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Where We Work

Musicians Without Borders programs impact thousands of young people every day through music. Working in some of the world’s most vulnerable communities, we work closely with local musicians and organizations to build sustainable projects in response to local needs.

We are currently active in Kosovo, Palestine, Greece, Northern Ireland, Germany, Rwanda, Uganda, El Salvador, Italy, and the Netherlands.

Rwanda Youth Music
Background

"Music is a symbol of friendship in our country. It helps us to be released from depression in order to have a better future. I think we will learn how to show others who are HIV+ that they have a value for themselves and for their country."•• Community Music Leaders, Kigali, Rwanda

Rwanda Youth Music was developed at the invitation of local partner WE-ACTx for Hope to support the needs of children and young people living with HIV. The most appropriate and effective musical approaches are embedded in WE-ACTx for Hope’s clinical support structure, sustainably providing young patients with opportunities for positive creative expression and social empowerment through musical interaction.

Music Therapy

In 2013, Musicians without Borders was invited to support the establishment of the country’s first professional Music Therapy position. Since then, in small groups and in 1-1 sessions, over 100 young people living with HIV have attended and benefitted from music therapy sessions with a UK qualified and registered music therapist. In evaluation, 100% of interviewed participants reported positive impact.

Innovative methods of practice have been developed to enable many more people to access the benefits of music therapy. Rwandan musicians have been trained to run therapeutic music groups; and a training course has been developed in Music & Health, accredited within the University of Rwanda’s forthcoming BA Music.

Community Music Leaders

Community Music Leaders are trained to use music as a tool for social change, community building, and healing. Since 2012, international and Rwandan trainers have facilitated the training of 80 Community Music Leaders in Rwanda, each receiving 116 hours of professional training.

Training focuses on musical skills; leadership skills; and introductions to principles of non-violence, non-judgment, inclusion and participation that inform Musicians without Borders’ working ethos. Rwandan trainers provide on-going support, and ensure local culture is embedded in the training.

Ubumuntu

The Community Music Leaders in Rwanda wrote and recorded “Ubumuntu”, a song that speaks of their commitment to music as a resource for change and community. Ubumuntu is a compassionate way of living together. It asks all people to have empathy and to feel the human needs of others.

To Rwandans the word signifies sharing, giving, and supporting the needs of your neighbors.

Outreach & Advocacy

Over 30,000 young people across Rwanda have participated in musical outreach events.

Community Music Leaders have travelled to centres for former street children; refugee camps; and to communities affected by HIV. They lead children to dance, sing, write songs, and play instruments, using their skills in leadership and nonviolent communication to create safe and creative experiences.

The program helps advocate for the adoption of music approaches developed in Rwanda for WE-ACTx for Hope. This has led to employment opportunities for the young music leaders, and the inclusion in training courses of members of other organisations.

Lastest News
June 26, 2018
June 26, 2018

Our training program in Rwanda continues in partnership with WE-ACTx for Hope, Ready for Reading and SACCK. This month, our trainees wrote a song together titled “Urukundo” (Love).

read more ›

This year in Rwanda we started a four week training in partnership with WE-Actx for Hope, Ready for Reading and SACCK.

read more ›

A small piece of the story of Musicians without Borders’ work can be told through numbers; the number of people participating in programs, the number of activities that have taken place, the number of organizations around the world with which we work. Of course, each of these numbers represents a story in itself, of the music made by people in a moment of their lives.

read more ›

At the weekend, a new training course in MwB Community Music Leadership began in Rwanda’s Eastern Province, led entirely by a team of Rwandan musicians and community leaders trained by Musicians without Borders.
The trainees are 20 community members (aged 13-50) who are engaged with supporting young people facing limited opportunities due to poverty, illiteracy, rural unemployment, gender based violence, and formerly living as street children.
This training shares the skills and experience developed since 2010 at our partner WE-ACTx for Hope, and is organised with the organisation Ready for Reading.

read more ›

The outreach program continues in Rwanda! Over 100 children from 3 local organisations danced, sang, wrote songs, and played drums strengthening old connections and creating new friendships.

read more ›
February 22, 2018
February 22, 2018

“Every time we go out and meet children who don’t access music and do music together, its like working with little angels because the smile and happiness on their face is priceless.”

read more ›
December 25, 2017
December 25, 2017

We would like to share some highlights from our Rwanda Youth Music program in 2017.

read more ›
•• Topics Rwanda Youth Music

Rwanda Youth Music project assistant Allison Shyaka traveled to Europe last month to attend our Training of Trainers. Read his story!

read more ›
Photos

At the weekend, a new training course in MwB Community Music Leadership began in Rwanda’s Eastern Province, led entirely by a team of Rwandan musicians and community leaders trained by Musicians without Borders.
The trainees are 20 community members (aged 13-50) who are engaged with supporting young people facing limited opportunities due to poverty, illiteracy, rural unemployment, gender based violence, and formerly living as street children.
This training shares the skills and experience developed since 2010 at our partner WE-ACTx for Hope, and is organised with the organisation Ready for Reading.

read more ›

This year marks the first MwB training course delivered entirely by our Rwandan team. Yves and Espoir are working as lead trainers, alongside a team of experienced music leaders. They are training a group of 15 young people to use music to benefit 100s of vulnerable children.

read more ›

On Tuesday, April 5th, we concluded a year-long community music training for 30 Burundian youth living in the largest refugee camp in Rwanda, home to 50,000 refugees, of whom more than 30,000 are children.

On their graduation day they performed and worked with thousands of children in an uplifting event.

As MwB Community Music Leaders, they now bring hope, healing, and joy every day to the thousands of children at Mahama refugee camp. With music.

Please help us raise EUR 6000 by the end of April to sustain this program:

http://mwb.to/donate

read more ›

We’re training 30 Burundian refugees to become Community Music Leaders in the largest refugee camp in Rwanda, home to 50,000 people, over 30,000 of whom are children and youth.

They are learning how to use music to connect, heal and give hope to thousands of children in Mahama Refugee Camp.

This is the fourth and last training week. We’re working with the trainees for 4 days, preparing them to run a community music event for all the camp’s children!

Improving their improvisation skills, they learn ways to tap into their creativity, think outside the box, and create a safe environment for the children for creativity and expression.

Please support our work by securing the future of this program and give today: http://mwb.to/donate

read more ›

We explained to the trainees that the next day we would work with children from the village, and they would lead workshops of drumming, songwriting and movement. Stage one of the workshops would be to go into the community and talk with the children and their families and to invite them to participate. The result was 80 children, including street children and homeless youth, singing and smiling in community music-making.

This was the practical experience assignment during the third week of training for this group of trainees. The trainees are from Burundi, living in Rwanda as refugees at Mahama camp. http://mwb.ngo

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This week MwB Community Music Leaders have given music workshops for 200 young refugees as part of our outreach program.
These photos show both the joy and the conditions experienced in workshops at Mugombwa refugee camp.
https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/music-supports/
#MusicConnects

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During the second week of their training, 30 trainees from Burundi living as refugees in Rwanda practiced their new skills as Community Music Leaders.

On the 4th day they worked with children from their community in Mahama refugee camp, writing songs, playing movement games, singing, and dancing.

#MusicConnects #PeaceEveryDay http://mwb.link/friends

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Yesterday we began the second week of training in Community Music Leadership for a group of 30 people from Burundi living as refugees in Rwanda, at Mahama camp.

Danny, our trainer, wrote: “I’m so inspired. Many of the 30 young Burundian refugees that I teach this week are called Community Mobilizers. They work with hundreds of children DAILY at the refugee camp. There are more than 30,000 children in the refugee camp, and these young leaders are determined to reach every single child, and bring them the joy of music.

For the past two days, we danced, sang, drummed, and learned about issues of safety, behavior, and setting rules. Tomorrow we will practice songwriting, and plan their workshops with the children on Friday.”

Help us support the team of Community Music Leaders in Rwanda:
https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/music-supports/

#PeaceEveryDay #MusicConnects

read more ›
Videos

One of the great successes of the Rwanda Youth Music program is that young people who received Musicians without Borders training as Community Music Leaders, are now finding opportunities with other organizations as trainers and teachers of music.

read more ›

Yves Kana works with Musicians without Borders since 2012 as a music teacher and assistant trainer. He reaches 1000s of vulnerable children with his work. We need your support to continue and train more Rwandan community musicians in 2017.

read more ›

Over the past 12 months we have worked with a group of thirty young people from Burundi living as refugees in Mahama camp, Rwanda. A team of MwB trainers from Rwanda, Israel and the Netherlands have led them through our course of Community Music Leadership, to become leaders in their community using musical and nonviolent approaches. During this period, they stepped into the role, leading music workshops with an astonishing 35,000 young people in Mahama refugee camp.

read more ›
•• Topics Rwanda Youth Music Videos

Your donation can support Community Music Leaders to work with 1000s of vulnerable refugee children in Rwanda. They use music to bring an experience of community, safety, creativity and joy to children who too often face isolation, danger, stagnation and sadness.

read more ›
•• Topics Rwanda Youth Music Videos

We want to take this opportunity to celebrate a group of African children who we work with in Rwanda. These young Rwandans volunteer their time every single week to give support to 100s of vulnerable children through dance, song, instruments, games and musical activities.

read more ›
•• Topics Rwanda Youth Music Videos

In February 2013 Leontine graduated from Musicians without Borders’ music leadership training in Kigali, Rwanda. Since then she and her 24 colleagues have brought music to thousands of HIV+ children.

read more ›
•• Topics Rwanda Youth Music Videos

An overview of the music leadership training program, with a video clip of a new song the youth leaders wrote.

read more ›
•• Topics Rwanda Youth Music Videos

This song was written by the youth leaders during a songwriting workshop they gave to children in the program.

read more ›
•• Topics Rwanda Youth Music Videos
Soy Música
Background

El Salvador is a country that suffered a brutal civil war from 1980 to 1992. Today in El Salvador, many years after ‘peace’ was declared, inequality, fear and violence still prevail.

We have partnered with UNICEF and the Ministry of Education of El Salvador, as part of a national program to build capacities for teachers in peacebuilding.

Community Music Leadership Training

We are training 35 Salvadoran music teachers and community facilitators to become community music leaders, and use music as a tool to promote inclusion and social harmony.

The training is based on our Community Music Leadership training that has been developed and delivered in Central-East Africa, the Middle East and Europe. Following an assessment visit in March, our team has further developed and adapted the program to the local needs in El Salvador.

For more information about the program, please contact m.ortega@musicianswithoutborders.org

Blog / News

We’re back in El Salvador for the fourth training week in our program Soy Música.

We are training 35 Salvadoran music teachers and community facilitators to become community music leaders, and use music as a tool to promote inclusion and social harmony among thousands of children in El Salvador.

The program is in partnership with Unicef El Salvador and the Ministerio de Educación E.S.

Fore more information: http://mwb.to/soymusica

#MusicConnects

read more ›
•• Topics Photo Albums Soy Música

A small piece of the story of Musicians without Borders’ work can be told through numbers; the number of people participating in programs, the number of activities that have taken place, the number of organizations around the world with which we work. Of course, each of these numbers represents a story in itself, of the music made by people in a moment of their lives.

read more ›

We’re back in El Salvador for the third training week in our program Soy Música. We are training 35 Salvadoran music teachers and community facilitators to become community music leaders, and use music as a tool to promote inclusion and social harmony among thousands of children in El Salvador.

read more ›
•• Topics Photo Albums Soy Música

Meet Saúl Gestoni, an arts teacher who joined our training program, Soy Música, in El Salvador.

read more ›

Those who like millions of Salvadorans have been impacted by war know that the mere absence of physical violence is a poor substitute for true peace.

read more ›
•• Topics Personal Blogs Soy Música

This week, we began the second phase of our Soy Música training in El Salvador with good energy and music making. We expect a full and intense week ahead of new experiences in community music leadership!

This program is in partnership with Unicef El Salvador and the Ministerio de Educación E.S. http://mwb.to/soymusica #MusicConnects

read more ›
•• Topics Photo Albums Soy Música
October 10, 2017
October 10, 2017

The program in El Salvador “Soy Música” is taking its first steps forward.

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•• Topics Soy Música
September 1, 2017
September 1, 2017

Last week our team traveled to El Salvador to kick off  our new program, Soy Música, in partnership with UNICEF and the Ministry of Education.

read more ›
•• Topics Press Release Soy Música
Photos

We’re back in El Salvador for the fourth training week in our program Soy Música.

We are training 35 Salvadoran music teachers and community facilitators to become community music leaders, and use music as a tool to promote inclusion and social harmony among thousands of children in El Salvador.

The program is in partnership with Unicef El Salvador and the Ministerio de Educación E.S.

Fore more information: http://mwb.to/soymusica

#MusicConnects

read more ›
•• Topics Photo Albums Soy Música

We’re back in El Salvador for the third training week in our program Soy Música. We are training 35 Salvadoran music teachers and community facilitators to become community music leaders, and use music as a tool to promote inclusion and social harmony among thousands of children in El Salvador.

read more ›
•• Topics Photo Albums Soy Música

This week, we began the second phase of our Soy Música training in El Salvador with good energy and music making. We expect a full and intense week ahead of new experiences in community music leadership!

This program is in partnership with Unicef El Salvador and the Ministerio de Educación E.S. http://mwb.to/soymusica #MusicConnects

read more ›
•• Topics Photo Albums Soy Música

We are training 35 music teachers and community facilitators in community music leadership, reaching out to thousands of children across the country, and using music for inclusion and social harmony.

This program is in partnership with Unicef El Salvador and the Ministerio de Educación E.S.

For more information: http://mwb.to/soymusica

#MusicConnects

read more ›
•• Topics Photo Albums Soy Música

In March we were invited by Unicef El Salvador and the Ministerio de Educacion E.S. to assess the needs and structure for a community music leadership training in El Salvador. The aim is to address the high level of violence in the country and reach thousands of children using music as a tool for community building, reducing violence, and bringing hope.

During the week we visited several community and cultural centers, running workshops with children, and structuring the program to start later this year.

We would like to thank the following centers for welcoming and sharing their music with us:
Centro Cultural Pablo Tesak,
Armonia Cuscatleca,
Centro Arte para la Paz,
Centro de Arte y Cultura, Escuela de Música “Paco Cutumay”

#MusicConnects http://mwb.ngo

read more ›
•• Topics Photo Albums Soy Música
Mitrovica Rock School & Music Connects

In Europe’s most divided city, Mitrovica in Kosovo, the conflict between Serb and Albanian communities still continues with barricaded bridges over the Ibar river, increased tensions and regular outbursts of violence. Musicians without Borders and partners CBM and the Fontys Rockacademie have successfully run an inter-ethnic youth project since 2008.

Mitrovica Rock School

The Mitrovica Rock School provides a neutral platform for youth from both sides of ethnically divided Mitrovica to meet as young musicians and song writers. The Rock School provides daily lessons and band coaching sessions and connects youth through weekly inter-ethnic workshops and its program for ethnically mixed bands. Over 1,200 youth have attended the Mitrovica Rock School since the program started in 2008.

Music Connects

Music Connects is a new project supported by Creative Twinning, a program of Netherlands Enterprise Agency, and other donors. In partnership with Fontys RockacademieMitrovica Rock SchoolRoma Rock School and Music School Enterprise, the project activates youth and builds sustainable alternatives for social inclusion through state-of-the art rock music education, production and promotion.

Music Connects will deliver thousands of music activities to Serb, Albanian, Macedonian, Roma and other youth. We will establish a recording studio in Mitrovica and train sound engineers in Mitrovica and Skopje, increasing cultural participation and cooperation and lowering the barrier for young bands to enter the region’s emerging music scene.

 

Documentary

Video production house HATCHED-MV will produce a documentary on Music Connects as an audiovisual testimony to the power of music to connect people across divides. HATCHED-MV previously supported our Mitrovica Rock School by working pro bono to create the music video Set Me Free for our ethnically mixed band Proximity Mine. The documentary is set to be released in the first half of 2020.

News

We talked to Ana Petanovska, about her first experience at the Mitrovica Rock School’s 2018 Band Camp and singing with High Frequency.

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School’s out & the summer school is in! Meet some of our 2018 Skopje Summer School participants.

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Female front woman, Marina (18) opens up about living out of her comfort zone, confronting the patriarchy and her band, Feed D Fury.

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We’re happy to announce Music Connects, a Creative Twinning project that brings together youth at three rock schools in former Yugoslavia, using state-of-the-art rock music education to promote social inclusion.

read more ›

Mitrovica Rock School band Proximity Mine opened the 16th North City Jazz and Blues Festival, becoming the first ethnically mixed Rock School band to play publicly in Mitrovica.

read more ›

Four mixed Mitrovica Rock School bands will perform their own songs at a spring concert on May 12.

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Longtime Mitrovica Rock School member Jelena Zafirovic has been the front woman and lead song writer of two ethnically mixed bands, Sublime 6 and Rootless. She is now working on her first solo album, Melancholia. We asked Jelena about life as a musician in Mitrovica and what inspired the album.

read more ›

On April 14, ethnically mixed Mitrovica Rock School band Proximity Mine performed for hundreds of soldiers on a truck stage at a benefit march and concert. The proceeds of the event will go to a public address system needed for school concerts.

read more ›
Videos
February 1, 2018
Proximity Mine - Set Me Free

Mixed Mitrovica Rock School band Proximity Mine recorded a music video in Vienna, directed, filmed and produced for the Mitrovica Rock School by Hatched-MV: hatched-mv.com

Ristevski and Emir Hasani

Proximity Mine: https://www.proximitymine.com/

November 16, 2017
2017 Skopje Summer School

In August 2017, our Mitrovica Rock School kicked off its anniversary year with our tenth annual summer school. Seven mixed bands, formed by Rock School students from both sides of ethnically divided Mitrovica, wrote, rehearsed, recorded and performed their original songs during a fun-packed musical week in neighboring Macedonia.

Music: Rootless

Video: Goran Jolovic

October 9, 2017
Rootless - Fantasy

Music video Fantasy of ethnically mixed band Rootless, a high-energy dream team formed by highly talented, long-term students of our Mitrovica Rock School.

July 6, 2017
Neverland - You Don't Care

Neverland, a mixed Mitrovica Rock School band, recorded in May 2017 in Mitrovica and at the Mitrovica Rock School.

April 18, 2017
Proximity Mine needs your help!

Mixed band Proximity Mine are from Mitrovica (Kosovo), a city completely divided by war. They are setting an example to their generation, and they need your help. Click here to donate! 

January 30, 2017
Proximity Mine - Sorry Mom

Proximity Mine, a mixed band formed by students of the Mitrovica Rock School, recorded January 2017 at the Mitrovica Rock School.

 

January 1, 2017
Sublime 6 - Battery

Acoustic version of Battery by mixed Mitrovica Rock School band Sublime 6. Sublime 6 was formed in 2013 under the Rock School’s Ambassador Band Program.

January 15, 2017
Akasha - Fire

Acoustic version of Fire by mixed Mitrovica Rock School band Akasha

August 28, 2016
2016 Summer School

The 2016 Summer School for ethnically mixed bands organized by the Mitrovica Rock School, August 21 to 28, 2016.

August 27, 2016
Proximity Mine - MWAH (live)

Live recording of Proximity Mine, an ethnically mixed band formed in August 2016 by students of the Mitrovica Rock School.

August 27, 2016
High Frequency - No Way Out (live)

Live recording of High Frequency, an ethnically mixed band formed in August 2016 by students of the Mitrovica Rock School.

August 1, 2015
2015 Remix Band Camp

The 2015 Remix Band Camp of the Mitrovica Rock School, where students from the Rock School’s north and south branches worked in ethnically mixed bands and wrote, recorded and performed their own songs.

 

June 1, 2015
The Suck of Psychotic - Lost In Love

Music video of ethnically mixed Mitrovica Rock School band The Suck of Psychotic

 

October 1, 2014
Astral Dreamers - Scream

Music video of ethnically mixed Mitrovica Rock School band Astral Dreamers

 

August 1, 2014
2014 Ambassador Band Camp

At the 2014 Ambassador Band Camp, four ethnically mixed bands from the divided city of Mitrovica, Kosovo, came together in neighboring Macedonia to write, record and perform their own songs.

May 1, 2014
Mitrovica Rock School at TEDx

Rock School co-founder Wendy Hassler-Forest of Musicians without Borders speaks at TEDx Tirana about what it has meant to set up an inter-ethnic rock music school in a town as rigidly divided as Mitrovica.

November 1, 2013
The Artchitects - Let It Go

The Rock School’s first Ambassador Band, the Artchitects, was formed in 2011. After a one-year break in 2012-2013, they got together again in August 2013 with a brand new sound. Let It Go was the first song written after the band regrouped.

November 1, 2013
Sublime 6 - The Animals

Sublime 6 was formed in August 2013 and immediately faced a set-back when two of its members left the band. The band got back together in November 2013, with a new drummer and now only five members, and continues to this day writing and performing under the name Sublime 6.

August 1, 2013
2013 Ambassador Band Camp

From August 25 to September 1, four Ambassador Bands of the Mitrovica Rock School rehearsed, recorded and performed in Skopje, Macedonia. Schism, Sublime 6, the Toe May Toes and the Artchitects came together to finish songs they wrote in Mitrovica.

August 1, 2011
2011 Skopje Summer School

Every year since 2008, the Mitrovica Rock School has brought young musicians from north and south Mitrovica together at the annual Skopje Summer School. At the Summer School, students work in mixed bands towards a big concert in the Skopje City Park.

Photos

School’s out & the summer school is in! Meet some of our 2018 Skopje Summer School participants.

read more ›
August 24, 2017
August 24, 2017

Our Mitrovica Rock School is hosting its 10th annual summer school this week in Skopje, Macedonia, where students come together from both sides of the divided city of Mitrovica to write, record and perform original songs.

read more ›

On December 8, 2016, a team from our Mitrovica Rock School in Kosovo met Marky Ramone and thanked him for his support to Musicians without Borders and our Rock School project. His band performed in one of the t-shirts we presented him with.

Marky Ramone, thank you for your support!

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Meet the teachers at Musicians without Borders’ rock music school in Mitrovica, Kosovo.

Learn more about the Mitrovica Rock School here: https://www.musicianswithoutborders.org/projects/mitrovica-rock-school/overview/

read more ›
March 31, 2016
Donors
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands
Supported by Creative Twinning, a program of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs implemented by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency.
Austrian Development Agency
2013, 2014, 2016, 2018
Culture for Change
2018
Hard Rock Café Amsterdam
2018
Australian Direct Aid Program
2018
Soroptimist Club Amersfoort
2018
Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation
2017
Stability Pact Fund through the German Embassy to Kosovo
2014-2015, 2016-2017
Robert Bosch Stiftung
2009, 2013-2014, 2015, 2017
Global Peace Building Foundation
2017, 2018
D'Addario Foundation
2015-2016, 2018
Haella Foundation
2015-2017
UNDP
2016
Culture for All
2016
United States Embassy in Pristina
2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Marky Ramone's Choice Beer
2014-2016
Marky Ramone - in cooperation with Cervesa Guineu and MediaDavid - supports Musicians without Borders and its Mitrovica Rock School project with proceeds from the sale of Marky Ramone's Choice Beer.
European Union
2013-2015
The Mitrovica Rock School is an EU funded project managed by the European Union Office in Kosovo.
Norwegian Embassy in Pristina
2010, 2011, 2012-2014
Swiss Cooperation Office
2012-2014
Through NGO KCSF
Luxembourg Caritas
2012-2013
Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Matra Projects Program
2010-2012
French Embassy in Pristina
2010-2012
Finnish Embassy in Pristina
2010, 2011
USAID
2009-2010
Through AED
NCDO/Matra
2008-2009
PAX
2008
Wilde Ganzen Foundation
2008
Austrian Development Agency
2013, 2014, 2016, 2018
Soroptimist Club Amersfoort
2018
Global Peace Building Foundation
2017, 2018
Culture for All
2016
Norwegian Embassy in Pristina
2010, 2011, 2012-2014
French Embassy in Pristina
2010-2012
PAX
2008
Culture for Change
2018
Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation
2017
D'Addario Foundation
2015-2016, 2018
United States Embassy in Pristina
2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Swiss Cooperation Office
2012-2014
Through NGO KCSF
Finnish Embassy in Pristina
2010, 2011
Wilde Ganzen Foundation
2008
Hard Rock Café Amsterdam
2018
Stability Pact Fund through the German Embassy to Kosovo
2014-2015, 2016-2017
Haella Foundation
2015-2017
Marky Ramone's Choice Beer
2014-2016
Marky Ramone - in cooperation with Cervesa Guineu and MediaDavid - supports Musicians without Borders and its Mitrovica Rock School project with proceeds from the sale of Marky Ramone's Choice Beer.
Luxembourg Caritas
2012-2013
USAID
2009-2010
Through AED
Theory of Change

Our monitoring, evaluation, and learning protocols for the project Music Connects are informed by our Theory of Change. Please also see Musicians without Borders’ overall Theory of Change.

Applying Musicians without Borders’ MEL practices, the partners in Music Connects keep detailed quantitative records of their activities, conducts regular participant evaluations, and are introducing the Most Significant Change methodology. We will share details in 2018 regarding our collaboration with academic partners on an external project review.

Music Bridge

Music Bridge is a multi-year collaborative project to create sustainable community music programs within Northern Ireland’s divided communities.

Background

Music Bridge employs the expertise of Musicians without Borders in partnership with Culturlann Uí Chanáin, a pioneer in bringing a multi-ethnic approach to the exploration of arts and culture in the city of Derry-Londonderry.

This collaborative project trains community music professionals, local musicians and community organizations in using music to contribute to reconciliation and bridge building across the divides that history has created in Northern Ireland.

Music Bridge

The goal of Music Bridge is to create sustainable community music programs contributing to reconciliation, community building and healing for people throughout Derry-Londonderry.

We lead music workshop leadership training for community workers and musicians interested in developing meaningful projects in their communities with a focus on children and youth from fragile environments.

Our trainees have been able to organize and implement creative music activities within both single and mixed identity communities with the aim of strengthening their self-identity, creating common goals while learning more about what connects us rather than what separates us. The trainees use their acquired variety of musical skills to further their understanding of positive group leadership, principles of nonviolence and emotional self-awareness. Ultimately, the project aims to establish successful working models of community music programs that can gradually be implemented throughout Northern Ireland.

 

Blog / News

A small piece of the story of Musicians without Borders’ work can be told through numbers; the number of people participating in programs, the number of activities that have taken place, the number of organizations around the world with which we work. Of course, each of these numbers represents a story in itself, of the music made by people in a moment of their lives.

read more ›

An interview with Amanda Koser-Gillespie, our trainer and music coach for our Music Bridge program in partnership with Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin (Northern Ireland).

read more ›

Our project partner, Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin, will run a series of workshops for community professionals in the coming months, based on our longer-form community music training program – Music Bridge – in Northern Ireland.

read more ›
•• Topics Music Bridge

Today our trainees ran the final community event as part of our 2016-2017 Music Bridge training program in partnership with Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin. Almost 100 children participated in a 2.5 hours event “The Sounds of Seasons”!

Thank you St Eugene’s Primary School, Model Primary School and Gaelscoil Éadain Mhóir.

#MusicConnects http://mwb.ngo

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•• Topics Music Bridge Photo Albums

This is the final week of our 2016-2017 Music Bridge training program in partnership with Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin. This year, our trainees introduced their skills as music workshop leaders within a range of communities across Northern Ireland and abroad, working with prisoners, women’s groups, refugees and asylum seekers, schools and community groups.

#MusicConnects http://mwb.ngo

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•• Topics Music Bridge Photo Albums

As we prepare for the final week of training for our 2016-2017 Music Bridge program, we are taking stock of how our trainees have been developing as community music workshop leaders over the course of the year.

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April 11, 2017
April 11, 2017

Last week, our trainees came together again in Northern Ireland to exchange and deepen their skills as community music workshop leaders.

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We’re in Northern Ireland this week to continue training community music workshop leaders in our Music Bridge project. We’re joined by researchers from Queen’s University Belfast who wish learn more about our work as part of their multi-year study ‘Sounding Conflict: From Resistance to Reconciliation.’

Learn more: https://www.musicianswithoutborders.org/2017/03/sounding-conflict-research-study/

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•• Topics Music Bridge Photo Albums
Photos

Today our trainees ran the final community event as part of our 2016-2017 Music Bridge training program in partnership with Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin. Almost 100 children participated in a 2.5 hours event “The Sounds of Seasons”!

Thank you St Eugene’s Primary School, Model Primary School and Gaelscoil Éadain Mhóir.

#MusicConnects http://mwb.ngo

read more ›
•• Topics Music Bridge Photo Albums

This is the final week of our 2016-2017 Music Bridge training program in partnership with Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin. This year, our trainees introduced their skills as music workshop leaders within a range of communities across Northern Ireland and abroad, working with prisoners, women’s groups, refugees and asylum seekers, schools and community groups.

#MusicConnects http://mwb.ngo

read more ›
•• Topics Music Bridge Photo Albums

We’re in Northern Ireland this week to continue training community music workshop leaders in our Music Bridge project. We’re joined by researchers from Queen’s University Belfast who wish learn more about our work as part of their multi-year study ‘Sounding Conflict: From Resistance to Reconciliation.’

Learn more: https://www.musicianswithoutborders.org/2017/03/sounding-conflict-research-study/

read more ›
•• Topics Music Bridge Photo Albums

This was the second week of training in our Northern Ireland project this year. We are training musicians and community workers to become community music leaders.

Today, 26 children enjoyed 2 hours of creative music workshops run by our trainees. They danced, sang, wrote songs, built instruments from junk, and performed in front of their friends!

This program is in partnership with Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin.

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•• Topics Music Bridge Photo Albums

We’re back to Northern Ireland training musicians and community workers to become community music leaders.

The project aims to address the consequences of the N.Ireland conflict, reaching out to communities affected by years of hostilities and mistrust. Through music we bridge divides and create empathic connections that help to rebuild a more resilient and peaceful society.

This program is in partnership with Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin.

#MusicConnects http://mwb.ngo

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•• Topics Music Bridge Photo Albums
November 13, 2016
November 13, 2016

We’ve begun year three of our project in Northern Ireland this week, training local musicians to run workshops for children with a focus on inclusivity, community building and creative music making.

Learn more about the Music Bridge program: mwb.to/musicbridge

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•• Topics Music Bridge Photo Albums
September 19, 2016
September 19, 2016

This week is the final training of the second year of the Music Bridge program. To date, we’ve trained over 30 community music leaders, reaching thousands of children and youth living in divided cities across Northern Ireland through music workshops.

Registration is now available for the new training season: http://culturlann-doire.ie/an-tacadamh-ceoil/music-bridge/

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•• Topics Music Bridge Photo Albums

We’re back at Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin this week, training local musicians to become music workshop leaders, reaching communities across Northern Ireland. This week, our trainees will work with two groups of students from the NW Academy of English and Model Primary School, putting their workshop skills to good practice!

read more ›
•• Topics Music Bridge Photo Albums
Palestine Community Music
We implement programs using music as a tool for community building and social change, in partnership with Sounds of Palestine.
Music for Social Change

Since 2008, Palestine Community Music has grown to become a multifaceted program that empowers youth to express themselves and serve their communities.

The project offers uplifting, music-based activities to young people who lack social or cultural opportunities, and reaches thousands of the most marginalized children of the West Bank. Our programs include Music and Nonviolence Leadership training, music workshops for the deaf and children with special needs and the Musical Playground. We also run special projects using rap as a tool for social change as well as offer Music as Therapy training, in cooperation with Music as Therapy International.

Musical Playground

The Musical Playground program maximizes impact with our limited staff, while retaining the rich diversity of activities and target groups. Thousands of school children each year benefit from regular music workshops including dancing, singing, rapping and body percussion, empowering and engaging children, school staff and families in a festive celebration.

Sounds of Palestine

We work in close cooperation with Sounds of Palestine, supporting the program with training and musical resources. Sounds of Palestine uses music education as a medium for long term social change, offering regular lessons per week to the many participating children. Hundreds of children from Aida and al-Azzeh refugee camp in the Bethlehem area participate in music appreciation lessons, instrument instruction, folk dancing, choir, music theory lessons and orchestral training.

Social Change Through Samba

Musicians without Borders coaches drum groups composed of young Palestinians from refugee camps and villages surrounded by the wall. Samba percussion connects the drummers and the audience with joyful, contagious and empowering rhythms. The samba instruments are used during community events, including nonviolent vigils and percussion workshops for local youth.

Blog / News
September 4, 2018
September 4, 2018

Our Palestine Community Music Program Manager on the connection between observation and effective training.

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As we enter the last phase of the Music as Therapy Blended Learning Course, we learn more about how music therapy is being used in Palestine.

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A small piece of the story of Musicians without Borders’ work can be told through numbers; the number of people participating in programs, the number of activities that have taken place, the number of organizations around the world with which we work. Of course, each of these numbers represents a story in itself, of the music made by people in a moment of their lives.

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After eight months of studying tutorials provided by Music as Therapy International and writing assignments, our six Palestinian trainees have started their practical work in three different locations.

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It doesn’t happen every day that the school we work in is exactly located next to the entrance of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. So we were happy to arrive too early and walk around the beautiful gardens with a unique irrigation system from the Roman Period.

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Today we gave two more workshops in a different school in Tqu’a, a village east of Bethlehem, Palestine. Enjoy the pictures of the children from the 1st-6th grade of the al-Arsa school. Thank you for your hospitality!

#MusicConnects http://mwb.to/donate

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February 26, 2018
February 26, 2018

Can music really make a change? Yes! Read about the powerful workshops led by Halimeh for children with special needs in Palestine.

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February 20, 2018
February 20, 2018

We visited the public primary school ‘al-Huriyah’ in Tqu’a village and gave music workshops to 470 boys and girls, age 6-11.

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Photos

After eight months of studying tutorials provided by Music as Therapy International and writing assignments, our six Palestinian trainees have started their practical work in three different locations.

read more ›

It doesn’t happen every day that the school we work in is exactly located next to the entrance of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. So we were happy to arrive too early and walk around the beautiful gardens with a unique irrigation system from the Roman Period.

read more ›

Today we gave two more workshops in a different school in Tqu’a, a village east of Bethlehem, Palestine. Enjoy the pictures of the children from the 1st-6th grade of the al-Arsa school. Thank you for your hospitality!

#MusicConnects http://mwb.to/donate

read more ›
February 20, 2018
February 20, 2018

We visited the public primary school ‘al-Huriyah’ in Tqu’a village and gave music workshops to 470 boys and girls, age 6-11.

read more ›

Today we gave music workshops to 518 children in the ‘Haifa public mixed school’ in the village Beit Fajjar, Palestine.

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Our brilliant workshop leader Halimeh Sarabtah Deaf gave another series of music workshops in January to children and teenagers with special needs in the Ramallah district, Palestine. Using paper sheets and sticks, Halimeh creates a special music environment that can be enjoyed by both hearing and deaf people. Thank you Halimeh for your beautiful work!

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After our Musical Playground in the Girls School of Beit Fajjar, another school in the same village heard about the program and invited us.

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October and November have been two exciting months for our special music program in Palestine: Halimeh Sarabtah Deaf, our deaf music workshop leader, participated in the Training of Trainers in The Netherlands, started working in three new centers, and gave 81 music workshops to deaf children and children with special needs.

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Videos
January 22, 2018
January 22, 2018

Our partners Sounds of Palestine participated in Palestine Philharmonie’s 2nd Winter Music Academy.

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Our deaf music workshop Halimeh traveled to The Netherlands to participate in Musicians without Borders’ Training of Trainers.

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June 26, 2017
June 26, 2017

In April and May our local team of Palestinian musicians worked together with Dutch musicians to perform ‘Fe Beit Fe Holanda’ (In Holland is a House) for 1340 children in Palestine.

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In November 2015, Musicians without Borders organized a rap workshop leader training for Palestinian rappers. After an incredible training week with Dutch rappers and spoken word artists Manu and Guus (Kern Koppen), the five Palestinian rappers Abed, Mohammad A., Nadim, Mohammad G. and Ahmad organized several series of rap workshops for children in their communities.

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Watch the video clip Soud Homaidi made of the song written by blind children from al-Shurouq School. The song is recorded in our music studio in Dheisheh refugee camp and is the result of a series of ten rap workshops given by Musicians without Borders’ rap workshop leaders.

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December 11, 2014
December 11, 2014

In November and December, four grades from the Ephpheta Paul VI Institute received a series of ten rap music workshops from Musicians without Borders rap workshop leaders Mohammad, Soud and Hisham. The kids are deaf, but that didn’t keep them from making music, rapping and writing words for their own songs!

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Halimeh Sarabtah is deaf, but that didn’t stop her from realizing her dream and study special education, so she can help children with special needs, blind and deaf. And now, also with music. Halimeh followed the Music Workshop Leadership training of Musicians without Borders and Holy Land Trust in Palestine which allowed her to incorporate music into her work.

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Halimeh is one of the 90 young people trained by Musicians without Borders as community music workshop leader in Palestine, where we now bring music to more than 5000 marginalized children. She is especially gifted in working with children with special needs. Since Halimeh finished our training, she has been working daily with children and adults with special needs, giving workshops in art and music. Halimeh is deaf. By joining Musicians without Borders, she has not only enriched our work with ‘special children’; she has also opened the door to other hearing-impaired Palestinian youth to use music to break out of isolation and raise their voices for human rights.

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Welcome Notes

Bringing comfort, solidarity and hope to war refugees through music.

Background

As refugees arrive in increasing numbers in Europe, Musicians without Borders is building a program of support and solidarity. Our trainers and workshop leaders use the power of music to engage people living in emergency reception centers, building trust and connection among refugees, as well as with the local communities in which they are now located. Following our pilot project in the Netherlands, we’ve now expanded the Welcome Notes project to Italy and Germany and are focusing on providing training and creating connections between local musicians, organizations and refugee communities throughout Europe.

Goals:

  • bring hope and comfort to those who have been driven from their homes by war;
  • build bridges and create solidarity in European communities;
  • provide a safe, fun, and supportive space for artistic expression and cultural exchange.
Photo copyright: Landesmusikakademie NRW. Pictures: Volker Beushausen
Training for Musicians

We offer training for musicians, music teachers and workshop leaders from all cultural backgrounds who wish to increase their ability to use music as a tool to work towards the social inclusion and support of refugees and newcomers. This training has been specially adapted from our advanced training course and offers the necessary skills to lead music workshops with refugees in European communities.

The following skills and subjects are addressed in the training:

  • Community music approaches to singing, (body) percussion, movement, songwriting
  • Trust-building and teamwork
  • Basic trauma awareness
  • Nonviolent communication and building empathy between participants
  • Nonverbal techniques for music making
  • Creativity and improvisation
  • Connection with organizations and initiatives working in local refugee centers and communities

Would you like to receive information on upcoming training opportunities? Send an email to: a.swinkels@mwb.ngo

We’re open to discussing the implementation of Welcome Notes training opportunities with partner organizations in other European countries. Please contact: a.swinkels@mwb.ngo

ART27

Musicians without Borders is proud to announce the launch of ART27, a platform for all artists and arts organizations for an open and welcoming Europe: art27.art

Throughout history, artists have contributed their vision, talent and expertise to creating diverse, inclusive attitudes in European societies. Today, alarmed by the increasing influence of fear and xenophobia in Europe, we launch ART27 as a platform to raise voices through the arts for social inclusion, for protection of the vulnerable and for honoring our culturally diverse societies.

We are a network of artists of all backgrounds, arts educators and arts organizations in Europe and we stand in solidarity with refugee artists, and dedicate our efforts – on the stage, in the gallery, in arts education, in the classroom, and in our wider communities – to further the social inclusion of newcomers and other vulnerable people in our diverse societies.

Join art27.art now!

Italy

In March 2016, we launched Welcome Notes Italy with the first training for 30 musicians in partnership with Musicians for Human Rights. With this training, we offer musicians the necessary skills to lead music workshops for refugees in Italian communities. The training has been specially adapted from Musicians without Borders’ pilot program in the Netherlands and includes supervised practical work at reception centers.

Would you like to receive information on upcoming training opportunities in Italy? Send an email to: info@mwb.ngo

Germany

In partnership with the Landesmusikakademie NRW in Heek, Germany, we train local musicians to work with refugees and asylum seekers across Germany. Over one million refugees have come to Germany since 2015 and there are currently over 70,000 refugees registered in the region of Nordrhein-Westfalen, where Heek is located.

Our next training week is planned for November 19-23, 2018. More information available here.

 

The Netherlands

In response to increasing numbers of refugees arriving in the Netherlands, we launched a year-long pilot project in 2016 to train musicians to run music workshops in refugee centers. Over the course of a year, we led three training weekends with a total of 62 trainees and organized 40 workshops in several refugee centers.

In 2017-2018, we will run a new series of training weekends for professional musicians, experienced workshop leaders and music teachers who are (or wish to be) active as music workshop leaders in refugee centers or refugee communities in Europe.

Read more and register for our upcoming Welcome Notes training in Amsterdam.

Blog / News

We are happy to report that we have started a new Welcome Notes training group in Torino, Italy, in collaboration with Musicians for Human Rights.

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•• Topics Welcome Notes

A small piece of the story of Musicians without Borders’ work can be told through numbers; the number of people participating in programs, the number of activities that have taken place, the number of organizations around the world with which we work. Of course, each of these numbers represents a story in itself, of the music made by people in a moment of their lives.

read more ›

Last weekend, we returned to the Landesmusikakademie NRW to provide training to musicians who work with refugee communities in Germany.

read more ›
•• Topics Photo Albums Welcome Notes

In March, MwB trainers led rap workshops with unaccompanied refugee youth in collaboration with SOS Children’s Villages Italy. Together, they wrote and performed their own rap.

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•• Topics Videos Welcome Notes
April 9, 2018
April 9, 2018

Later this month, we will return to the Landesmusikakademie NRW (Heek, Germany) to run a follow-up training for musicians who are currently working or wish to work with refugees.

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•• Topics Training Welcome Notes

A few weeks ago, MwB trainers led rap workshops with unaccompanied refugee youth in collaboration with SOS Children’s Villages Italy. Together, they wrote and performed their own rap.

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Photos from the last group of wonderful Welcome Notes trainees in Amsterdam! mwb.to/welcome

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•• Topics Photo Albums Welcome Notes
February 15, 2018
February 15, 2018

“It woke me up in many ways. To more creativity, to really look at the other person, to see what space he or she needs. It was very refreshing.”

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•• Topics Welcome Notes
Photos

Last weekend, we returned to the Landesmusikakademie NRW to provide training to musicians who work with refugee communities in Germany.

read more ›
•• Topics Photo Albums Welcome Notes

Photos from the last group of wonderful Welcome Notes trainees in Amsterdam! mwb.to/welcome

read more ›
•• Topics Photo Albums Welcome Notes

We just concluded our latest Welcome Notes training in Amsterdam, with a new group of musicians and music teachers who wish to use music as a tool to support and connect with refugee communities.

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•• Topics Photo Albums Welcome Notes

In June, we ran a five-day Advanced Community Music Training in partnership with the Landesmusikakademie NRW, training local musicians to work with refugees and asylum seekers across Germany. More info: http://mwb.to/training

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•• Topics Photo Albums Welcome Notes
March 25, 2017
March 25, 2017

This weekend, we began a new training for 30 musicians in Italy in partnership with MUSICIANS for HUMAN RIGHTS with the aim to develop inclusive music programs in local refugee centers.

This training is inspired by our Welcome Notes program, using music to support the inclusion of refugees and migrants throughout Europe.

Read more about the program: http://mwb.to/italy

#MusicConnects http://mwb.ngo

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•• Topics Photo Albums Welcome Notes

This past weekend, we trained over 20 musicians from the UK, Italy, Portugal, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands as part of our Welcome Notes project, using music to connect with refugee communities across Europe. https://www.musicianswithoutborders.org/2017/02/welcome-notes-in-the-spring-house/

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•• Topics Photo Albums Welcome Notes
Community Music & Health

We’re training youth leaders to use the power of music to address the effects of HIV in young people.

Program

We’ve partnered with Keep A Child Alive and Alive Medical Services to deliver a yearlong training program for 30 youth leaders.

We are training them to become Community Music Leaders to thousands of children and young people affected by HIV in Uganda. The program will build on existing services and further enhance the quality of psycho-social support being provided at Alive Medical Services.

The training is based on our ongoing program in Rwanda,  drawing on the successes and knowledge developed since 2010. Members of our training team include Rwandan community music leaders who join as assistant trainers.

Background

Globally, there are 5.4 million young people living with HIV, most of whom live in sub-Saharan Africa and disproportionately who are young women. While the number of global AIDS-related deaths fell by 30% between 2005 and 2012 (largely due to expanded access to HIV treatment), deaths among adolescents increased by as much as 50% during that same time period. AIDS is the number one killer of adolescents in Africa and the number two killer of adolescents worldwide, after only traffic accidents. Young people are falling out of care, stopping treatment, getting sick, and dying. We are failing this generation – the generation that is our future and that has the potential to see the end of AIDS in their lifetime.

In partnership with

ams

kca

Overview
Blog / News

A small piece of the story of Musicians without Borders’ work can be told through numbers; the number of people participating in programs, the number of activities that have taken place, the number of organizations around the world with which we work. Of course, each of these numbers represents a story in itself, of the music made by people in a moment of their lives.

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February 15, 2018
February 15, 2018

A blog from Isabel and Ella, on their experience of the first Music Therapy placement at Alive Medical Services, Kampala, Uganda.

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In 2016-2017, Musicians without Borders trained 29 young Ugandans with the skills to use music to support extremely vulnerable children.  Now they are ready to begin their real work!

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•• Topics Community Music & Health

From May 22nd – 27th 2017 we are running the final week of training for 30 remarkable young people to become Community Music Leaders, supporting vulnerable youth. Program in partnership with Keep a Child Alive and Alive Medical Services.

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On May 27th, thirty young leaders from our partner organization in Uganda, Alive Medical Services (AMS), will graduate from Musicians without Borders’ training as Community Music Leaders.

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February 14, 2017
February 14, 2017

In January 30 trainee Community Music Leaders came together for a week focussed on creativity in music-making. This meant developing their own creativity, and also inviting the creativity of children participating in their workshops.

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•• Topics Community Music & Health

From January 23rd – 27th we are running the third week of training for 30 remarkable young people to become Community Music Leaders, supporting vulnerable youth.

Program in partnership with Keep a Child Alive and Alive Medical Services.

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“Next time a child makes a mistake try and celebrate that mistake with him or her. Then they will learn from that mistake. After you have celebrated their mistake sit and talk to the child, then the child will trust you, feel protected, loved, hopeful and important in the community.”

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Photos

From May 22nd – 27th 2017 we are running the final week of training for 30 remarkable young people to become Community Music Leaders, supporting vulnerable youth. Program in partnership with Keep a Child Alive and Alive Medical Services.

read more ›

From January 23rd – 27th we are running the third week of training for 30 remarkable young people to become Community Music Leaders, supporting vulnerable youth.

Program in partnership with Keep a Child Alive and Alive Medical Services.

read more ›

We’ve partnered with Keep a Child Alive and Alive Medical Services in Uganda, to run a training program for 30 youth leaders.

We are training them to become Community Music Leaders for thousands of vulnerable children across the country.

The training began on September 5, 2016, with our international trainers Danny Felsteiner Mekori and Chris Nicholson, assisted by Rwandan Community Music Leaders Habimana Augustin, Uwamariya Aimee, and Shyaka Allison.

http://mwb.ngo
#MusicConnects

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Videos
September 4, 2016
Fred Mbalu - MwB Music Coach in Uganda

Fred Mbalu works as a music coach in our new program in Uganda. He teaches a wide range of traditional instruments, dance, and drama. He trains the youth leaders in our program, preparing them to work with thousands of vulnerable children and young people.

Past Programs

Read about our past programs…

From Woman to Woman

From Woman to Woman uses music to support the healing process of women who were victims of war and/or domestic violence in Bosnia-Herzegovina, in cooperation with local partner Snaga Žene (BiH).  While the project officially concluded in 2015, both the choir and selected activities in refugee camps continue to operate.

Background

"The pain is gone."•• Workshop Participant

The 1995 genocide in Srebrenica left thousands of women alone and grieving for their men and boys. Many were themselves victims of (sexual) violence, displacement and other traumatic experiences. In communities like Potočari (the scene of a mass murder in 1995) and the villages and collective settlements around Tuzla where Bosniak refugees are still living, women still live with unimaginable grief and loss. This affects not only themselves, but also their children and other family members, their neighbors and the surrounding community.

From Woman to Woman addresses the problem of isolation by providing a way for Bosnian women musicians and dancers to offer their professional skills and their compassionate support to their countrywomen.

The project is built on a solid collaboration between Musicians without Borders and Snaga Žene, an organization that offers psychological, social, medical, pedagogical and legal support to women, children and adolescents (refugees, returnees and displaced persons) who suffered different traumatic experiences during and after the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH).

 

Strategy

From Woman to Woman produced a pool of trained local workshop leaders to lead music and dance workshops and activities with women who are still haunted by traumatic experiences of violence, dislocation and loss of loved ones during the ethnic ‘cleansing’ especially in the Srebrenica region.  Parallel with the didactic/ artistic/ therapeutic training, the project focused on creating a local project management team with skills in organization, logistics, public relations, communication and fundraising.

The following activities were planned between May 2013 – May 2014 in order to achieve the objectives of the project:

  • Build upon the pilot projects that MwB has already implemented together with Snaga Žene, the local partner, and further train the women who volunteered for these projects and who wish to be involved as choir singers;
  • Recruit additional local professional musicians and provide training for them;
  • Recruit other women singers for the choir and/or collaborate with other existing choirs;
  • Together with the choir members, establish a repertoire and record performances in order to promote them through different networks and social media outlets;
  • Conduct weekly workshops connected with Snaga Žene’s activities in Srebrenica and Potočari, introducing music and movement therapy.
Blog / News

International Women’s Day, March 8, is widely celebrated in Bosnia-Herzegovina, as in the entire former Yugoslavia region. This year, MwB’s music coordinator, Almerisa Delic and partner organization, Snaga Zene created a memorable day for hundreds of women survivors in eastern Bosnia.

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•• Topics From Woman to Woman

Time for us has stopped here in the past years, but we need positive changes, if not for us, for our children; we need to think positively!

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•• Topics From Woman to Woman

Brave Roses – our From Woman to Woman choir – offered an early gift to the women who live in Dom penzionera Tuzla (Home of Pensioners). On the 8th of March – the International Women’s Day – they will sing for and with the women of Srebrenica.

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•• Topics From Woman to Woman

During the music workshops with children, their mothers join in and listen to their children singing and watch them play musical games, share their joy, their creative energy and their genuine sense of freedom, which brings them closer to the experience of music.

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•• Topics From Woman to Woman

And this is how 2013 came to an end for a small part of those who live in the camps of Ježevac and Višća, with music from woman to woman, with new bonds created and with renewed hope for a better life.

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•• Topics From Woman to Woman

The group smiled, thanked her, and then all headed to their homes, already talking about their next meeting. In the days to come, they will sing again for the women in the camps, in Potocari, in Srebrenica and, maybe, make their lives brighter and richer, by sharing with them the gift of music through their singing.

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•• Topics From Woman to Woman

But there is so much more to this, there is the process, the people involved, the smiles, the path to the goal. And the obvious question that followed was: how do we share this with our supporters, with our networks and those who’ve never heard of this project?

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•• Topics From Woman to Woman Videos
October 21, 2013
October 21, 2013

By the end of the workshop, the women were creating their own music, using percussion instruments and simple vocal elements. The effects of this process were visible: the women were smiling and looking serene and relaxed. They were clearly enjoying being together as a group, but they weren’t singing – or at least they didn’t realize they were.

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•• Topics From Woman to Woman
Media
July 14, 2010
Roses for Srebrenica

From Woman To Woman (Od Zene Do Zene) is carried out by Musicians without Borders and the Bosnian women’s organization Snaga Žene.

March 8, 2014
From Woman to Woman | Music To Help Heal War Wounds

From Woman to Woman is a collaborative project between Musicians without Borders (Netherlands) and Snaga Žene (meaning ‘Women Power’) based in Bośnia i Hercegovina. The project uses music to address severe, persistent war-related trauma among women in Eastern Bosnia.

Staff
Iulia Socea
Project Manager
Marijke Smedema
Trainer
Lis Murphy
Trainer
Daniela Micevic Dedovic
Program Manager, Snaga Zene
Almerisa Delic
Music Activities Coordinator
Marijke Smedema
Trainer
Daniela Micevic Dedovic
Program Manager, Snaga Zene
Partner Organizations
Snaga Žene
Local implementing partner organisation. Supervision of the choir activities and music therapy of the activities with the women involved  of the "From Woman to Woman" project
Donors
The Transpetrol Foundation
The Transpetrol Foundation (TPF) is a Bermudian non-profit organization which has been active since 2006. It is run by a volunteer board and its aim is to support (or initiate) projects worldwide in the fields of economic enterprise, social welfare, relief of poverty, education and arts. Its purpose is to make a lasting improvement to the lives of as many deprived and disadvantaged people as possible.
Netherlands Embassy to Bosnia Herzegovina
Cultures of Resistance Network
Cultures of Resistance Network aims to promote and support organizations, activists, and artists who seek a more peaceful, just, and democratic world. The CoR Network was created by Iara Lee, director of the feature documentary Cultures of Resistance, as a way of supporting people wishing to take action around peace and justice issues.
Netherlands Embassy to Bosnia Herzegovina
Cultures of Resistance Network
Cultures of Resistance Network aims to promote and support organizations, activists, and artists who seek a more peaceful, just, and democratic world. The CoR Network was created by Iara Lee, director of the feature documentary Cultures of Resistance, as a way of supporting people wishing to take action around peace and justice issues.
Tanzania Youth Music
Chris Nicholson
Project Manager
Otto de Jong
Trainer
Otto de Jong
Trainer
Background

Tanzania Youth Music employs the expertise of Musicians without Borders to strengthen the capacity of community based organizations in Moshi District, close to Kilimanjaro. The project is in cooperation with FEMI and operates in line with the foundation’s aims to increase community participation and access to education and healthcare in Tanzania.

Tanzania Youth Music

The goal of Tanzania Youth Music is to build local capacity and strengthen Tanzanian cultural connections. 30 youth and community leaders will be trained to incorporate community music methods within organizations working in partnership with FEMI.

Based on the successful Rwanda Youth Music program, Musicians without Borders will conduct music workshop leadership trainings for 30 community members in Moshi, the Lower Moshi region, and Arusha, engaging them to work with vulnerable children or youth on a regular basis.

Following the training, all participants will be better equipped to engage their communities, strengthen social bonds between vulnerable children, and between children and their families through music. The trainees will acquire skills in running music workshops and will become leaders and role models, promoting community involvement and increasing social awareness concerning HIV-infected/affected individuals and other marginalized groups.

Music Leadership Training

Rwandan musicians and graduates from our Rwanda Youth Music project will work alongside six international trainers to provide four weeks of training to 30 youth and community leaders in Tanzania. The training course will incorporate elements of percussion, vocal skills, song-writing, games and musical activities.

A strong emphasis is placed on community leadership skills and is informed by Musicians without Borders’ ethos of inclusion, community building and reconciliation through music. Trainees who complete the full year’s course will be certified by Musicians without Borders as Music Workshop Leaders.

Blog / News

The final week of training for the 29 new MwB Community Music Leaders

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June 3, 2015
June 3, 2015

April 2015

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To be a MwB Community Music Leader requires creativity. The situations in which we work are fragile and changing. Often resources are limited. Power can go off mid-workshop, a storm can flare up in seconds during rainy season, the mood of the children participating can be high or low.

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January 15, 2015
December 25, 2014
December 25, 2014

For 5 days the trainees learned techniques in creating workshops, connecting activities, and adapting workshops according to different situations and the profile of children. On the fourth day of the training, the trainees traveled to a nearby orphanage, working with 60 orphans, where they led an hour-long workshop.

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•• Topics Tanzania Youth Music
November 12, 2014
November 12, 2014

Congratulations to the 11 new Musicians without Borders Assistant Trainers!

Last week, eight young Rwandans were accepted as Training Assistants for our 2014-2015 projects in Rwanda and Tanzania. The eight new assistants all graduated in February 2013 from Musicians without Borders’ Music Workshop Leadership training, and since then have been using music in support work in their communities with HIV+ children, genocide survivors, and other vulnerable children and youth. In addition to the eight young leaders, three Rwandan musicians will also be employed to work alongside our international trainers during the coming year.

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September 22, 2014
September 22, 2014

As we closed the first week’s training of Tanzania Youth Music, one of the trainees picked up my guitar and began to play and sing the refrain “Storm is over now…”, with an acoustic reggae groove. The group caught the words and the feel, moving and singing along. The words shifted into “Music without Borders…”, each of us…

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September 22, 2014
September 22, 2014

As we closed the first week’s training of Tanzania Youth Music, one of the trainees picked up my guitar and began to play and sing the refrain “Storm is over now…”, with an acoustic reggae groove. The group caught the words and the feel, moving and singing along. The words shifted into “Music without Borders…”, each of us…

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Photos

The final week of training for the 29 new MwB Community Music Leaders

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June 3, 2015
June 3, 2015

April 2015

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January 15, 2015
September 13, 2014
Staff
Chris Nicholson
Project Manager
Otto de Jong
Trainer
Espoir Rugengeza
MwB Assistant Trainer
Danny Felsteiner Mekori
Project Development and Trainer
Otto de Jong
Trainer
Danny Felsteiner Mekori
Project Development and Trainer
How We Work

Our methodology is based on the understanding that music is an integral part of human nature. As such, it has the potential to connect and bring people together in a shared, safe space. Through years of experience we’ve learned to harness the power of music to transcend borders and create empathic connections between people of different cultures, backgrounds and languages without and beyond words.

Guiding Principles

Core values

  • We use music as a tool for bridging divides and promoting social change.
  • We strive to increase empathy among all participants.
  • We strive to cultivate a culture of nonviolence.

Principles of our work

  • SAFETY: The group is a safe place for everyone.
  • INCLUSION: Music provides a neutral space, where people from different backgrounds can meet through their common love of and engagement in music-making and are not defined by their differences.
  • EQUALITY: Everyone is welcome, everyone is honored, everyone can make music, and everyone is treated equally.
  • CREATIVITY: Using the creativity of individuals and as a group we can experience the connecting power of (shared) ownership in music.
  • QUALITY: We strive for a high quality of music-making, as this leads to a higher sense of connection and empathy.

Musicians Without Borders Trainers

Musicians without Borders trainers are men and women who collectively have a broad range of training skills and experience in working with children, youth and adults in fragile (post) conflict environments. Besides musical expertise, key qualities for our trainers include:

  • An ability to honor all participants, whatever their level of musical competence, and to stimulate and value musical progress – both of the group and its individual members – based not on arbitrary standards, but on the group or individual’s willingness to enter the shared musical space and move creatively within it.
  • Sensitivity to the overlapping dynamics of the participants’ context – such as traumatic past experiences, physical or psychological health issues, domestic or community problems, stress or depression – that may influence participants’ ability to engage in the process. Trainers must be prepared for complications and be able to navigate the complexities they encounter or intuit when not completely known or understood. This requires a high degree of flexibility and improvisational talent on the part of the trainer.
  • A sense for the right moment to ‘step back and let them shine their own light’, the ability to be a leader who encourages leadership and guides the process of empowerment, whose ego is sufficiently satisfied by the success of his/her teaching, rather than needing to be the central point of attention.
Community Music

Community music-making is based on working together to create music, giving each participant the opportunity to develop his/her own musical potential within the context of a supportive group environment.

Making music together allows us to renegotiate our personal, cultural, and social borders so that the possibility of connecting to another person is possible. Music is flexible – it’s fast, slow, loud, soft, frantic, and structured. When we play music, we too become more flexible in the way we think, the way we react, our willingness to accept the things we cannot control, and to take responsibility for our part in the larger picture.

In Bosnia, Palestine, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, The Netherlands and Northern Ireland, MwB has trained more than 300 local musicians and talented youth and adults as community music leaders, capable of organizing and delivering community music workshops and activities for children and adults in their own and other communities.

Many of our trainers have extensive experience in other regions working with a broad range of target groups and issues. We have now adapted our training for use with refugee populations in Europe. We also offer advanced community music training courses to both community and professional musicians; since 2015, we have trained more than 100 musicians working in communities in i.a. South Africa, USA, Canada, UK, Australia, Mexico, Korea, Iceland, Ireland, Germany, Lithuania, Netherlands, Italy, Kenya, Rwanda, Israel, Palestine, Switzerland and Sudan.

Music Education

“What our projects continue to teach us is that music education, at its most effective, is an on-going process of finding the connections that music brings — to one’s deepest self, to one’s fellow musicians, audience, friends and community, to the mystery of a composition or an improvisation, to the rhythms of life all around. In that connection lies empathy, and we embed an awareness of this double and parallel significance in all that we do.

When teaching people musical skills, our goal is to enable them to play together, to express themselves clearly, and to process past and current experiences. The limitation of this description, however, is that it implies a separation of the process of musical education from the process of music. Furthermore, it suggests a clear start and ending to the process of personal and musical learning, rather than a lifelong exploration.”

[Hassler & Nicholson,  2017, p.428]

Mitrovica Rock School

The Mitrovica Rock School works with a curriculum developed by our teachers with the support of the Fontys Rockacademie (Netherlands), based on demand-driven learning and adjusted to the local situation. In the absence of higher popular music education in Kosovo, the program is geared towards producing musicians with employable skills in the Mitrovica context. The quality of education is essential to the success of the program: students acquire the tools to play, write their own music, communicate about their music, and give and receive feedback. Students are placed in ethnically mixed bands as soon as they have the skills needed to start writing their own songs.

Eric Coenen challenges members of Proximity Mine to create instrumental parts that best serve the song

Beginners work according to a general lesson plan. As soon as they achieve a basic skill level, students choose their own songs, style and genre, while their teachers structure lessons to work towards benchmarks in the curriculum. In band coaching sessions, teachers challenge students to find their own solutions as they develop new songs, encouraging discussion without presenting ready-made answers.

Participants and trainers at the 2016 summer school

The Mitrovica Rock School has a fluid structure, rewarding talent and initiative with traineeships where students work as assistant teachers, sound engineers or organizers. Nine former student-trainees have graduated into staff positions, while several others have gone on to successful careers outside the school. Junior teachers (former trainees) receive ongoing training from external expert band coaches to ensure continuous learning.

Rwanda Youth Music

Incorporating music education into the program, raising the standard of musical knowledge and instrumental skills in the team of young music leaders, has expanded the breadth of their community music-making. They are able to incorporate harmony in singing; they can teach instruments as part of group activities; and their rhythmic and melodic work has become compelling and engaging.

Espoir demonstrates an improvised solo to his students.

A weekly program of on-going music training has been running at the Oakdale Kigali Music School since 2011, with the aim to enhance the breadth of work of our team of Community Music Leaders. Three Rwandan musicians teach the young music leaders guitar, piano, drums, vocal skills, and song-writing. The professional musicians also receive lessons in their instruments from Musicians without Borders, and are supported in developing their pedagogical skills.
The program has also led to employment for 7 young people, with other community-based organizations, including pre-schools, secondary schools, and two centres for former street children. The income from this work finances their own education, and helps support younger siblings and families.
Sounds of Palestine

We work in close cooperation with Sounds of Palestine, supporting the program with training and musical resources. Sounds of Palestine uses music education as a medium for long term social change, offering regular lessons per week to the many participating children. Hundreds of children from Aida and al-Azzeh refugee camp in the Bethlehem area participate in music appreciation lessons, instrument instruction, folk dancing, choir, music theory lessons and orchestral training.

Music Bridge Northern Ireland

Music Bridge employs the expertise of Musicians without Borders in partnership with Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin, a pioneer in bringing a multi-ethnic approach to the exploration of arts and culture in the city of Derry-Londonderry.

This collaborative project has been training members of the local communities, community musicians, professional musicians and teachers in using music as a way to enhance empathy and trust between divided communities, encouraging self-confidence and self-awareness in participants, and to contribute to reconciliation in Northern Ireland. The goal of Music Bridge is to establish an open-to-all access to unique and sustainable music education programs where the focus is building meaningful connections between people from a variety of communities throughout Derry-Londonderry and the wider area of Northern Ireland.

Musicians without Borders leads music workshop leadership training for community workers and musicians interested in developing meaningful projects in their communities with a focus on children and youth from fragile environments. Our trainees have been able to organize and implement creative music activities within both single and mixed identity communities with the aim of strengthening their self-identity, creating common goals while learning more about what connects us rather than what separates us. The trainees use their acquired variety of musical skills to further their understanding of positive group leadership, principles of nonviolence and emotional self-awareness.

Currently, our long term workshops take place in local primary schools, community group settings as well as standalone events for the wider public. Teachers and community leaders have commented on the positive change they have seen in their students and participants over the past three years.  We are collecting feedback from all of our participants in order to better understand the changing needs of the wider community in Northern Ireland and to adapt our music programs to suit these needs and bring people together.

From Trainee to Trainer

Our projects focus on personal transformation, and perhaps the most transformative experience is from trainee to trainer. Talented participants are offered traineeships, where they work as assistant workshop leaders and in various other leadership roles.

Trainees receive peer-to-peer teaching from local trainers and gain valuable professional experience through their daily work. Where possible, trainees receive coaching from external experts who travel to the project location, or we arrange travel to give trainees educational opportunities abroad. Many former trainees have graduated into leadership positions and are now coaching the next generation of trainees, while others have gone on to achieve success in related fields outside our organization. Especially in areas of high unemployment and limited access to educational opportunities, traineeships are a vital investment in local talent and in the sustainability of our projects.

Rwanda Youth Music

In May 2017, in Kigali we began the first Community Music Leadership training fully facilitated by a Rwandan training team. Two professional musicians, Yves and Espoir, work with experienced Community Music Leaders, and deliver the complete Musicians without Borders curriculum. This is the realisation of our trainees to trainers model.

In Uganda: Rwandan Community Music Leader working as an assistant trainer

The first group of Community Music Leaders in Rwanda began training with Musicians without Borders in 2011. They embraced the skills quickly, giving support to 100s of children in their communities through music-making. An outreach program, working with children across Rwanda expanded their experience and skills further. Weekly music lessons built their knowledge. In 2015 when we began a new training program in Moshi, Tanzania, we invited some of the Rwandan Community Music Leaders to come and share their knowledge and their culture. This was the first time we had employed our Rwandan team as assistant trainers.

The success in Tanzania led us to replicate the model in future trainings in Rwanda and recently in Uganda. Last year two of the team travelled to the Netherlands to attend and international Musicians without Borders Training of Trainers. This year, two more will make the trip – hopefully including Leontine.

Leontine was one of the first group of trainees in Rwanda. She has gone on to be employed as a music teacher at a local pre-school. She has worked as a trainer for Musicians without Borders in Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. Here she is in 2014, explaining some of her story:

Music Bridge Northern Ireland

Amanda leading a community music workshop at Culturlann Ui Chanain, Derry-Londonderry, Northern Ireland

The aim of the Music Bridge program is to create a sustainable community music service in Derry-Londonderry, Northern Ireland. Following the first training year, we invited Amanda Koser-Gillespie, one of our graduated trainees, to attend our Training of Trainers in the Netherlands, to prepare her with the necessary skills to serve as the first local assistant trainer in the Music Bridge program. Amanda has now assisted and led training weeks alongside her role as the local music coach, providing weekly support for our trainees and coordinating music workshops for schools and community groups.

Amanda: “I found that while working in (music) education and peacebuilding, my emotional and pedagogical tools begin to show their wear and tear over time. I have participated in other projects with MwB that have helped to restock some of the tools needed so that I may continue working in this field. The ‘Training of Trainers’ allowed me to walk into the woods, plant the seeds, cultivate the growth and reshape the tools I can pass on to others the way some were passed onto to me.”

Mitrovica Rock School

The Mitrovica Rock School first developed traineeships in response to gaps in the employment market. In a medium-sized town whose cultural scene had been devastated by the war, it was simply impossible to find qualified teachers in bass guitar and pop vocals. On the other hand we had students who were so advanced in those skills that we could not offer them any program, so the first traineeships were born. Since then, the Mitrovica Rock School enrolled 17 of its students in traineeships, nine of whom graduated into staff positions. Former student-trainees hold central positions on the Rock School’s faculty and management. Other former trainees have gone on to professional musicianship and other professional positions.

Emir (center) during sound engineering traineeship 2011

After participating in several Rock School activities, Emir Hasani (1992) started as a trainee sound engineer in 2011, studying studio recording and live sound engineering with various trainers from the Fontys Rockacademie (NL). While his main instrument is the guitar, Emir developed as a multi-instrumentalist and was assessed by the Rockacademie as suitable to teach keyboard, vocals, and music theory. He graduated into a full teaching position in 2015, and was recruited as a project manager in 2016. Emir was in the Rock School’s longest running ethnically mixed band, the Artchitects, alongside three other former student-trainees who are now teachers at the Rock School. He is currently finalizing his studies in formal music education and pedagogy.

Emir (center) coaching mixed band Morana in 2017

Emir: “The Mitrovica Rock School influenced me both professionally and personally. It gave me the opportunity to learn and teach music, meet lot of different people and develop myself in different fields. It makes me proud to see our students grow into real musicians and change our city for the better.”

Music Therapy

“People in need often experience challenges to their dignity, as when a sick person finds that his freedom is restricted by the regime of an institution or a poor person finds that her access to resources in society is hindered. Many social and cultural rights, such as the right to education, adequate health care and cultural participation in society, cannot be achieved by laws and regulations alone. They must be actively sought. It is therefore important that we [music therapists] as professionals see our obligations not only in relation to the needs of individuals but also in relation to human rights in a broader context.”

(Bunt & Stige, 2014, p.122)

Music Therapy in Rwanda

In 2013, Musicians without Borders was invited to partner with Rwandan healthcare organization WE-ACTx for Hope to support the establishment of the country’s first professional Music Therapy position. Since then, in small groups and in 1-1 sessions, over 100 young people living with HIV have attended and benefitted from music therapy sessions with a UK qualified and registered music therapist. In evaluation, 100% of interviewed participants reported positive impact.

Counselors, nurses and medical staff refer young patients for music therapy when they see indicators of risk that have included treatment failure resulting from poor adherence to medication; isolating behaviors; changes to mood; non-attendance at school; young motherhood; and a lack of appropriate caregivers at home.

Young people living with HIV face profound vulnerability. While rates of HIV-related deaths worldwide fell by 30% worldwide between 2005 and 2012 (Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS, 2013), for adolescents this figure rose by 50% (World Health Organization, 2013). Disengagement from clinical care for young people is a high risk, and the incorporation of music therapy into clinical services is a response to that risk.

To allow greater reach of music therapy approaches in Rwanda, musicians have been trained to run therapeutic music groups, and a training course has been developed in Music & Health, accredited within the University of Rwanda’s forthcoming BA Music.

Music as Therapy in Palestine

In 2015, we started a pilot program with Music as Therapy International in collaboration with our ongoing program Palestine Community Music. Three people have successfully participated in the one year distance learning course, which included monthly written assignments and practical work with young children with special needs. Three small groups of children from al-Azzeh refugee camp, House of Hope and the school for special needs in Beit Jalla received eight sessions in which they worked towards goals such as increasing concentration, sharing with others and taking initiative.

After making a few adjustments to the course to correspond with the needs of the local culture, we will begin a second round in July 2017. Six to eight new trainees will follow the one year course under the supervision of Music as Therapy International and Musicians without Borders’ music coach. We have translated all tutorials and learning material into Arabic, so the course can also be followed by people with a limited knowledge of English. In September 2017, the new group of trainees will receive three days of training by music therapists from MasT International. The practical work will begin in February 2018, which includes eight sessions for three-four children with special needs, given by each trainee.

Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning

Monitoring, evaluation, and learning protocols for all Musicians without Borders’ programs are informed by our Theory of Change:

The Theory of Change was developed through an extensive process of consultation carried out in 2017, drawing on the experience and expertise of people involved throughout Musicians without Borders, alongside current research in the field of arts and social change.

In 2018 we aim to share here our methods of evaluation and monitoring, as well as providing links to data collected in our programs.