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Tencent funds digital library in Kenya

Updated: 2017-11-23 07:06:15

( China Daily )

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NAIROBI - The National Museums of Kenya in partnership with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization launched an open digital library for indigenous games funded by the Chinese firm Tencent Holdings Ltd on Monday.

Kenyan officials say digitization of traditional games is part of a broader strategy to preserve the country's rich cultural heritage and disseminate it to future generations in an efficient way.

"This country has a huge repository of traditional games, which should be preserved in a digital format for easier reference by the next generation," says Mzalendo Kibunjia, director-general of the National Museums of Kenya.

The East African nation is the first on the continent to launch the Tencent-funded open digital library on traditional games project that has been successfully implemented in Brazil, Bangladesh, Greece and Mongolia. The project seeks to harness modern technology to preserve and showcase indigenous games that were integral to local communities' cultures.

"This crucial partnership with Tencent will help reverse loss of valuable information on traditional games. They are part of our cultural heritage and are key in promoting cohesion, inclusivity and intergenerational learning," says Kibunjia.

He says the creation of a digital library to store and disseminate information about sports played by Kenya's indigenous communities will help foster interethnic relations and boost tourism revenue.

Anne Therese Ndong Jatta, director of the UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa, says Kenya's digital library for traditional games will help convey values of solidarity, respect for diversity and inclusion.

"Digitization of indigenous games will create bridges across generations and among communities. It will contribute to cultural awareness, intergenerational learning and exchange," Jatta says.

The digitization of information and visual images of sports cherished by indigenous Kenyan communities is part of a global project launched by UNESCO's Beijing office in 2015.

Zeng Qingyi, an officer with the office's communication and information sector, says a digital repository of traditional games will enable Kenyan youth to appreciate the culture of their ancestors.

"This information on traditional games, when digitized, can be converted into learning materials," Zeng says.

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