July 24, 2010

AGYA Receives Grant Funding From Clinton Global Initiative

Former President William J. Clinton addresses young activists at the 2010 CGI U Conference.

AGYA is honored and humbled to announce that our project, “Recording Our Dreams: Empowering Ugandan Youth through Music Production” will receive $6,000 USD after winning an Outstanding Commitment Award from the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U). The award is funded by the Wal-Mart Foundation.

According to CGI U, AGYA’s plan to empower youth economically and artistically by establishing a solar-powered recording studio was as an exemplary entrepreneurial and environmentally-sustainable approach to alleviate poverty and joblessness among youth in Uganda's urban slums.

The “Recording Our Dreams” studio will be housed at the AGYA Learning Center. With the grant funds, AGYA will purchase much-needed equipment such as state-of-the art computers, an electricity generator, software, speakers, microphones, and solar panels.

This innovative project will integrate hip-hop youth culture to reach out effectively to at-risk urban youth who are increasingly embracing the messages, themes, and images prevalent in hip-hop.
Within the next two months, AGYA’s leaders aim to connect with manufacturers of solar panels and potential partner organizations who have successfully harnessed solar energy in order to pursue our goal of using solar power for 35 percent of the studio’s energy. The solar power aspect of our commitment will give us a competitive advantage over other studios in Uganda which have failed to diversify their energy supplies.

Project leader Divinity Matovu (pictured above) had sustainability in mind when she made her Commitment at the April 2010 CGI U Conference. The studio will be financially viable because studio rental and production fees will generate revenue for AGYA programs. Additionally, the studio will create jobs for youth, enhancing their earning capacity as they acquire marketable technical skills and media training.

AGYA will work in partnership with Point Youth Media to implement an intensive 16-week training program that will teach students how to operate sound equipment and use software programs for recording, as well as book-keeping and marketing skills. The students will also develop a MySpace Music Page and work towards recording compilation CDs.

As youth graduate from the training program, they will pass their skills on to others and have access to job opportunities in the studio. We project that, within two years, 182 youth between the ages of 12-25 will successfully complete the media training course. By the beginning of the second year, we anticipate releasing and selling our first compilation album, thereby launching the revenue-generating aspect of our commitment.

Thank you to CGI U for supporting “Recording Our Dreams”! Stay tuned for more updates about this awesome project!