Recent efforts to stop the Lord’s Resistance Army have faltered. LRA commanders are reportedly regrouping in the Congo, and Ugandans have reduced their deployment, greatly underestimating the capability of the LRA. With the LRA now in operation for more than two decades, organizations like The Voice Project are looking for new ways to promote the cause of peace. Women in northern Uganda have banded together to write songs that encourage former LRA soldiers in the bush to return to their communities. The Voice Project highlights a message sung by the women in those communities: “Come home, you are forgiven.”
This sound clip from a radio station in Gulu in northern Uganda features the Gulu Women's Choir’s rendition of "Home," the song by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros. The station has hosted the "Dwog Paco" ("Come Home") radio show for years, a show that has contributed toward the return of thousands of LRA abductees and soldiers. The station features interviews with ex-LRA, as well as songs such as this one with messages about returning home.
The Voice Project has worked with dozens of other artists, all of whom sing similar songs in an effort to spread the word about the LRA and work to stop the violence. It works like a game of telephone; one artist films himself covering another artist’s song, and then another artist records a cover of the cover. The chain of songs, similar to the spread of songs by the women of northern Uganda, are posted on The Voice Project website, and the money gained from donations, sponsors, and advertisers is donated to programs on the ground that help with peace, reconciliation, and rebuilding efforts.
The work of The Voice Project is poignant and timely, bringing attention to LRA-affected communities at a time when they need it most. Just over a year after Obama signed into law the Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act, the U.S. has not done enough to stop the LRA. It is crucial to continue spreading awareness about the issue, so people fully understand the severity of the LRA conflict. The Voice Project’s creative take on how to amplify the message of peace, and help empower and rebuild war-torn communities, is worth checking out.
Photo: The Voice Project logo