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our work > news > Rwanda Youth Training 2014 – 2015 Begins
Rwanda Youth Training 2014 – 2015 Begins
August 4, 2014   Rwanda

“Some of the people in our group who were saying they were nervous or they couldn’t do it, they were the ones who performed the best!”

“Yesterday we were thinking about this, and we were somehow unsure, but today when we were here with the children, and we were doing it, I was asking myself ‘Is this really us doing this?’ And it was!”

On just day four of their training, every one of the 28 trainees had taken the skills they had learnt over the past three days, and led an activity with children. They were amazed, and we were proud.

During this first week of their training the youth leaders experienced a wide range of musical activities, initially as participants, but quickly transitioning into reflective trainees considering each activity as a chance to learn and practice. By the end of the week, after practicing their skills with our support, and having real-life experience of leading community music activities, they left thinking of themselves as being able to begin to integrate the new approaches into their support work in their communities.

The facebook updates from each day capture some of the process:

Day 2 - Wood Boy

Day 2 – Wood Boy

Rwanda Update:  Training day 2. On just day 2 of their training, the trainees were already able to lead music activities! They are applying their creativity and experience to the training – not only singing, moving and enjoying the music, but absorbing the leadership skills to apply themselves.

Day 3

Day 3

Rwanda Update: Training day 3. The young leaders learned new activities, practiced songs and games from the past two days, and began using sticks and drums for rhythmic activities in preparation for leading their first music session’s tomorrow morning! Tomorrow we will meet at 7am to take a bus to meet a group of 30 vulnerable children and young people outside of Kigali. The trainees will work in teams of 7, running warm-ups, name games, songs and musical activities. As day 3 ended they headed off to practice with friends and in front of their mirrors!

Day 4

Day 4 – In Practice

Rwanda Update: Training day 4. “Yesterday we were thinking about this, and we were somehow unsure, but today when we were here with the children, and we were doing it, I was asking myself ‘Is this really us doing this?’ And it was!” – In the reflection session after today’s activities, a trainee in our Rwandan music workshop leadership program, on the 4th day. Each of the 28 trainees lead activities today with groups of 7 or 8 vulnerable young children from 5 years old to 15. This practical experience so early in the year’s training is a new innovation for us. The response of the trainees today has shown us how necessary it is to have this opportunity.

Day 5 - Djembes

Day 5 – Djembes

Rwanda Update: Training day 5.  A day that consisted of birdsong, djembes, Beethoven, and Rwandan dance. Our focus today was for each trainee to realize the resources they have around them and within themselves to create music with the children they support – in nature, in every melody, and in their shared culture. These are skills they will use in their organizations, adding new possibilities for community building, expression and fun!

Over the coming year we will build on these skills, both musical and leadership, developing the musical complexity of activities, and also their confidence and competence as young community leaders. The 28 youth leaders come from 4 community organisations from 3 regions across Rwanda. They will attend 3 more training periods in Kigali given by a combination of MwB’s international trainers, local musicians and previously graduated youth leaders.

Thank you to each of the trainees for their openness, integrity and engagement. And thank you to Danny Felsteiner for sharing his knowledge and expertise with generosity and warmth, and with unceasing energy!


In September 2012, Chris Nicholson set up a music therapy program for people living with HIV and AIDS at a clinic in urban central Rwanda. In September 2013, he returned to continue his therapy work with vulnerable HIV+ adolescents and to train staff in Music & Health. He is Project Manager of Rwanda Youth Music.  Prior to his involvement with music therapy, Chris had an international performance and teaching career as a classical guitarist. He studied classical guitar at the Royal Academy of Music, London, and in Spain with maestros Jose Tomas and Alex Garrobe.

Topics: Rwanda