Making music to change lives in Ghana
An International Service volunteer’s musical talent is helping women access education services in west Africa.
21-year-old Jenniah Brown, from Croydon, has just returned from Savelugu, a town in northern Ghana, where he was volunteering with International Service.
While Jenniah was volunteering, he wrote a rap song about the educational project he worked on and performed it in a video that is now being used to help raise awareness of the project. The song has been performed at community events and featured on local radio stations.
Jenniah went to Ghana for 12 weeks through the Government’s International Citizen Service (ICS) scheme, which funds 18-25-year-old volunteers to work on projects all over the world. He was placed on the Non Formal Education Division (NFED) project, which aims to educate previously uneducated women in non-school environments. The project aims to provide basic literacy and numeracy to women living in rural farming communities in the north of Ghana. It encourages the women, who are involved in farming products such as rice and shea butter, to form co-operatives to help them operate more effectively and, ultimately, improve their income.
The first version of the song was created by Jenniah during a freestyle rap about the NFED project at a local festival. He said: “Lots of children came to the festival and, in the morning, some of the kids were singing it and I thought it was a great opportunity to raise awareness of the project.” Following a meeting with well-known local rappers Choggu Boyz, the track was professionally recorded in both English and local language Dagbani.
“I would like the song to work for the project as a promotional tool. It would be nice if it could help raise awareness and encourage women like those we worked with to try to get involved with NFE. That would be amazing.”
It’s not the first time Jenniah has rapped: he’s been writing and performing since he was 14 and continues to write more material.
He said: It’s made me want to pursue music, especially with a development, economic and political influence.”