In its continued efforts to strengthen partnerships to further its development work in the country, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Kenya has signed partnership agreements with the Nation Media Group (NMG) and The Standard Group (TSG), two of East Africa’s largest media houses. The signing ceremony, which took place on 29 July 2020 at the United Nations Office in Nairobi, formalizes the parties intention to collaborate along specific areas in order to complement Kenya’s efforts to achieve its long-term development aspirations as enshrined in the Vision 2030 and the Big Four Agenda.
Through these agreements, it is expected that the parties will work together in highlighting Kenya’s development progress and deficits by contributing to and effectively facilitating exchange of ideas and knowledge within public development discourse. The collaborating parties will leverage each other’s comparative advantage in shaping public opinion and enhancing public engagement on development issues within the country through co-created ideas and content.
UNDP and the media groups all agreed to deploy their resources and expertise towards co-creating platforms for highlighting development issues affecting the country. They will also support national efforts to identify and promote locally developed innovative solutions for addressing Kenya's development challenges while investing in building capacity of journalists through supporting efforts aimed at promoting development journalism in Kenya. It is expected that through these partnerships, there will be enhanced coverage of national efforts towards implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and deliberate efforts to use the media to strengthen national unity.
“As recognized leading multimedia houses in Kenya with demonstrated the potential to continue influencing matters of both national and international interest, we consider our decision to enter into partnerships with Nation Media Group and The Standard Group not as an accident or a coincidence, but as an opportunity to collectively shine a spotlight on Kenya’s progress and enormous potential,” UNDP Resident Representative in Kenya Walid Badawi, stated during the signing ceremony of the Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs).
The Resident Representative further pointed out the timeliness of the initiative as the country grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic and as UNDP scales up its support the Government of Kenya's national response efforts.
UNDP treats the media as a key partner in delivering development interventions and in enhancing its advocacy role. The media has a fundamental role to play in reaching and enlightening grassroots on what UNDP does, why the organisation invests resources in the areas of its mandate and what development results are realized from these investments.
Speaking on behalf of NMG, Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Stephen Gitagama commended UNDP’s efforts in shaping the development narrative in Kenya. “Today we are very proud to sign this MoU and enter into partnership with UNDP. As NMG we are geared to support the development agenda of the country. As we know, media is a key player in developing the development agenda, this is just a beginning and we do believe we can do more with this partnership.” Gitagama stated. NMG is the largest independent media house in East and Central Africa, with stations in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda; it is ubiquitously known in Kenya through its many multimedia brands, including newspapers Daily Nation, The EastAfrican, and Business Daily Africa, as well as television station NTV. NMG also has radio broadcasting operations and a strong digital presence, with a reported 5.4m monthly page views across online platforms including Daily Nation, Nairobi News and Business Daily.
UNDP advocates for a free and independent press because we believe the media can only be objective and effective when allowed to operate without being regulated. It is expected that through these partnerships, the media houses will work closely with UNDP in strengthening their role in positively influencing public opinion.
“We want to come on board as a media house because we know we have to play our role. It has been clear that the Country has a Vision 2030 that is very closely aligned to the SDGs... We have looked at the SDGs and we believe that we cannot just sit back and report what other people are doing but we want to be at the forefront in participating in making a difference and change,” TSG CEO Mr. Orlando Lyomu signaled his Group’s motivations for signing the MoU, outlining why TSG had sought to deepen its ties with UNDP in Kenya.
TSG is recognized as a leading multimedia house in Kenya with a key influence in matters of national and international interest; TSG’s operations span newspaper print, television, radio broadcasting, digital and online services, as well as outdoor advertising. TSG is also the leading online publisher in Kenya through Standard Digital. Many of TSG’s platforms are household names in Kenya, including The Standard and The Nairobian newspapers, TV stations KTN Home and KTN News, and radio station Radio Maisha, among others.
UNDP in Kenya has a long history of working with different partners; from civil society to private sector. The decision to formalize its working relationship of the two media groups follows months of negotiations and sharing of ideas on how best the parties can collaborate and, in a structured was, contribute to national development efforts.