Cultivating Art to Realize Alternative Ventures to Aid in African Nations (CARAVAAN)
Caravaan is an art and social justice organization founded in Uganda in 2004 to integrate music education and performance into social justice oriented development work. Through collaborative artistic expression, Caravaan brings together artists from differing backgrounds to build solidarity between local and international communities, integrate art into the delivery of social services and promote music and art education as a means to foster social cohesion, peace building and community participatory development.
“The purpose of music is to sober and quiet the mind, thus making susceptible to greater influences”– John Cage
Caravaan was founded with the recognition that music and art play critical roles in building and maintaining peaceful and just societies. The organization supports local artists to create, perform and teach within the context of development work to realize greater outcomes of community participation and social cohesion. Caravaan fosters the creative exchange of ideas between local artists and artists from around the world through shared performances, joint teaching workshops and provision of opportunities for further study. In addition, Caravaan staff and local artists work with schools and communities to promote music and art education within primary, secondary and community-based education as a means to foster social cohesion and peace building skills among young people.
Realizing Alternative Ventures to Aid:
“We think of ourselves far too frequently as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole world. When you do well, it spreads out; it is for the whole of humanity.”– Desmond Tutu on the concept of Ubuntu
Development aid, in its present form, often is based on outside agencies providing funds for a fixed set of donor-driven objectives. While this “top down approach” may help individuals, it often does little to build communities and may worsen indices of inequality. Caravaan seeks to provide an alternative to traditional aid by fostering connections between local artists and grass roots organizations in planning, implementing and evaluating programs to realize greater social, economic and cultural rights. This collaboration is a powerful way to assure broad based, locally sustained community participation in development work.