Exchange between The Norwegian Band Federation (NMF) and Field Band Foundation (FBF) has been on-going for many years. The first project, Band Crossing Borders (BCB), was initiated in 1999, and the aim of the project was to introduce the South African perspective of using music in lifeskills and social development, and to help create awareness of North-South issues amongst band members and Norwegians in general. BCB closed in 2013 and the same year, “PULSE – Stronger together” was introduced with the main goal to increase and share practical knowledge about the correlation between music, health and social inclusion. Both these projects have received funding and PULSE is still receiving funding from Fredskorpset (FK-Norway).
From 2003 – 2016, Toneheim Folk High School in Norway has been a co-partner of these two projects, by hosting the BCB and PULSE participants from South Africa as students at the school. The folk high school movement has a tradition of lifelong learning, endorsing equality and democracy as core values, and the partnership between NMF and FBF was viewed as a practical manifestation of these important principles. From 2016, the South African PULSE participants were no longer placed at Toneheim, as the demands of the next phase of the project required that they would be situated in Oslo and Bergen at the NMF offices.
The presence of the South Africans from FBF at Toneheim was positive in a lot of different ways. It helped with social and musical development, diversity and global citizenship, both for Norwegian students and the South Africans attending the programme. This is why Toneheim proposed a new partnership between themselves and FBF to continue this relationship. Toneheim has worked hard to collect funding for this, and has now become a reality. The project is called “Music Makes a Difference” (MMD). The first round of MMD will begin in August this year, and will last the whole school year. After the school year, the participants will come back to FBF and share the skills and knowledge they will obtain with their fellow tutors and members in the organisation.
The participants from FBF attending the programme this year are Katlego Moholwane and Penny Mokgobu. They will travel to Norway later this moth to attend Toneheim. A couple of weeks ago, Penny and Katlego attended a two-day workshop at the FBF head office as part of their preparations for the programme. Lisa and Hanna together with Education Team Leader Eva conducted one of the workshop days where they talked about Toneheim, Norwegian culture, expectations and more. They even learned some Norwegian phrases.
PULSE wishes Penny and Katlego good luck. Enjoy Toneheim and Norway!
Written by: Hanna Bakke Negård
Photos by: Eva Bortne and Hanna Bakke Negård