications at CA, emphasized the need for all stakeholders to ensure that child online protection is not just the role of the government and other bodies such as CA but for everyone within and without the country.

“The Child Online Protection agenda for the Authority began in 2015… this program is well-connected with the digital transformation thematic area of this festival… Children are learning using devices, they are using the internet to do their homework, they are using the internet for entertainment, fun, and games… our primary responsibility is to take care of the children,” said Patricia.

On her part, Caroline Murianki, Manager, Public Education and Awareness at CA, the Authority was impressed by the kind of performances and the talents that were displayed, showing a grasp of the theme and what the country and the world are going through at the moment in terms of digital transformation.

“As the theme sponsor, the Authority is impressed by the kind of performances that have come out. Indeed, we do see that young people understand those kinds of issues… In the performances, one can see that they are aware of how they should be able to seek help,” she said.

One of the play items sponsored by CA touched on the influence of social media and mobile phones on school-going children. The play was performed by Nyali School.
As the curtains come down, the festival goes down in history as the first one that has been themed along technological evolution and the impact of the internet on people’s lives.

For years, drama festivals in Kenya have been used to promote and preserve the diversities entrenched in Kenya’s rich cultural values through play, poetry, spoken word, cultural dance, singing games for early age, and narratives.

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