As part of efforts aimed at creating platforms for conversations to constructively inform Nigeria’s development agenda, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Nigeria, held its first in a series of development conversations with the Nigerian creatives tagged #CreateToDevelop.
Speaking on the role of creatives in social reforms and behavioral change, the UNDP Resident Representative to Nigeria, Mohamed Yahya, noted that Nigeria’s creative sector has over the years played a critical role in influencing the growth of Africa’s arts and culture.
He 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.”
With 10 years left to achieving the development goals, Yahya believes the start of the #DecadeOfAction 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.
The #CreateToDevelop dialogue brought together a representation of veterans and young creatives across the entertainment sector including Sola Sobowale, Joke Silva, Alibaba Akpobome, Don Jazzy, and Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde.
Others are 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.
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 organisations is the ability to stay on an issue or a cause long enough to establish impact,” said actress, Omotola Jalade-Ekehinde. “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 organisation chooses to support.”
Over the next few months, UNDP has committed to co-creation of initiatives that will aid the Nigerian creative industry to establish avenues that can leverage better the art of telling representative stories, while supporting monetization of the industry for sustainability.