As social media, digitization, and media ‘influencing’ become more mainstream, Girl Up Initiative Uganda has invested heavily in building strategic relationships with well-known musicians. Their platform, combined with their art, creates a double-fold benefit: highly visible musicians become active spokespersons for social causes and the entire popular culture-media space slowly transforms to become more gender and violence-aware. In Uganda, like many other countries around the world, music is vital to the culture. Music—with its messages—quickly ripples through communities, playing an important role in nurturing, socialization, learning, healing, and the collective well-being of young people. GUIU is using music as a powerful tool to change society.
Music stirs strong emotions within people to take action and has increased young people’s motivation and engagement in various school and community activities. GUIU has collaborated with various famous Ugandan and international artists to produce amazing songs in local Ugandan languages. These are being used as tools for social change in different communities. Recently, as a part of our joint Covid-19 recovery initiative with the African Coalition for Social Impact (supported by our long-time partner, the Segal Family Foundation), we worked with well-known artist and education activist, Yese Oman Rafiki, on the song Education for All. This song was a part of our Back to School campaign aimed at sensitizing community members, parents, and guardians on the importance of sending children back to school post-Covid-19 lockdown.
The songs have enabled young people—both in-school and out-of-school children—and adults to understand concepts surrounding their rights in a simple, impactful, and joyful way. By blending both English and Luganda, we prevent messages from going unheard while ensuring relevance to their lived experience. Last month, through the Ni-Yetu Youth Program, we released a collaborative project called Slow Down, which advocates for safe sexual practices to avoid early pregnancies and urges young people to enjoy being young. This incredible song is sung in four different Ugandan languages by young Kampala-based, up-and-coming musicians.
As we continue to grow as an organization, we work to deepen our impact by creating various innovative learning platforms to meet evolving needs. Over time, GUIU has strengthened our approaches and learned new techniques to effectively utilize popular culture and entertainment to instigate community-wide transformation, specifically focusing on young people and adolescents.
Edutainment provides us with a mirror to look at our life experiences and understand better why we behave the way we do—and the effects of our behaviors on others. It helps us to share knowledge, explore our attitudes, and practice skills that can contribute to positively changing our mindsets. At GUIU, we believe that this blended teaching will continue to educate populations on social issues and create a more fun, vibrant atmosphere for young people to generate enthusiasm for learning.
Stay tuned for more edutainment-goodness on our social media channels!