Eko Samba Community, Lagos, Nigeria

Èkó Samba Community is a non-profit run by Nigerian born, Seyi (Director) and English born, Emma (Director of Operations), teaching children Brazilian Samba drumming and putting on performances across Nigeria. Their main aim is to provide access to the creative arts and to empower young people to become agents for change in their communities. Seyi was working as a Brazilian Samba Director in the UK and had returned back to Lagos to run workshops for adults. He found that the local children kept turning up to join him, wanting the opportunity to learn. He started to teach them and gradually the idea for Èkó Samba Community was born.

They are based in the low-income, inner city area of Ijegun-Egba, which is a satellite town of Lagos. There is no minimum age for their workshops, with ages ranging from 3-25; the children and young people come from a wide range of social, ethnic and religious backgrounds. Their projects inspire a sense of community through the celebration of Afro-Brazilian percussion. The workshops are free and offer a space to embrace creativity; learn valuable key skills, like leadership, confidence and teamwork; and to grow together. For the older children who have developed good proficiency, Èkó Samba Community also put on paid performances around Nigeria. This enables them to earn an income and the opportunity to pursue samba as a profession.

They are a small organisation, run by 5 core staff, the majority of whom are Nigerian and have been through the programme themselves. The staff are all part-time, Emma herself spends half the year in Nigeria and half in UK. They also rely on the support of various musical volunteers to deliver the workshops. Operations are run from an office in Seyi and Emma’s home which is on Ibasa Island, a short boat ride from the mainland Lagos. They are drastically under budget for this year and have limited finance knowledge. They began with a manual system, having only just switched to excel for their bookkeeping. Finance responsibility is shared but lies mainly with Emma, the Logistics Manager, Ojo and the Project Coordinator, Julius.

For more information, visit their website.