When we launched Joy, Inc. in January 2018, our singular focus was to build a new generation of happier, fearless and flourishing young Africans. We wanted a new normal where it is possible for you to be happy, every single day.
Joy, Inc. is a company that pours out of the abundance of who we are, and how we want to be in the world. And we have been delightfully stubborn in staying true to our core, and refusing to deviate from purpose — reaching the hearts, minds and beyond that, the souls of the many around us, with the research on living a flourishing, wholehearted life, and beyond the research, into stories that resonate.
The Joy Masterclass
The Joy Masterclass is an intensive 8-hour class administered for individuals, teams and leaders that weaves the confluence of thinking and research about happiness, human flourishing and resilience — across Psychology, Economics, Divinity and Philosophy — into practical lessons, habits and tools that help participants transform their thinking, attitudes and actions.
Through The Joy Masterclass, we equipped young Africans in 6 cities across 4 countries and 3 continents with positive emotion skills and resources they need to be happy, resilient, transcend adversity, solve problems, find joy and flourish. In 2018, we held 18 editions of the Joy Masterclass and they were held in Buea, Yaounde, Lagos, New Haven, New York, and London.
The Daily Vulnerable
The Daily Vulnerable is a daily newsletter helping readers embrace the fullness of their humanity, with its flaws, by tackling the things often left unsaid, especially by the successful — fear, insecurity, doubt, shame, weakness, mistakes.
In 2018, we shared 292 editions of The Daily Vulnerable everyday but Sunday since February 1, 2018, when the newsletter launched. Some of you have referred to The Daily Vulnerable as ‘life-changing’, ‘impactful’ and ‘reflective’. From the person who was inspired to reach out to a former nanny to the one who now acknowledges that this journey, this life, is hard but possible to the one who now, more than ever understands that they deserve every good thing in life and now has their heart open fearlessly to receive. These stories, the feedback notes that we receive are the testimonies of this mission.
Indeed, we can be human, together.
You can subscribe to the Daily Vulnerable newsletter here.
We also curated a reading list of resources to help on your journey of building resilience and leading a flourishing life.
The Joy Tour
In March 2018, we embarked on The Joy Tour; sharing our message of happiness, of joy, and of human flourishing in several cities including Abuja, Ann Arbor, Buea, Cape Town, Chicago, Connecticut, Kaduna, Lagos, London, New York, Uyo and Yaounde, among others.
We acknowledge that mental and emotional wellbeing is the single biggest predictor of individual happiness; however, emotional/mental health challenges steal the joy and balance of so many.
Nigeria Happiness and Depression Report
In 2017, the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced that depression had become the leading cause of disability worldwide, and the Nigeria Happiness and Depression Report we released in October (with NOIPolls and research partners at Yale) confirmed that at least 60 million Nigerians are at the risk of depression.
Insights from the report include:
- 31.6% of polled respondent reported experiencing depressive symptoms. Putting this in perspective, 3 out of every 10 Nigerians are at risk of depression.
- 27.8% of respondents reported experiencing symptoms of anxiety
Most Nigerians surveyed defined happiness as having the basic needs of life. The second largest group of respondents defined happiness as having peace of mind.
- Several Nigerians believed that they are averagely satisfied (4.99) with their life as a whole these days, and are hopeful that they will be better satisfied in life five years from now. Most Nigerians also felt they were better five years ago (standing at 6.41) than they are currently.
- While both physical and mental health are important for a flourishing life, mental illness explains more of the misery in the society more than physical illness, poverty or unemployment.
- Nigeria needs to be proactive in taking mental and emotional health seriously by reviewing the national mental health policy and creating a viable legislative framework to meet global standards, investing in public education to influence the culture to one that promote resilience and create safe spaces for emotional and mental healing, and investing in research, innovation and development.
- New metrics for measuring human progress should move from the use of financial values like GDP and focus on happiness and flourishing of citizens
Commenting on the quality of research, Joy Kaufman, who is also the Director of Evaluation Research at the Yale Consultation Center said, “as a university professor who evaluates community-based programs, I find Joy, Inc.’s commitment to collecting data regarding depression and happiness from young people in Nigeria to be commendable. In addition, Joy, Inc. is evaluating The [Joy] Masterclasses in other to assess participants’ satisfaction with the classes, life stressors, changes in key outcomes such as depression and happiness and the aspects of the Masterclasses participants choose to continue to utilize. I look forward to my continued involvement with the Joy, Inc. team as we utilize the data to understand the impact of the masterclasses and use the data to continue to enhance the programs.”
The Joy Hub
In March 2018, we also launched a fundraising campaign, along with our friends at Mentally Aware Nigeria Initiative and SheWritesWoman to build The Joy Hub — a non-clinical, non-judgemental, non-discriminatory emotional and mental health walk-in centre where young people dealing with depression, trauma, anxiety and thoughts of suicide can access help. Our ‘Need help?’ page contains helplines for anyone in need of help or at risk of depression within Africa and the United States.
By the end of 2018, we had raised by 1925 USD and 2,124,000 Nigerian naira by crowdfunding.
Dealing with Depression?
As a response to a rise in the number of suicide mentions in the media and online conversations around depression, mental health and mental illnesses, we hosted a special masterclass tagged ‘Dealing with Depression’ where Actor, Banky W; Entrepreneur, Ubi Franklin; Psychologist, Dr. Gbonjubola Abiri; and Psychotherapist, Gbemi Ogunrinde personal stories, practical ways and medical approaches to addressing depression and the rising suicide rate among Nigerians. We also embarked on a #FightDepression Media tour that reached several Nigerians through various television and radio stations including Arise TV (on the spate of suicide), Inspiration FM and Wazobia Max.
As we flipped the calendar to 2019, we remain steadfast and committed to building a generation of happier, fearless and flourishing Africans, by giving them the tools to construct better, fulsome stories about reality, about their lives, and about the future.
We maintain our belief that business should be a force for good, and that wellbeing and human happiness should be the core of workplaces, government, civil society, and individuals.
We are in awe of the community we have built — a tribe of people like you, who understand the urgency of vulnerability, empathy, joy, positive emotions, well-being and human flourishing — and the feedback, so far.
The impact, in our first year, makes the heart sing.
Thank you to our incredible team — Chief Operating Officer, Damola Morenikeji; Creative Director, Bolu Akindele, Chief of Staff, Biola Olaore Williams, — all supported by the amazing Chisom, Ebere, Joy, Glory, Ijeoma, Ope, Samuel, Moyin, Amaka, Chioma, and others.
Thank you especially to our incredible Global Board, our Central Working Committee and our partners from Yale, NOI Polls, Mentally Aware Nigeria, She Writes Woman, RED, Y! Productions, YNaija.com, BellaNaija.com, and The Finery.
We are happy to do this, with you by our side.