According to the UN, “equality between women and men refers to the equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities of women and men, girls and boys”. Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right but also a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world.
Women are human beings and should be given the same fundamental rights as a men. However, gender inequality in many countries across sub-Saharan Africa remains high. For example, in Uganda, 1 in every 4 girls aged 15-19 have already begun childbearing (Action Aid). 60% of women across sub-Saharan Africa do not complete secondary school (UN). And 3 of every 5 women in Africa have experienced Gender-Based Violence (Worldbank).
At Brass for Africa, we work hand-in-hand with local partner organisations– such as the UNHCR or Oxfam Voice – to ensure that girls and young women are given the same opportunities as their male counterparts. In many of the communities we work with, the education of boys is often prioritised over that of girls, who are frequently believed to not be important within their families and communities at large.
How do we tackle Gender Equality? Through music! Every week, we provide Music and Life-Skills Education to 750 girls and young women across Uganda, Rwanda and Liberia. At Brass for Africa, we believe a girl can accomplish anything a boy can.
When lessons take place, we make sure girls and boys sit together and that everyone works as a team. We encourage everybody to help each other as equals. We do this to ensure that girls are treated with dignity, respect and fairness. And so that they have equal access to education, allowing them to live in a safe and equal society.
For the past decade, we have seen great improvement and transformation in the lives of the girls and young women that we work with. Those who used to be shy can now stand in front of a big audience without being scared. Many of them have become leaders within their communities, and some have even become Music and Life-Skills Teachers at Brass for Africa! Music has allowed them to believe in themselves, and to find their rightful place in society.
Here is Natandana Prosy, a trumpeter from Muwala Asobola brass band – one of Brass for Africa’s local partners. She shares with us what music and life-skills has brought to her life.
“Before joining the brass band, I used to stay home without knowing that I had a talent and after joining it, that is when I realised that I can play the trumpet. Through it I am able to show those who think that a girl cannot do anything that I can, or we can, and I do this by playing my trumpet. Whenever I play it, many people get inspired and this makes me feel proud of myself.”
At Brass for Africa, we also believe that boys are a big factor in promoting Gender Equality. Makanga Fahad from Muwala Asobola brass band is one of the boys that have changed their minds towards girls after learning in the band with them:
“Before Brass for Africa I used to think that girls were not important, but after studying with them in the band, I realised that they are as important as boys whereby they can also play all the instruments in the band”, said Makanga.
All of us have a role to play in promoting gender equality and as Brass for Africa, we have done our role through Music and Life-Skills. What about you? Remember, you can promote it by supporting our programmes!