MONROVIA — “Civic Participation and Collaboration” are two key strategies I learned about today during this workshop that stood out for me as a musician. Giving back to the society is high on my advocacy agenda especially now that we have general elections coming up 2023. I am working on a civil education song to sensitize citizens to be aware of politician fake promises during elections, as they are not in our interest – Thomas Moserary, alias Theoto, one of the workshop participants and a member of the Hip-Co accountability network.
Accountability Lab Liberia Voice2Rep campaign initiative, with support from The Music in African Foundation, provided a platform to engage The Hip-Co Accountability network and artists, to build the capacity of 16 musicians; to promote messaging around civic participation through young artists and community radio stations; and to create linkages among different artists for cross collaboration, learning and advocacy.
‘Voice to Represent’ (Voice2Rep) is Accountability Lab’s pioneering and reformative musical campaign and advocacy platform that promotes issues around integrity, accountability and good governance through the lenses of a more equal participation and greater representation across Liberia. Its goal is for young and undiscovered artists to build their knowledge, skills and get the connections they need to improve their music and use it to advocate for social change. Hip-Co Accountability Network on the other hand is a group on young national artists (male and female) who consider themselves ‘conscious musicians’, using a mixture of ‘hip-hop’ music and the Liberian ‘colokwa’ (pidgin) to preach about a wide range of social issues, including; equality, opportunities for youth, including participation.
On December 17, 2021, all the 16 the Artists and two experienced development facilitators gathered for a full day of capacity building training covering the following two topics, “Needs and Rights Based Advocacy and Campaign, and Civic Participation”. The training was held at the iCampus Accountability Lab Liberia’s office on Carey Street in Monrovia. The training reinforced the ideals of conscious music where artists’ skills were built on how to use their authentic voices around critical social issues of equality, youth opportunities, accountability and transparency including civic participation using music as an advocacy tool.
AL Liberia carried out a learning evaluation (a pre and post-test) involving all 16 participants to be able to measure change in knowledge and understanding after the workshop. The evaluation test results showed a 100% increase in knowledge. Each participant scored better on the post-test, with an average difference of 47% between the pre and post-test scores. The test had a total of 20 multiple choice questions drawn from the 2 topics covered.
Now, after the civic participation and advocacy training, it is hoped that the Voice2Rep campaign in Liberia, in collaboration with the Hip-Co Accountability Network partners will continue to push for a shift in the norms by using their authentic voices around critical issue in ways that will ultimately help to create the Liberia we all want to live in.