Quantifying and Qualifying our premise that music enhances development initiatives
Upon returning to the US in 2004 we began planning to return to Uganda and repeat the Soroti pilot event but on a larger scale. Having the advantage of time and additional planning enabled us to collect far more data and to quantitatively and qualitatively document the effectiveness of music in health care delivery. In 2005, I applied for an Alumni Grant from my Alma Mata, Berklee College of Music. The objective was to return to Uganda and continue this work. When we were awarded the maximum grant amount allowed, I began to work closely with Caravaan’s co-founder Stephanie Pollender, who at the time was the British Quaker representative in Uganda.
We decided to organize performances in 5 IDP camps and in one local township. The decision to add a performance in the Gulu township, allowed us the benefit of having a baseline from which to draw comparisons and conclusions. We also felt that it would be important to the research, if we were to work in other countries and under different circumstances in future projects, if we understood the effectiveness of doing this work in a community other than the unique environment of the IDP camps.
Stefanies close ties with local NGOs and those we had worked with in Soroti helped solidify the planning for 20 partnering organizations and raising matching funds from Save the Children and Christian Aid Uganda. In total, we raised $24,000 as well as acquiring 2000 HIV test kits from Abbott a pharmaceutical company. HIV test kits were difficult to come by in Uganda at the time.
In the final analysis of these events, it was clear that music provides an effective means of enhancing the efforts of aid organizations in reaching large numbers of community members, providing services with higher rates of uptake, and increasing the health literacy within the community.
Look at where this has brought us NOW