• Henry Ford once said: “Coming together is the beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”
• By doing this, we are not only tackling today’s problems, but we are ensuring that we are partnering to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.
The power of sports for social good is well recognised. When harnessed correctly, it can positively impact development goals, including improving health, economic prosperity, education, and community cohesion.
As a force for good, sports can convene people both globally and locally, hence the importance of strategic sports partnerships for sustainable impact.
We can achieve this by bringing together organisations in different industries for a common purpose as catalysts for the social-economic development of the entire sports ecosystem, as highlighted in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) in this case 17 — Partnerships for the goals.
Henry Ford once said: “Coming together is the beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”
More than ever, there is a need for a multi-stakeholder collaboration between governments, businesses, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the media to address the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has brought unprecedented disruptions in aviation and sports industries.
By doing this, we are not only tackling today’s problems, but we are ensuring that we are partnering to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.
The challenges of this pandemic remain formidable. However, stakeholders in the sports industry now have an opportunity to adapt sports sponsorships to the new normal in creative and meaningful ways.
As the Pride of Africa, we are committed to ensuring that we are creating an enabling environment that promotes hospitality, tourism, culture, and trade, not only for Kenya but also for other African countries that do not have their own national airlines.
Our partnerships go beyond giving money to various sporting institutions but involves looking at the sports ecosystem and finding new and innovative solutions that can mitigate the adverse effects of the pandemic while creating new opportunities for them to thrive.
Our sports sponsorship portfolio is borne out of the acknowledgement and need to harness the country’s rich sporting talent. An excellent example is the recently concluded WRC Safari Rally, which returned to the Kenyan circuit after a 19-years hiatus where we committed Sh35 million — in-kind — towards the rally itself and the FIA young star program.
By working together with different partners, we were able to contribute to the general success of the event, which attracted an audience of over 800 million TV viewers in more than 153 countries and placed Kenya on the international scene as a country with the capacity and capability to host such global events.
This is a massive boost to the aviation, trade, tourism and travel sectors and key in positioning Kenya as a preferred tourist destination for medical, environmental and sports tourism.
In addition to this, our cargo department took the spotlight of the day by ferrying four safari rally cars and coordinating the logistics of various inquiries regarding the transport of mechanical equipment for the rally.
Sponsoring Kenyan youngsters such as Jeremy Wahome, Hamza Anwar and McRae Kimathi in the FIA Young Stars Programme was vital for us and in line with our strategy of empowering young people with the right resources, experience and skills that will enable them to succeed in their chosen profession.
These measures are also reflected in creating employment for the entire motorsports value chain with professionals like technicians, mechanics, panel beaters and traders.
Our history with sports dates back to the 1980s, a history that exemplifies our spirit in uplifting sportsmanship, culture, heritage and our nation’s legacy as the country’s national flag bearer. Back in the day, we were heavily involved in motorsports, golf and rugby.
Our vision was clear, from the onset. We understood the importance of partnering with different sports and that is why we started the Kenya Airways East Africa Classic Safari Rally and the remarkable Kenya Airways Golf Safaris. We were also the partner for the Kenya National Rugby Sevens Team.
As a country with serene destinations, reasonable green fees, a tourist friendly exchange rate, all-year-round great weather, adequate hospitality and regular flights to Europe and Asia, our aim was to champion Kenya as the preferred destination for sports tourism.
As Kenya’s key strategic national asset, our aim was to amplify the country’s messaging as ‘the home of heroes’ in various athletics events such as the annual Kenya Airways Maasai Mara Marathon in Lemek Conservancy, which has helped many budding athletes launch their careers.
The 21km race for individual runners and a 5km fun run for individual runners or corporate teams used to attract local and international participants — passionate for adventure. The marathon also helped raise funds for key development projects in the area.
We have also worked with other African countries to transport their national teams to different sporting events worldwide as Africa’s partner for sustainable development.
At the moment, we are working with the local organising committee of the World Athletics Under 18 Championships. As we work towards building a thriving and more resilient sports ecosystem, we admit that we cannot do this alone.
That is why it is important for us to identify the strengths of our organisation and those of potential partners to enable a thriving sports ecosystem.
— Allan Kilavuka, Kenya Airways Chief Executive Officer