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Media, CSOs strategise on using art to fight corruption in Nigeria

By Tayo Elegbede

A cross section of media practitioners and civil society organizations have identified art as a critical tool to counter corruption and improve social accountability and good governance in Nigeria.

The position was established on Wednesday during a dialogue and strategy session between the media and non-governmental organisations in Lagos.

According to the organiser, Inspired Youth Network, the dialogue is part of activities to fight corruption through artistic creativity in youths and other stakeholders.

“So far, Inspired Youth Network has trained 225 students between the ages of 10 and 18 to use their artistic skills to promote accountability, good governance and the fight against corruption in their communities through Account Art project, monikered #Art4Accountability, with support from the CIVICUS Solidarity Fund,” said Ayomikun Olugbode, Team Lead at Inspired Youth Network.

Speaking on the need to scale the project and its impact, Olugbode said the dialogue with the media and NGOs provided an opportunity to advance the conversation and collaboration on using art to promote holistic development agenda in Nigerian communities.

“There is a need for other NGOs to tap into this model in engaging young people to increase their participation in governance in their communities,” he said.

Recounting the landmarks of the art project which launched in July 2019, Olugbode said over 100 artworks promoting accountability and good governance have been produced by the beneficiaries.

He said a centre has been created to train young artists to use their artistic skills in promoting accountability and would serve as a home to the artworks produced for future learning engagement and advocacy.

“Two female beneficiaries of the project were appointed as SDG16 ambassadors by Complete Knowledge Foundation in August 2019,” Olugbode added.

According to the Executive Director, Youth Leadership Initiative for Social Justice, Chinenye Nwevo, using art to engage young people will help them express themselves in their way and increase their knowledge of good governance.

The Programme Officer of Youth Alive Foundation, Babajide Kolawole said: “We have come of ages in Nigeria, and it is high time we started using art as a major strength to promote accountability and the fight against corruption.”

On his part, Founder, Youth Agenda Initiative, Abiodun Ajayi said “messages passed with art last longer in the mind of people and increase behavioural change”.