Uganda visit Feb’ 2020

From Fresh Water to Fresh Talent!

LNADJ recently visited projects in Uganda including Bright Angels School, The Abode Project School and communities in Mpigi where new wells have been funded.  The week culminated at the ‘Taste of Ugandance’ Festival, where our newly trained Get Equipped students performed their first gig.

LNADJ Founder Jonny Lee shares the journey….

I recently went out to Uganda to visit a number of projects LNADJ supports through our Have A Drink on Us and Get Equipped campaigns. The trip was also in conjunction with The Abode Project and their massive team of volunteers. Transparency in our work is very important to us. 

The opportunity to visit these initiatives at the grassroots level to see how they are working, what else may be needed and to report back to our sponsors and supporters is a vital one. 

On reflection, it was an incredible expedition, where we were able to fully maximise these valuable days in the field to achieve a number of important missions.

Joining me on the journey was DJ/Producer and our Get Equipped Project Manager, Dominic Aquila Sunderland.  Dominic was to lead some fast track DJ training for three students at The Abode Project School, leading up to the culmination of the weeks activities – the ‘Taste of Ugandance’ festival. 

It was here that our students were to get the opportunity to put their new skills to the test immediately, at this teaser event for the future Ugandance festival.

Have A Drink On Us! Visiting new water wells in Mpigi

We started with visits to five newly constructed wells in the lush, green Mpigi region of Uganda, built as part of the ‘Have A Drink on Us’ campaign.  Wells built through this programme can provide communities with safe, clean water for up to 10 years, at a cost of just £2400 per well! It’s a vital, life saving and life changing provision of this essential resource, water. 

Communities we help have often previously been reliant on taking water from ponds and other unsafe sources. Many hours can be lost due to the collection of water and water-related illnesses are common.

Lack of access to clean water particularly affects women and children, who are often responsible for traveling long distances for water collection or face the alternative of collecting water from an unsafe water source. 

Facilitating access to local clean water ensures not only health improvements but that time can be redirected towards education and employment, something the people in the communities we work with value greatly.

Two of the wells we visited had been built as a result of funds raised by the first ever Set For Love event held in Ibiza last year at Las Dalias, where 30 resident DJs donated a set for love. 

This inspirational event raised over 9K€ and in addition to two wells in Mpigi, the funds raised were used to construct a further well in India at Vadathillai.

We also visited a well built thanks to funds raised by The Pink Pub cyclists in Bognor Regis.  This was in loving memory of soldier Danny Johnson.

A further community well we saw at Nkanaga was funded by one of our music partners Izotope, who also funded the trip and are a major contributor to the Get Equipped programme.

It is always a humbling experience to see first hand the difference having access to fresh water makes and to meet the communities in person to hear how much the wells have benefitted them. 

Everywhere we went we were greeted with such warmth, the villagers often coming out to greet us with gifts of fresh produce they have grown.

Delivering books, laptops and shirts to Bright Angels School

Next we visited Bright Angel’s school to see the new LNADJ sponsored improvement work on their classrooms.  We also delivered some books and a batch of laptops generously donated by Protech, as part of their continued support for Get Equipped. 

We received a lovely welcome from both the children and staff as we joined them for a morning of school life – taking part in their lessons and some music and play. It was a pleasure to be introduced to the new music teacher Daniel,  a post we are able to fund thanks to our partners at Loopmasters.

There were also many newly purchased instruments for the children to learn, thanks to our partners Members Only and Cube 19. Children and teachers alike were also super happy with their funky shirts donated by Frangipani, also a contributor to our Get Equipped programme and an ongoing partner with our charity.

Fast Track DJ Classes at The Abode Project School

The next phase of our journey was to deliver the Get Equipped DJ workshops in partnership with the Abode Project, in their brand new music room at The Abode Junior School near Kabale.

Our three local students Devie, Gidion and Joseph (aka Batman Killa) were all prepped and ready to seize the huge opportunity offered to them. 

Get Equipped Project Manager Dominic and AWOL Drum and Bass legend Darren Jay wasted no time in teaching the fundamentals of beat matching, musicality, phrasing and transitioning (alongside a few tricks) to ensure the young DJs were ready to play at the ‘Taste of Ugandance’ festival at Lake Bunyonyi.

The fast pace of progress was a joy to watch, as both the teachers and students maximised every moment during these valuable days of tuition.

As part of the teaching all three students were given their own USB stick fully loaded with music, spanning a range of genres from disco and funk to house and techno.

It was interesting to see how each of them selected a wide variety of tracks, free from the restraints of genre specifics that confine so many DJ’s. This provided the platform for some impressive mixes on the equipment donated by Bop DJ and the professional Pioneer setup that had been taken over to be used as part of the forthcoming festival. 

We were told there were only 4 such professional club setups (CDJ 2000s and mixer) available in the whole of Uganda, so this was an even more opportune moment than we realised for the students to get the chance to work on industry standard equipment.

It was so rewarding to see the potential we had always felt Get Equipped was able to deliver, by not only equipping the music room but by giving the young DJs the professional skills to be able to perform alongside seasoned professionals.

The collaboration between The Abode Project and LNADJ, two charities where music is a driving force, was a perfect fit. The significance of the project was acknowledged by filmmakers from the BBC who were there to film the progress ready for a broadcast later in the year as part of their World Service programming.

Developing talent in a developing country is something we all feel we can really play a part in, especially in a country which has one of the world’s largest populations under 30. 

Finding out there are only around 76 electronic DJs in Uganda certainly brings the opportunity that lies ahead for the students into perspective. Access to the skills and the equipment will hopefully enable them to generate paid work in this exciting emerging market place.

Some of the young people we work with through Get Equipped have experienced unimaginable hardships and traumas, music coupled with training and equipment can be a powerful force for positive change in their lives.

A Taste of Ugandance – Uganda’s new electronic music festival in the making

With the future looking bright for electronic music in Africa what better place to showcase the students talents than at Africa’s newest festival, Ugandance.

The teaser event, ‘Taste of Ugandance’, took place in the natural park of Lake Bunyonyi and played host to a mixed crowd of Abode Project volunteers and enthusiastic movers and shakers from Uganda and beyond. 

With some legends of the electronic music scene in Uganda present like Darksince88, Bankrobber and Ragga D, this couldn’t have been a better moment to showcase the Get Equipped trio’s talents.

Sharp’s Island provided a stunning backdrop for the young DJ’s debuts and they did not disappoint, as the smiles and dancing demonstrated. The confidence they all showed whilst performing live was a joy to watch and both track selection and seamless mixing kept the dance floor grooving. Having Ragga D, one of Uganda’s biggest artists, MCing alongside them added to the uniqueness of the vibe and occasion.

With all this being captured on camera these were special moments for all involved and will impact the students lives and the many others they share their skills with for. This was truly a magical moment to see how music makes a difference as we celebrated a night on the dancefloor under a full moon.

* UGANDANCE teaser after movie by LG Vision, music by Gemini.

With all this being captured on camera these were special moments for all involved and will impact the students lives and the many others they share their skills with for.  This was truly a magical moment to see how music makes a difference as we celebrated a night on the dancefloor under a full moon.


We were able to equip the boys for more future success by leaving behind a Pioneer DDJ SX3 controller to enable them to further develop and grow their talents, thanks again to Bop DJ.

We are looking forward to returning to beautiful Uganda and the next step will be teaching the students production skills which will no doubt inspire some dance floor killers ready for Ugandance 2020! Stay tuned and watch this space…

Thank You to Our Partners & Sponsors

Massive thanks to Izotope for financing the LNADJ trip, BOP DJ for the equipment, Frangipani for providing our students with a collection of shirts to perform in, Ashley Kreature and Kane Solo for the funding of The Abode Project music school and to the many of you that donated either money, music or equipment. You are all contributing to changing the lives of children in crisis and the ripple effect is reverberating around the world.

Finally a huge thank you to Kai and The Abode Project team for all the efforts that they are making to ensure that dance music continues to make a difference and help change lives. 


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