Frontline Youth Creativity Initiative (FYCI) is a non-governmental, non-profit organisation working to empower young girls and boys to speak out against ills in society. Founded in 2021 with headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria, FYCI believes that the creative arts are a powerful force that can be utilised to drive discourses that influence critical stakeholders to make sustainable changes for the good of society.
We aim to address some of the political, socio-cultural and economic vices in Nigeria and Africa as a whole by promoting positive virtues through creative means such as music/rap, spoken word, poetry, prose, drama, fine art, photography/videography, creative writing, dance, etc. Some of the vices we aim to address are poor political participation among young people, gender inequality, low self-esteem among young boys and girls, corruption, and sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).
Young people have not been given the appropriate mechanisms to express themselves, which has resulted in a stifling of youth voices. Against this context, our target audiences are young boys/ girls and young adults from whom we seek to elicit positive behaviours and attitudes whilst serving as change agents themselves.
The use of the creative arts to influence behaviours has been recognised as an effective method in the literature on behavioural insights. As Policy Horizons Canada has pointed out, “creative arts (such as performance arts, photography, music, creative literature, and visual arts) can have the power to evoke powerful emotions and influence behaviour”. In recognition of this power of the creative arts to change behaviours, our approach is predicated on the Social Art for Behaviour Change (SABC) approach developed by the One Drop Foundation to encourage healthy behaviours around water.
The SABC approach “integrates a systematic and evidence-based process that takes into consideration behavioural determinants as well as cultural and artistic references, to create locally inspired social art programs”. By connecting with the emotional part of the brain through art forms such as circus performances and fine art, One Drop has fostered the adoption of healthy behaviours around water among their beneficiary communities, leading to higher living conditions of almost 2.1 million people in 13 countries across Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
In addition to eliciting positive behaviours and attitudes from our beneficiaries, there is also an expected ripple effect, as we seek to make our beneficiaries agents of positive change who go on to use their art forms to promote virtues among their peers and other members of society. In this way, we will create a sense of involvement and ownership that should ensure the sustainability of our outcomes.
Our approach is also supported by research in the context of climate change, which suggests that the use of art programmes can shift perspectives and potentially empower people to become “systems changers”. Further research also suggests that a creative arts programme can transform young people’s social situations of development, increase self-esteem, and effect changes in behaviour and way of being.
Based on the consistent effectiveness of creative arts programmes in influencing behaviours, we are therefore confident that through our creative arts programmes, we can elicit the sort of positive behaviours and attitudes that we want to see from young people.
Resource persons conduct training sessions on creative and life skills for beneficiaries of our programmes. They must be experts in their chosen field.
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