Canon’s MIRAISHA Program Leads the Charge
…..As 5,950 Youth in 10 African Countries benefit
Interview Story: Mohammed Abu, ADM, Accra.
Last year Africa’s youth was said to have constituted 40 percent of the continent’s population far outstripping the global average of 26 percent .Some experts have raised concerns that job creation as it relates to the youth doesn’t commensurate with the ever rising youthful population.
Canon Africa on its part, sees this as a great opportunity and prefers addressing the youth of the continent as “Africa Talents”. It appreciate them as a vital component of the continent’s human resources potential that needs to be judiciously nurtured and supported to play a useful role towards changing the African narrative.
Giving prime attention to Canon’s African customers constitutes an important component of its strategy in the African market. Canon ensures they are fully equipped with all the knowledge and skills as that enables them to handle Canon’s equipment with maximum efficiency on the continent’s imagery landscape.
Canon also greatly values its users and other non-customer members of the wider African communities including slams. Job creation that gives special attention to the youth forms an important component of the company’s Corporate, Social, Responsibility (CSR).
As it’s contribution towards vocational education in Africa, Canon’s photography and videography curriculum has benefited both professionals and amateurs photographers and videographers on the continent.
Canon’s affirmative action plan for unlocking African talents and creating sustainable future livelihoods is driven by it’s MIRAISHA PROGRAMME which embodies Canon’s corporate philosophy, “KYOSEI”, meaning, living and working together for the common good.
The name of the programme is a blend of Japanese and African (Swahili) language as it was initially started in Kenya, East Africa region .A strategic partnership with the Kenyan Film Corporation (KFC) ensured maximum impact.
The programme was gradually extended to the Northern and West African sub- regions. Nigeria is reputed as a spectacular case where people without previous educational backgrounds thanks to MIRAISHA, were not only able to acquire mastery in photography, but moreso,are today running their own business most successfully, earning income and making a living.
Creation of sustainable future livelihoods is at the heart of the programme. Thus, it is aimed at supporting the establishment of jobs in key African markets, facilitate local sustainability,to use Canon’s core imaging skills and in the process, generate community brand awareness and business links with key stakeholders in the region.
The Canon programme supports the youth to develop livelihood in professional photography, videography and professional print, film making as well as facilitating local sustainability.
This is done through running Canon lead workshops, symposiums and other training activities while collaborating with different local organizations, associations, festivals, events and nongovernmental organizations.
Re-affirming Canon’s commitment through the Miraisha programme,the company has been developing young talents through various educational workshops encompassing inspirational, practical and theoretical sessions intended to provide emerging young artists the skills and training needed to gain knowledge in their field while harnessing new talents and giving young students hands-on access to canon equipment.
This will support and improve the knowledge, skills and industry understandings in country to build capacity and grow the vibrant creative sector overall while empowering locals to take the lead and push the visual imagery industry further forward.
A train the trainer programme was implemented across Africa as part of Miraisha-It invests in training local trainers in country to be able to teach, share knowledge and skill sets with fellow photographers /filmmakers and the next generation.
Over the past seven years, MIRAISHA STUDENTS have participated in the programme and received photography training on a variety of different genres from fashion to street to sports and storytelling and much more.Canon values Africa’s youth as its future customers and leaders and as such they are Africa’s future of which the company is poised to be part of.
As of October, last year, ten African countries in the Eastern, Northern and West African sub-regions were covered with 5950+ participants trained up till date. Participants who received paid commission were 550+, participants whose works was exhibited or published were 350+, while 18 local professionals are even Canon trained.
These were disclosed by Amine Djouahra, Director of Sales and Marketing, Canon Central and North Africa(CCNA) during an exclusive interview with ADM, Ghana.
On what sets Canon apart from others ,he said, his company believes in constant interaction between its customers and users since that generates useful feedback .This,he noted puts Canon in a better position to bring its decades long international experience on pertinent issues as they crop up .Thus, at the end of the day, solutions are proffered and that could be adopted to suit into the local African situation to best serve the needs of its customers and users..This, he noted, was more prudent than just simply shipping goods to African customers.
Canon he said, believes partnership should be long lasting and mutually beneficial to both sides and it should also be able to stand the test of time. That is, during good times as well as during trial moments. Mr.Amine intimated that Canon was able to demonstrate this during the covid-19 pandemic.
Canon greatly values fostering mutually beneficial collaborations with local institutions including photography associations as both sides learn from each other’s experiences that also ensure better business understanding between the two sides.
Canon believes that in order to serve its African customers better, it has to be close to them and as such, Canon has established offices in 6 African countries with more than 80 African employees who represent fifteen(15) African nationalities. Canon values on-going interaction between it and its African customers and partners.
On what Canon is doing towards marketing the investment opportunities offered by Africa, he said, Africa is young and has a lot of development moving forward.Canon is therefore poised to be part of this future. Thus, Africa occupies top priority in Canon’s future plans.
Aside Canon’s substantial investments across the continent, as a leading imagery brand, Canon, Mr. Amine said, has been fostering collaborative partnerships and sponsoring the production of local content that showcases what Africa has to offer and which he said,is viewed through films, carried by the media and shared on social media.
Africa’s rich cultural heritage in terms of story telling, festivals, music,fashion among others, he observed, offers a great opportunity. This he said,if it were well packaged and showcased on the international scene,that could be exported to generate substantial revenue to support the development funding of the continent.