In 2012, the Gender Roles, Equality, and Transformations (GREAT) Project announced a theme song competition for girls and boys between 10-19 years old from the Lango and Acholi sub-regions of northern Uganda. Spearheaded by consortium partner Pathfinder International, the goal was to find young people who were willing to communicate major themes from the ‘Oteka’ radio drama — a 50-episode series component of the GREAT Project — in a song. Contestants were asked to understand their position as peer role models, and were required to write songs that integrated theme elements from the GREAT Project, such as adolescent sexual and reproductive health, and gender equity. While contestants were allowed to seek support in creating the song from trusted adults, they were required to share it on their own during the competition.
After six applicant groups performed during several rounds of competition to determine the best song, GREAT Project staff, partners and the GREAT Technical Advisory Group (TAG) chose ‘Live Alive’ as the winners — a youth group of very young adolescent (VYA) boys and girls from Gulu. This group of young songwriters went on to record their original song in a studio, and produce a music video locally in northern Uganda that captures them singing, dancing and acting out all the learnings from the radio drama and the GREAT Project as a whole.
As the song says, “I respect people, my parents and everyone. Share ideas, listen to teachings and we will be GREAT!” It has become an anthem for the entire project, spreading through many local youth-serving groups and platforms.
Take a minute to watch the full video here, and read the lyrics below.
I am GREAT!
I respect people, my parents and everyone.
I do not discriminate against girls.
I do not discriminate against boys.
Sit down and talk if there are issues among you.
Our boys, our girls: HIV/AIDS is still there in the world.
STIs are also there; early marriage is there.
Share ideas and listen to teachings and we will be GREAT!
Our girls, our boys: join groups and listen to teachings from Oteka project.
Use family planning to delay pregnancies, and you will be GREAT.
Girls can also graze the goats; boys can also cook.
Do all the chores together and you will be GREAT.
Learn more about the GREAT Project.