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Audrey Zakriski

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Past research suggests that creative thinking and behaving can have positive effects on personal and community development. In an effort to explore creativity development in an impoverished East African environment, this research examined community perceptions and definitions of creativity and tested the effectiveness of implementing a pilot creativity-focused after school program with at-risk youth living in the Kenyan slum, Kibera. In study one, the concept of “creativity” was explored in 100 interviews with Kibera residents. Interviews were thematically coded. Results revealed that creativity in Kibera is often a process of engaging in personally meaningful, relevant, and new behaviors as a result of individual agency and social identities that produces economic, personal, and community benefits. In study two, 15 students at a non-formal school participated in the Creativity Development Program (CDP), which was designed to stimulate creative thinking and problem solving. The 15 participating students and an additional 15 non-participating students completed measures of creative thinking, intrinsic academic motivation, and self-esteem before and after the CDP pilot program. Single sample pre-post analyses showed that participating students reported having higher self-esteem, intrinsic academic motivation, and several creative thinking abilities such as problem solving, fluency, originality, creative motivation and creative self-efficacy after completing the pilot program. Comparisons with the control group revealed greater changes for the participating students only for originality and highly creative responses demonstrated in open-ended student verbal and drawn activities. The final discussion synthesizes the community’s perceptions of creativity and program evaluations in order to paint a portrait of creativity as it currently is understood in Kibera, examine the pilot program’s relevance to and sustainability within the Kibera community, and suggest ways that the Kibera community can utilize creativity to enhance personal and community development.



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