Fi Wi Jamaica Using Music to Promote Positive Behaviour

Photo: Dave Reid Fi Wi Jamaica Project Cultural Director, Michael “Mikie” Bennett, emphasises a point as he speaks about the use of music under the project to promote positive behaviour change. He was addressing a Think Tank held recently at the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) headquarters in Kingston.

Story Highlights

  • The Fi Wi Jamaica project is employing one of the most popular and influential elements of Jamaica’s culture – music – to promote positive behaviour among citizens while creating streams of revenue.
  • “The project has identified music as a key tool, which can be utilised to create somewhat of a paradigm shift as it relates to general conduct,” said Cultural Director for FIWI Jamaica, Michael “Mikie” Bennett.
  • The Fi Wi Jamaica project, a collaborative effort of the University of Technology and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), promotes advocacy against human trafficking, domestic violence and issues of intolerance throughout the country.

The Fi Wi Jamaica project is employing one of the most popular and influential elements of Jamaica’s culture – music – to promote positive behaviour among citizens while creating streams of revenue.

“The project has identified music as a key tool, which can be utilised to create somewhat of a paradigm shift as it relates to general conduct,” said Cultural Director for Fi Wi Jamaica, Michael “Mikie” Bennett.

One of the fundamental elements of the project is the Masters in Residence (MIR) Global Competitiveness programme, which offers trainees lessons in songwriting, vocal skills and talent management.

The MIR programme was established to identify, harness and hone talent in the area of music with a view to preparing persons to use this talent as a tool for advocacy, while creating opportunity for earning income.

Mr. Bennett, who is a well-known music producer and songwriter, told JIS News that the programme focuses on the creation of positive, internationally marketable content.

“We have notable writers in the industry who have lent their support and songwriting experience to the programme, such as Bob Andy, Ernie Smith, Kabaka Pyramid and Wayne Marshall,” he informed.

These writers have created excellent pieces of work, and are now mentoring individuals in the programme who wish to follow a similar path.

Mr. Bennett said he is proud of the fact that there have already been requests from popular artistes for songs to be written by the trainees, noting that offers have come from record labels.

“It is definitely positive for the programme that some of the participants have already begun to earn from the training that they are receiving. This gives further credence to what we have been telling them as it relates to the earning potential to be capitalised on,” he pointed out.

Another element of the initiative that Mr. Bennett is excited about is a songwriting competition, which is currently under way. Weekly prizes are offered for winning entries.

Mr. Bennett noted that the response to the competition has been good, so far, and is inviting more submissions.

The competition requires persons to compose lyrics to a partially completed song entitled ‘You Deserve to Be Loved’, which can be downloaded from the FiWi Jamaica Facebook page.

Entrants may record their lyrics over the track provided, or they may submit the written lyrics to the missing verse.

The weekly winners will be entered into a pool and will become eligible to win a cash prize in the grand finals in December.

The Fi Wi Jamaica project, a collaborative effort of the University of Technology and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), promotes advocacy against human trafficking, domestic violence and issues of intolerance throughout the country.

The three-year project, which began in 2015, incorporates a number of strategies with the view to help remove stigma, spark discussion around key issues and effect positive behaviour change among the citizens of Jamaica.

 

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