The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Nigeria held its first series of development conversations with the Nigerian creatives dubbed #CreateToDevelop.
This is part of the recently launched UNDP Nigeria Development Dialogue series, aimed at creating platforms for conversations that can constructively inform Nigeria’s development agenda that is people driven including creation of opportunities that invest in young people’s innovation and creativity.
The #CreateToDevelop, dialogues brought together a representation of veterans and young creatives across the sector including Sola Sobowale, Ajoke Silva, Alibaba Akpobome, Don Jazzy, Omotola Jalade Ekeinde, Toke Makinwa, Dakore Akande, Mercy Johnson, Chioma Akpotha, Adebola Williams, Yagazie ‘Gazmadu’ Eguare; Stephanie Busari, Hadiza Nyako Tukur, Edwin Okolo and the award-winning filmmaker, Joel Kachi-Benson.
Expounding on role of creatives in social reforms and behavioral change, Mohamed Yahya, the UNDP Resident Representative to Nigeria noted that, Nigeria’s creative sector has over the years played a critical role in influencing the growth of Africa’s arts and culture. With 10 years left to achieving the development goals, the start of the Decade of Action for the Sustainable Development Goals, is timely for UNDP to listen and learn from creatives on how they can use their influence to support the country’s development progress; and shift perceptions of Nigeria among Nigerians and the rest of the world.
Mr Yahya explained that, “while policies are crucial for reforms and development in any country, it is only by amplifying the psychology of progress through creative story-telling in every form that we can aspire to becoming a generation that believes in themselves to do better.”
Dakore Akande, Ajoke Silva and Omotola Jalade Ekeinde, actresses who have all had extensive experience working with various international organisations offered useful insights on how the UNDP can rise above political bureaucracies in harnessing Nigeria’s vibrant and diverse creative potential towards the attainment of the SDGs.
“The biggest challenge working with development organizations is the ability to stay on an issue or a cause long enough to establish impact. It is our hope that whatever areas/stories UNDP commits to will be consistent for longer term engagement in order to ensure success and ability to measure impact of the causes the organization chooses to support”, said Omotola Jalade Ekeinde, a renowned Actress and Activist.