Amplify Peace - Musicians United is an inspiring story of community resilience in the wake of devastation by the Ugandan rebel group, the Lord's Resistance Army. Remote, ravaged and forgotten central African communities unite through music and radio — across hostile borders — to call for peace and an end to decades of war, and to bring their children home safely.
For years The Voice Project has worked to make "Come Home" programing that encourages the defection of return of child soldiers and combatants a strategic priority in ending Africa's longest running conflict with one of its most brutal armed groups, The LRA (Lord's Resistance Army). As the strategy has been increasingly embraced on the ground in the current combat theaters of Congo and Central African Republic, defection rates from the LRA have increased to very seriously erode Joseph Kony's command and control infrastructure to an extent that will hopefully lead to end to this conflict.
However, there was an important issue surfacing in the last few years. In communities terrorized by the LRA, areas of South Sudan, Ugandan Acholi surrenders from the LRA were being met increasingly with hostility and violence. This threatened to reverse the defection trend. Our goal was to work with these communities to help them communicate with each other so they could share the knowledge that almost all of these fighters, be they Ugandan Acholi or from other areas or tribes, had been abducted and made to fight much as their children were now being abducted. Community leaders understood this and wanted to communicate to each other and their communities that they all needed to let these combatants come out safely no matter where they were from, that this is how the conflict could be ended. And as with the "Come Home" songs, the preferred and trusted way to communicate that kind of message from community to community would be through song.
Our team, working closely with the UN, went to facilitate that communication, to record the first cross border peace songs of their kind. This is the story of that effort and what happened as a result.
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