The revival of the East African Community through the signing of the Treaty for the establishment of the East African Community in 1999 presented the Partner States with an opportunity and a framework for realizing the interest and desire to strengthen their economic, social, cultural, political, technological ties for the fast balanced and sustainable development through establishing various Council.
The EAC Partner States have shared in the past common historical, cultural, educational and sports similarities that needed to be re-affirmed and claimed for our East African identity, and these common goals and aspirations of the people of East Africa are to be realized through the following platforms so as to promote a better understanding of the benefits of integration and beyond.
1) The EAC Anthem
The 12th Ordinary Summit of the EAC Heads of State meeting in Arusha adopted the EAC anthem, Wimbo wa Jumuiya Afrika Mashariki, on 3rd December 2010.
The EAC anthem is a melodic three stanza composition written in Kiswahili. It exhorts East Africans to pursue the virtues of unity, hard-work, patriotism, while cultivating a spirit of comradeship.
Jumuiya Yetu sote tuilinde
Umoja wetu ni nguzo yetu
Idumu Jumuiya yetu.
1. Ee Mungu twaomba ulinde
Jumuiya Afrika Mashariki
Tuwezeshe kuishi kwa amani
Tutimize na malengo yetu.
2. Uzalendo pia mshikamano
Viwe msingi wa Umoja wetu
Natulinde Uhuru na Amani
Mila zetu na desturi zetu.
3. Viwandani na hata mashambani
Tufanye kazi sote kwa makini
Tujitoe kwa hali na mali
Tuijenge Jumuiya bora.
2) The East African Kiswahili Council
The Draft Protocol on the Establishment of the East African Kiswahili Council clearly stipulates the principal objectives of the Council as being the leading body in promotion and coordination of the development and usage of Kiswahili for regional unity and international interaction for political, social, cultural, educational, scientific and sustainable socio-economic development in Partner States.
Subsequently, Article 137 provided that Kiswahili shall be the lingua franca of the Community as a result of which the East African Kiswahili Council was established.
Progress Realized Preparations to operationalize the Commission are underway.
3) The EAC Students Essay Writing Competition
The EAC Essay Competition was commenced so as to ensure participation of East African students in the activities of the Community as well as create awareness fostering an East African identity on the existing cultural, historical and political ties of the Partner States. As a result of which, their knowledge on the EAC and its programmes would broaden with respect to the regional integration process.
The competition is open to all East African Secondary School Students, and the winning essays are awarded and receive massive publication regionally through the media. Panelists to adjudicate on the winning essay comprise:
• Head Teachers who select winning essays at school level
• National examination bodies select the five winning essay at National level and forward the same to EAC through the Ministers of Education.
• The Inter- University Council for East Africa selects the winning essay at the Regional level.
Topics for the essay vary annually, and each participant is expected to submit an essay between 1,000 – 1,5000 words. The essays can be written either in English, Kiswahili or French.
The Ministries of education in each of the Partner States are the focal points in ensuring that students are aware of the essays through:
• Dissemination of EAC materials in schools, using the network of District Education Board and Media Houses in Partner States;
• Dissemination of essay writing posters in the region;
• Advertising of the Competition in both print and audio media in all three languages: English, Kiswahili and French and through the EAC website (www.eac.int/education).
4) The East African Science and technology Commission (EASTECO)
The revival of the East African Community in 1999 saw the creation of the said Commission vide Article 103 of the Treaty which was previously facilitated by the East African Social Services Council through Sectoral Committees, whereof Partner States would benefit from certain services through cooperation in the Science and Technology fields for Economic Development.
Mission of the Council is to promote regional development and application of Research, Science and Technology as expounded further in the Draft Protocol on the Establishment of the east African Science and Technology Council.
5) The East African Culture & Sports Council (EACSCO)
Through the Principles enshrined in the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity, the EAC Community felt the need to establish the abovementioned Council, so as to enhance social cohesion, solidarity, stability and identity, noting the importance of Culture and Sports in promoting unity and economic development as a tool for effective sustainable development, maintenance of peace, security and healthy societies as envisaged in Article 119 of the EAC Treaty.
The Council is charged with responsibility of spearheading and promoting the development of culture and sports in the Partner States in liaison with National governing bodies and stakeholders as espoused in the Draft Protocol on the Establishment of the East African Culture & Sports Council.
6) The EAC Arts and Cultural Festival
The EAC Arts and Cultural Festival came to life following a decision by the 23rd Council of Ministers meeting held in Arusha on September 2011 to have the region host regular arts and cultural festivals with the aim of fostering an East African cultural identity that depicts the cultural life of East Africans, illustrate their cultural unity in diversity and to create an enabling environment for the promotion and development of arts and creative industries as a viable tool for sustainable socio-economic development, and promote cultural tourism.
The festivals are to be hosted by the Partner States in conjunction with host Partner State Governments, private sector and civil society on a rotational basis biennial.