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Workshop to learn how to use a PA (photo: MCI)

Music Crossroads International (principal office)

Mr. Dag Franzen, Director

Roger de Llúria 85, ppal, 1, ES-08009 Barcelona, Spain

Tel: +34-933-118 204

Fax: +34-934-875 155






Girls at a vocal workshop (photo: MCI) 

Boys with drum set (photo: MCI)




Nyacha performing (photo: MCI)



A unique music initiative to empower young people in Africa!

   History and organizational facts                                                                 

Music Crossroads (MC) was initiated 1996 in Zimbabwe by Jeunesses Musicales International, the world’s largest youth music network based in Brussels, Belgium. The MC program was outsourced (for capacity reasons) in September 2008 to Music Crossroads International, MCI.

MCI was founded in December 2007 in Amsterdam, Netherlands under Dutch law as a non-profit foundation (Stichting Music Crossroads International) and in January 2009 in Barcelona, Spain under Catalan law as a non-profit international association MCI (“Associació Internacional Music Crossroads Barcelona”).


In Europe: 2.5 professional employees, 25-30 volunteers

In Africa: some 20 employees in the 5 national MC NGO’s, numerous volunteers, facilitators and supporters

Geographic reach: Presently in the SADC region: Malawi (1999), Mozambique (1997), Tanzania (2000), Zambia (2003), Zimbabwe (1996). New region/countries from 2011: West Africa (ECOWAS): Mali and Senegal


    Mission and activities                                                                              

MC mission and activities are based on addressing the following needs:

There are few opportunities for talented young musicians in Southern and Western Africa. Despite rich and diverse musical cultures in each of the 5 countries in which MCI is currently operating, there are hardly any music training institutions.

Young people are “un-empowered”, they suffer from low self-esteem and self-respect, massive youth unemployment, and generally poor education levels. Some of the results are that there is a high HIV/AIDS prevalence and high levels of alcohol and drug abuse among young people.

There are very few significant investments in the local music industry as well as high piracy and high levels of brain-drain in the artistic sectors.

MCIS’s mission is to use music as a powerful tool to reach out to vast majorities of impoverished young men and women in target countries, both in rural and urban areas. Its objectives are to:

·         offer music education and vocational training to young marginalized youth in fairly equipped MC Centers

·         to contribute to the development of the music sector (industries + educational institutions) in the target countries

·         to create sustainable non-governmental organizations that pursues common activities, enabling cross-border interaction, exchange and expansion of network.

·         to develop regional structures to support national MC’s in terms of capacity building of staff, fund-raising, lobbying and advocacy

MCI’s activities:

·       34 Local/Provincial Festivals: music and life skills workshops-music/social interaction-public concerts for local communities-competition, covering ± all provinces of the 5 countries

·       5 National Festivals: workshops focused on music professionalism, ending with public concert and competition

·       1 InterRegional Festival: the 10 best bands of the 5 countries compete for international tours, promotion and professional pre-trainings; inviting former winning bands and young guest bands from other African and European countries. This includes cross-border interaction, professional workshops facilitated by international experts, highly professional performance levels incl. venues and technical and human support.

·       European tour: The IRF winning bands receive one year of extensive, professional on-site training, covering repertoire, performance, workshops and intercultural training (incl. press conferences etc). Then to go on a 6-8 week tour in 7-10 European countries, doing school and public music/intercultural workshops, smaller and bigger concerts including performances in major world music festivals.

·       Five national MC Centers offer daily training and rehearsal opportunities for young bands and individuals; vocational training (15-25 years), basic music education (5-25 years), promotion and band management (15-30 years).

    Impact and planning                                                                               

MCI has conducted 2.919 activities (including rehearsals) in 2009, and worked with 4.878 musicians and reached audiences of 339.000 in the 5 African countries plus another audience of 127.500 abroad. Among the young musicians involved in MCI’s projects, many have gone on to become professional musicians and earning their livelihoods through their music. E.g. the winner of the first InterRegional Festival in Harare 2007, Kapa Dech, has recorded 2 albums and toured Europe extensively. In addition, “Liyana”, a Zimbabwean band of physically handicapped young people, won the second prize in 2006 and toured schools and public venues in Sweden, Holland and Belgium early 2007. A documentary about the band’s lead vocal and song-writer Prudence Mabhena won an Oscar in 2010.


Impact assessment and monitoring

Baseline Research was carried out in 2006 and again in 2010 to determine the impact of MCI’s projects on the individual level. Each African partner NGO is supervised closely, including yearly planning plus budget, followed by Monthly Financial Reports, Quarterly Narrative Reports, Annual Financial results + statistics, and a national auditor’s report every year from an independent, professional auditor. As MCI’s donor disbursements is paid out every 6 months, all due reporting has to be submitted before the next payment is done. Once per year MCI organizes an “Annual Organizer’s Meeting”, where each country presents the outcome (positive and negative) of the previous year in front of the others.

Future strategy (2011 – 2013)

The new strategy encompasses 4 focal areas in the 5 countries:

1.    Adequately equip national MC Centers for music education and vocational training (including instruments, equipment and relevant curriculums)

2.    Organize Outreach Campus/Festivals & Competition in marginalized areas

3.    Establish National Music Platforms to boost the impact of the music industry

4.    Pursue Regional development, Capacity Building and African outreach



While there are several donor-funded youth music initiatives in Africa, none of them operate on the scale of MCI. MCI has therefore benefited from the support of various large donors. The development agencies of Sweden (Sida) and Norway (MFA) have also been major funders of MCI. Since 2009, MCI receives strong project support from the Spanish agency AECID as well as the City of Barcelona. UNESCO also continues to support MCI.

For 2009, MCI income was generated from the following sources:

-          Donor contributions (Sida, Sweden, Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, AECID Spain and City of Barcelona) = 76%

-          Private partnerships = 9%

-          Other contributions (UNESCO etc) = 4%

-          Earned income 2%

-          Other (miscellaneous) = 9%

In addition, each African NGO is expected, through capacity building and gained experience, to raise an increasing percentage of funding per year; for 2010 = 30% of each national budget in addition to app. 70% through donor disbursements, thereby building financial sustainability over time. The MCI office is predominantly there to seek funds for the network; thereby 80% of the human resources work actively in fund-raising. The Executive Director is ultimately responsible for its fund-raising pursuits.

Last updated: 15th November 2010