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When Dufil drives innovation among Nigerian children for national development

Creativity and innovation are two major crucible factors that drive growth. In Nigeria, the private sector is at the forefront of pushing this either at workplaces or at various school levels. Daniel Obi examines this and how Dufil’s Prima Food Team up initiative designed at catching them young is programmed for national development.
Catching them young is a universal expression accepted by many cultures intended to groom and prepare the young ones in the way they should go, so when they grow up, they will not depart from it.

Global bodies, such as United Nations and UNICEF have accepted this norm which includes inculcating in the younger generation, the culture of discipline, dedication to duty, peace, entrepreneurial, tolerance, creativity and innovation, among other values. This is important as children are future leaders who will manage socio-economic settings and polity based on how they were moulded.

Various organisations including UNICEF, UN believe that ‘Catch them young’ will be a major driver in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. The global goals are a collection of 17 interlinked blueprint agreed by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015 to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all by the year 2030.
While some societies and nations have leveraged this norm of catching them young to maintain standards in various fields, others are yet to incorporate it in their national development process due to the lack of will, planning, funds, time and the poor understanding of the long-time benefits to ‘catch them young’ which can be achieved through proper planning. Planning is simply to realise objectives or to obviate catastrophes as a result of un-planlessess.

In Nigeria, a few organisations and NGOs have developed initiatives to ‘catch them young’ on account of deep understanding of its payback to the society and on the background that government cannot do it all. In the face of dwindling revenue and mounting national challenges that require big funds, such as infrastructure, insecurity and provision of food and housing, some of these organisations have entered to assist the government to drive development.

Dufil intervention
One of such interventions is the ‘Indomie Team Yourself up’ initiative introduced last six years by Dufil Prima Food, maker of Indomie noodles, principally designed to catch them young. The idea behind the initiative is to allow Nigerian children in primary schools express their ideas and creativity through art works of their choice.
It was amazing and remarkable to see different expressions through art work by the children who exhibited their work at the sixth edition of the initiative held last week at National Museum Lagos. The art works built with Indomie cartons and wrappers as demanded by the sponsor include motors, aeroplanes, helicopters, houses of different designs, stadia, dining table with families, train stations, airports, cooking utensils, rockets, climate change, castles, trucks, dignity in labour, filling stations and many more.

Read also: UNICEF partners with Cross River to provide nutritional services for children

Though the children were allowed to team up with their parents or guardians in building the art works but the thinking, creativity and imagination of the children goes to indicate their understanding of the environment. Tola Bademosi, the Chief Consultant of BDC Communications, said “when children have ideas and they don’t have means to express them, it becomes a challenge.” Recognising that advanced countries such as US, Israel and France have leveraged this method of catching them young to build their societies, Bademosi however appreciated Indomie which through its Fan Club has set out to give the children the platform where they express those ideas and imaginative thought process which could be used to nurture their creativity in life towards national building.

“It is exciting that quite a number of children have shown and displayed much in-depth in thinking. From what we have seen from the exhibition, it has been instructive of what the children have come up with. The whole idea is teaming up with your parents to come up with an idea, and the parents support in creating the idea and building something unique. The idea is making them believe they can think it and achieve it”.
Imagination, ordinarily has no age barrier but Dufil has limited the creative work to primary level because that is where it is important to catch them young. If Nigeria can get it right at this stage, it will help them to go further in their imagination and belief in achieving it.

Bademosi who thinks and plans for organisations in their image building process described the Dufil initiative through the Indomie Fan Club as a foundation for the children. “Once there is the foundation, the next thing is to expand the scope. If you sow a seed in a child and that seed grows to become a big tree, people might begin to see the tree but the tree is not existent without the seed. What Indomie is basically doing is putting seed in the children hearts, developing the concept of creativity and imagination and for them to think outside the box and believe if they think it, it is achievable”

The thinking and creativity have also become significant as the factors are involved in every profession and not limited to art works.
On the thinking behind the initiative Team up Yourself Season 6 with Indomie, Tope Ashiwaju, Group Corporate Communications and Events head for Dufil Prima Food plc said there is a limit to what government can do and that is why private organisations like Dufil has to support the activities of government to ensure “we play our role in helping children to be properly natured in the society”.

A total of 40,000 entries were received from children across the country for the creative competition.
In his assessment of the initiative, Lanre Adisa, the Group CEO of Noah’s Ark, a creative agency was impressed that the 6th edition had 40,000 entries which means there are 40,000 stories that one brand is enabling. He believed that some of the children will develop into their thinking.

On the art works, he said “a society that does not make room for the telling of its stories dies naturally because there will be nothing to pass on to the next generation. That is the essence of art that helps us think of where we are and think of what may happen to us, and to chronicle things for next generation”.

Winning creative works
Out of the 40,000 entries, the best 100 creative works were exhibited at the final event out which 7 years old Lawal Treasure from Oyo State assisted by his uncle Oyediran Oluwa Patrick , won the grand prize of N500,000 with his art work ‘Indomie Nation’. The judges who commended him were enthused by the creativity of Indomie nation as the lad incorporated stadium, civic centre, Christian cathedral and mosque, Lekki Bridge, Abuja center, NITEL building and Indomie truck which he built with Indomie cartons and wrappers.

Other winners include Uchenna Valeria who created a man pushing truck loaded with Indomie; Jesufemi Paul from Lagos who built a duplex and Ezenwa Chibuike Godwin won the 2nd and 3rd runner-up position with the sum of N75,000 and N35,0000 respectively. Four regional winners also got N35,000 each in the competition. They are Adewusi Josiah (Best in Lagos) who created a robot; Ezindu Oforbike (Best in the East) who built a Jeep car and AbdulAzeez Rofiat (Best in Ogun) who built national stadium and Tedrick Chinda (Best in Abuja) who created Argungu Festival.

Further values from initiative
The Dufil initiative also was designed to encourage the children in acts of recycling, since all materials used for the art work were Indomie wrappers and carton. Sustainability and environmental protection in line with the 17-Agenda of Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs of United Nations has become critical for organisations in order to protect the future for generations yet unborn.
“For sustainability and recycling, it is a start for us as we need to teach these children to be environmentally friendly as you can notice worldwide nations are going green and people are encouraged in recycling”, Ashiwaju further said.
At the venue of the exhibition, some of the art works were auctioned and the proceeds will go to orphanage home for the education of their children, the sponsor said.

The participating children and their teachers were able to bond during the exhibition. For children the initiative also brings bonding and learning how to work with other people to make something they love doing. A parent who identified herself as Omuwunmi and who came to support her child who created National Theatre said the initiative gave her child the zeal and enthusiasm to want to think and aim more.

According to the National Coordinator, Indomie Fan Club, Faith Joshua Ogechukwu, “For the children in the society, the initiative will encourage them to be innovative as Indomie is promoting innovation and creativity”
No society is built on lack of planning and catching them young as exemplified by Indomie team Yourself Up initiative; a planning process to expose children of today for tomorrow economic development.

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