When Social Good Meets Culture

Culture is all about our beliefs, values and behaviour. Social good is all about creating positive social impacts. Surely, when the two meet, a society can benefit.

What better time to talk about the relationship between social good and culture than on the heels of Carnival, our largest, loudest cultural festival? Like The Mighty Shadow, many of us have a bassman in our head, a steelpan beating in our soul. At Republic Bank, we feel it too.

We fully immerse ourselves in the Carnival experience, particularly through the initiatives of our Power to Make A Difference Programme which brings a different focus to the nature of our involvement and support for Carnival, and for our wider culture.

That’s why you’ll find that in addition to initiatives like the Republic Bank Junior Parade of the Bands and the Republic Bank Exodus Steel Orchestra we seek out programmes that involve elements of education or capacity building like the NCBA’s Mas Academy Programme and the Zebapique Productions Outreach Programme. Both of these programmes engage young people in the art of mas making, thereby ensuring that the tradition is passed on to younger generations.

Culture is something that is so deeply ingrained in our sense of who we are that it is often taken for granted. Bringing a social good focus to cultural activities can add much needed support to an area that is often underfunded and overlooked. It can also lead us to deeper forms of cultural engagement that focus not only on the enjoyment and celebration of culture but also on nurturing and developing traditions in ways that are sustainable and empowering to younger generations.

Of course, we also understand that culture extends well beyond just Carnival and there is also much value to be earned from seeking out and showing support for those elements of a culture that are not quite so large or quite so loud. For example, right now we are preparing for the start of the annual Baal Vikaas Vihaar Festival which allows Primary Schools students from across the country to participate in various folk song and dance competitions. It builds their knowledge, musical talents, confidence and their connection to key elements of our history and culture.

You may have noticed that many of our cultural initiatives focus on youth involvement, which is no accident. Culture, after all, is not built in a few days or in a season; it is something that is engraved in a nation’s heart and soul and more likely than not, it starts from childhood. Getting young people passionate and interested in the preservation and promotion of your culture is not only empowering for them, it is also fundamental to keeping that culture alive and kicking.

Our experience has taught us that there’s value in supporting cultural initiatives of all shapes and sizes. But perhaps the best thing about culture when it comes to social good, is that it’s an area of interest that is so wide and deep that there are likely to be countless avenues and opportunities to get involved. I have highlighted a few but I would love to hear how you get involved with your culture. For those of you who may be planning on doing good at the individual, organisational or community level, why not add a little culture to the mix?

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