Thursday, 27 March 2008

Music4Change and the UN Millennium Development Goals

Addressing Nigeria’s problems begins with a look at the root causes of these problems. In our opinion, many of the issues which make life difficult in Nigeria can be rectified by embarking on programmes to educate the population on all levels and change certain harmful mentalities and behaviours gradually, but in a measurable way.

Let’s look at four specific examples of how we are looking to make a difference.
The Millennium Development Goals include measurable improvement in the areas of poverty reduction, hygiene, environment, HIV/Aids education.

Hygiene: Hand washing campaign with Lagos State Ministry of Health, using media campaigns involving celebrities from all backgrounds and TV and radio clips produced by local marketing agencies, with private sector sponsorship from Unilever or one of their brands (Unilever even mention their commitment to the MDGs in their company literature, and are very active on the Nigerian market) or local personal care manufacturers

Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability: In Lagos, most of the waste is still being burned. We suggest to first of all sponsor a thorough study on how many toxins are being released by the combination of big scale (huge fields of rubbish being burned every night, right next to expressways and dwellings) as well as small scale (every family burns what they sweep from the street, and up to 90% of this is comprised of plastic bags), then translate this into very clear and concise clips that can be used on TV and radio, and this campaign should be supported by road shows and a big event in at least 3 main cities.

Of course this would have to go hand in hand with the State Government’s establishing a viable alternative for sustainable Waste management and recycling.
This campaign alone could raise the quality of life for the millions of inhabitants of Lagos enormously.

Goal 1: Poverty reduction: The main cause of poverty is still poor governance, and the main cause of poor governance is corruption. Our approach here is to get the youth involved through, involving their biggest role models, young celebrity from the music (and increasingly, sports and movie) world. With some of the main rap and general musicians in Nigeria we would embark on a project which would involve recording an album with “anti-BS” tracks (some of them packaged as something else, for example love songs that talk about lying), involve the young generation in dialogue by using the main entertainment channels (SoundCity, Nigezie, HipTV), develop local initiatives and again culminate in large-scale events. This is a subject which needs to be taken up, but it is so ingrained in the Nigerian mentality that it can only be done by starting with the arts in an almost clandestine way.

Goal 6: Eradicate HIV/Aids: Here we have already developed a project in partnership with NACA, the Nigerian Agency for the Control of Aids. NACA wanted a more lasting initiative than just an event or a series of events, thus we developed a concept of a TV reality show in which 10 young members of the entertainment industry get trained as NACA Aids ambassadors, in a training course lasting 5 days with weekends surrounding this being used for press engagements and interactive youth exposure, in university visits and live TV shows. This would be aired in a 5 week cycle on the main networks and the entertainment value would be provided by seeing famous faces confronted by difficult tasks and also having fun together (a la celebrity jungle reality shows).

Another advantage of this model will be that it can be sustained with continued seasons involving members from for example the sports or movie world.

The educational value would be immense, as these celebrities would actually start doing their job as Aids ambassadors while we watch and would continue after the show has left them.

Goal 8: International cooperation for development

We notice that while there are many very talented young people concentrated in various urban areas of just Lagos State, they lack facilities. We would like to empower them to be able to have music and art education, regular talent shows, and invite international cooperation and support from the music and arts world. This would expose the young generation of musicians to the international music world, make them aware of West Africa’s powerful role in forming the concept of modern music and help them develop an awareness of their own cultural identity, rather than try to follow “western” models in music and arts.

From our initial research, both established Nigerian and international musicians would welcome the opportunity to take on such a mentorship role and thus help the development young musicians. We could thus also encourage them to look at the content in their music and take steps to help Nigeria’s youth develop a mature, positive, self-critical outlook in life.

We believe there can’t be real change without involving the youth – and the best way to involve the youth is by involving both what they love, and the role models they strive to imitate. If we can influence a few of these role models to really imbibe some of the values we need to convey to the young generation, and then empower them to create works of art with these underlying ideals, there will be a lasting and positive change to the mentality of the next generation of Nigerians.

New Laptop - Back to Work

Since I have now managed to kit myself out with a new laptop – the old one couldn’t be saved – and am on a break in the UK, I’ve taken the time to really document what we are setting out to do. Here’s one of the articles.

Friday, 30 November 2007

New Partnerships, Supporters, Sponsors

The news in short.

1. AfrodeviA - Music4Change is partnering with Maxi Media in Abuja, Deji Falope's new media outfit, in running a project with NACA, under the name of Maxi Media while our registration is processing.

2. We have an office address in Abuja.

3. We have received some start-up funding from an unlikely source - Unicem, the Cement people. Thanks guys.

4. We have a presentation meeting with our first major sponsor scheduled for Tues/Wed next week. As expected, once we talk to the right people, they jump on the idea.

5. We also have a major well-wisher in Abuja who is offering help with everything.

6. My beautiful Sony Vaio laptop has packed in. It is entirely dead.

7. I've quit my day job.

Let's praise the Lord. I am off on a retreat until Sunday - worst possible timing but when it's time to reconnect, it is time to reconnect.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Music4Change launch report

12/11/07, 6pm, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria

In attendance:

Anke Holst
Shade Ladipo
Wale Adesada
Agba Justin Jalingo
Michael Ruggedman
Carl Raccah
Olumide Falope
Zaaki Azay
Solomon from Storm Records
Muma Gee
Steve Babaeko X3M Records
Alexis Onome-Egborge

Shade Ladipo compered the evening. We waited until 7 to kick off, media coverage was provided by MBI, NewAge, Tell Magazine. Anke gave a quick presentation of what Music4Change is looking at doing, covering the benefits offered to private and public sector stakeholders; Ruggedman gave a presentation on what Music4Change is looking at doing from an artist’s point of view.

The message of goodwill from Prof Pat Utomi, as well as the greeting of support from Big Screen TV’s Deji Falope in Abuja were played. We introduced our crew, Wale Adesada and Jalingo, who both gave short statements, and opened the floor for discussion.

Questions were asked on practical aspects of our projects – we introduced the flagship initiative called Project Area, by Ruggedman, with Lagos State Government in support, and spoke about other initiatives we are in talks about.

The discussion became very lively with views differing widely on issues like profane language, messages in songs, the pressures of the media, and artistes’ need to fulfil the popular demand. There was consent on the need for this initiative though and the support from the artist community was clear.

The evening closed with a message of thanks by Shade around 9pm.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Tuesday, 30 October 2007


Naija artistes, rappers, acts, producers, publicists, traders, marketers, anyone:

There is a whole lot of things going on that we need you on board for, the big date is 12 November, the place is Swallows on Opebi road, opposite Motherlan', Ikeja, Lagos, we need you there. Ideally we'll all manage to meet up before but if not, here's the lowdown:

The launch of Music4Change initiative. Helping Nigerian artistes do something practical for the youth of this country.

Because it's you people they listen to every day. Do you know what you are telling them? How are you using your power? Are we going to go on about da koko or are we going to get together to do something to push this country forward?

Artistes we are sure to have on board so far are

Tony Tetuila
Dare Art Alade

People on board include Denrele from Soundcity, Segun Arinze

Record companies on board include Orangootan

Organisations on board include the British Council and the Goetheinstitut

We'll make a change while having and providing others with excellent fun.

What could be better?