Kenya's scouts mark 100 years, oldest in Africa

The Kenya Scouts Association, the oldest scouting organization in Africa, marked its 100th anniversary on Wednesday, joining the Boy Scouts of America as a 100-year-old organization.

Kenya was the second home of Robert Baden-Powell, who founded the scout movement in Britain in 1907. Powell organized the first scout meeting in Africa at a church in Nairobi on Nov. 24, 1910.

"We are very, very happy with the 100 years and what scouting has been able to do in this country," said Miriti Mangu, the chief executive of the Kenya Scouts Association. "It has been able to produce many leaders of high rank."

President Mwai Kibaki presided over a celebration at the presidential state house.

"I note that over the last 100 years, scouting has continued to contribute greatly to the character formation of thousands of our nation's youth," Kibaki said.

Kenya's president is the patron of the Kenya Scouts Association. The country's vice president is a former scout and heads the organization's executive committee. Kenya's chief scout is a former speaker of parliament.

There are 400,000 scouts in Kenya and 28 million worldwide. The scout movement began in England in 1907. The Boy Scouts of America celebrated its 100th anniversary in February.