For Genii Games, Saturday, February 1, 2014 marked the beginning of an interesting phase in our Cultural Evangelism. In keeping with our primary objective of promoting and preserving our native cultures against its steady decline among kids, the Àsà club was created. Briefly, the Àsà Club runs as a short series of activity based workshops facilitated by the Cultural Evangelist(s) where kids get to learn, share and create interesting things within the context of our native cultures. Ours is an approach that involves the active participation of these affected kids in solving the problem by leveraging their creative talents along with features synonymous to our Àsà brand namely technology, mobile apps, games, interactivity, colours etc. While we acknowledge the task of addressing these cultural problems is too large for any to accomplish all at once, baby steps in that direction means taking creative routes as this towards addressing the issue. Thus, simply put, if the kids go home from these workshops with a renewed vigor to engage their friends, families and teachers on issues surrounding their cultures, then the Cultural Evangelist stays grinning.
Session 1…general introduction to Culture
And so, our journey got off with the first of our inaugural 4 weeks workshop at the CCHub Mobile Experience Center. Session 1 was facilitated by the Cultural Evangelist Adebayo assisted by Yetunde Odunsi with 21 amazing kids ranging from ages 4 to 10 of diverse Nigerian Cultures. It was a wholly engaging session complemented by interactive contents from an iPAD projected on the large screen using an Apple TV device.
Drawing on features synonymous to our Àsà apps namely interactivity, color, texts, sounds etc, the kids were taken through the subject of Culture from its definition to examples using a specially designed app for the session. It was fun for all as the kids demonstrated their enthusiasm by sharing examples.
We moved on to problems affecting our culture, specifically, what cultural aspects they felt indifferent about and why they needed to be addressed. It was interesting to see the problems affecting our cultures from their perspective. For example, Ayo pointed out she didn’t like our traditional foods because she knew little about the ingredients that went into them. Emeka for one felt a need to learn to speak his native language given the communication challenge he’d faced when he visited his hometown. He pointed out that he’d been regularly made fun of for his inability to speak the language marking a frustrating experience while in his hometown. Another deemed it important to understand our cultural values to promote better understanding.
Then came the juicy part: the process towards inducting them as Cultural Ambassadors to help solve the problem. To qualify, they simply need to contribute their creative talents towards a project we’ll be working on over the course of the 4 weeks workshop. The kids were elated.
We broke for 30 minutes where the kids were served with light refreshments while our Oluronbi app ran onscreen.
Fresh from the break, the kids were introduced to the project of the workshop. A simple interactive story app which would draw on their inputs to bring it to life. For the next 3 weeks, the kids would name, color and even voice the characters and scenes with the help of the Cultural Evangelist. Next, the whole would be brought to life by the Genii Games team and published for public consumption. As Cultural ambassadors, they would be explicitly recognized for their roles in the process.
To say that our prospective Cultural Ambassadors were elated is an understatement. They jostled to name the characters even though it was an assignment for the coming session.
So, as take home, the kids get to engage mummy, daddy, uncles and aunt in naming different animals in the local language or culture which would form the basis of our story.
Until next week when we’ll be naming, drawing and coloring, our cultural crusade continues.