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Our programs

Past programs

2008 – 2020, Palestine

Palestine Community Music

Palestine Community Music was a multifaceted program empowering youth to express themselves and serve their communities. The project offered uplifting, music-based activities to young people who lacked social or cultural opportunities, and reached thousands of the most marginalized children in Palestine.

The program included Music and Nonviolence Leadership training, Deaf, Proud and Musical, and the Musical Playground. Thousands of school children each year benefited from regular music workshops including dancing, singing, rapping and body percussion. The activities empowered and engaged children, school staff, and families in a festive celebration.

Special projects have included using rap as a tool for social change, and Music as Therapy training, in cooperation with Music as Therapy International.

2016 – 2017, Uganda

Community Music for Community Health

Community Music for Community Health grew from the successes of Rwanda Youth Music. We worked together with Keep A Child Alive and Alive Medical Services in Kampala, Uganda, using music to support young people living with HIV.

From 2016 to 2017 we ran a one year training course for 30 youth leaders from Alive Medical Services. The Rwanda Youth Music team led the training, supported by Musicians Without Borders’ international trainers.

Young community music leaders at Alive Medical Services continue their work and have provided support through music to over 1000 children and youth. Doctors and nurses have seen both the social and physical health of children and youth improve after participating in the music sessions.

2014 – 2015, Tanzania

Tanzania Youth Music

Tanzania Youth Music trained community music leaders to work with community based organizations in Arusha and Moshi District, close to Kilimanjaro. Musicians Without Borders led four weeks of training in our music leadership methodology for a group of school teachers, social workers, and youth leaders – including young people from a center for former street children.

An evaluation trip in 2016 showed the community music leaders using their skills with hundreds of young people in classrooms, nursery schools, youth empowerment programs, and with community organisations serving vulnerable children and youth.

The project was sponsored by FEMI and the Fred Foundation.

2013 – 2017, Northern Ireland

Music Bridge

Music Bridge was a community music training project in collaboration with Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin, an Irish arts and culture center in Derry/Londonderry. The project trained local musicians in using music to build connections within communities across the northwest of Northern Ireland.

The project began with Singing the Bridge, a festival of community music and music therapy in May 2013. Due to the success of Singing the Bridge, a community music training project was started for local musicians in 2014. In the years after that, we trained musicians who in turn organized community music workshops reaching over 2,200 participants.

Since 2017, our trainer and local project manager Amanda Koser-Gillespie has been leading a number of projects for local community groups.

2013 – 2015, Bosnia and Herzegovina

From Woman to Woman

Snaga Žene (Woman Power) offered emergency help and medical and psychosocial support to women in the Tuzla-Srebrenica region after the Bosnian war. These women had lost loved ones or been displaced during the war, with many still living in refugee camps.

From Woman to Woman introduced music into the healing work Snaga Žene. Musicians Without Borders trainers worked with local female musicians and dancers, training them to use music to help address severe, persisting war-trauma.

2011 – 2013, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Mostar Rock School

Mostar Rock School was a joint initiative of Musicians Without Borders, the founders of the Mostar Blues & Rock Festival, and Pavarotti Music Center. The rock school was inspired by Musician Without Borders’ Mitrovica Rock School in Kosovo.

The project covered:

  • The initial founding of the Mostar Rock School including its first years of daily lessons and band sessions,
  • A summer school in Skopje, North Macedonia, together with youth from the Mitrovica Rock School,
  • Training by Fontys Rockacademie, both in Mostar and in the Netherlands.

In 2013, Musicians Without Borders transferred the project to local leadership. Mostar Rock School continues to work successfully and interethnically to this day.

2003 – 2011, Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Music Bus and The Children's Music Theater Srebrenica

The Music Bus and the Children’s Music Theater brought music, dance, and theater to children in Srebrenica and the wider region. Musicians Without Borders trained local singers and dancers in music leadership.

In The Music Bus, our first long-term program, we first introduced practices that are still central to our work today:

  • Working closely with local musicians,
  • Training youth as cultural leaders,
  • Long-term engagement leading to locally owned programs.