A peace movement is an incredible thing, people coming together, mobilizing like an army, and in this case armed not with guns but with songs and something more powerful than any bullet; compassion, the strength of human will, and determination.
For over two decades war ravaged northern Uganda. It is Africa's longest running conflict and it has spread to South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Central African Republic. Joseph Kony's LRA has made abducting children and forcing them to fight his chief weapon of war, even making them kill their friends and family members. Many abductees and former soldiers escape but hide in the bush, afraid to return home because of reprisals for the atrocities they were forced to commit.
The women of northern Uganda - widows, rape survivors, and former abductees have been banding together in groups to support each other and those orphaned by the war and diseases so prevalent in the IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) camps. And they are singing songs. The lyrics of "dwog paco" (come home) songs let former soldiers know that they are forgiven and that they should come back. The songs are passed by radio and word of mouth out into the bush, as far as the Sudan and DR Congo. And it’s working. Former LRA are returning and for the first time in 24 years the region has a chance at real peace.
Taking our cue from the women in Uganda and how they've used music to help bring peace, The Voice Project began with one artist covering another to pass on the torch and message to others. We've created ongoing chains of songs and artists that use music to help raise awareness and drive donations here at the website to support local initiatives and amplify peace, reconciliation and rehabilitation efforts.
Moreover, as we have seen in Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Central African Republic, music can be an effective agent of conflict transformation. As Olivier Urbain, the author of Music and Conflict Transformation has written, "The real question is why has it taken so long? It is high time for the human brain and heart to join forces to explore and apply the power of music for peaceful and effective conflict transformation." We seek to apply these principles to our work.
Check out the programs page to learn more about how The Voice Project is making a difference on the ground, and join us as a link in this incredible chain that the women have started by helping to spread the word. Music and word of mouth coupled with action can change this world, these incredible women have shown us that.
The Voice Project is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
Download 2011 Financials here.