The Nile Project

Egypt, Eritrea, Kenya, Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Ethiopia, Tanzania, South Sudan, Congo (Kinhassa). What do all these countries have in common?

  1. With the exception of Congo, they all have a shortage of water.
  2. They all have a global food security index of 50 % or less, often below 20 %.
  3. With the exception of Egypt, most people in these countries don’t have access to electricity.
  4. In all these countries there is violence and/or war.
  5. They all are riperian states of the Nile.

Interesting: the Nile is the river with the most riperian states in the world: 11 (Congo 10, Amazon 8). Potentially the Nile is a source of prosperity, but in fact it is also a cause of war. The suffering in these countries is  hardly imaginable. I recently read What is the What, written by Dave Eggers, based on the life of Valentino Achak Deng, about the wars in Sudan. The suffering and the cruelties  that are described in that book are very difficult to digest.

However. . .

Coming back from  holiday I attended the Holland Festival Proms. This was a wonderful day all over, but the highlight certainly was The Nile Project. A group of about 14 musicians who with their love, vitality and african music ravished the public. With their laments they touched everyone deeply, and one couldn’t stop moving and dancing when they played their exciting rhythms.

Now the interesting thing is these musicians came from all countries I mentioned above. This is what the Nile Project is about: bringing people from all these countries together in peace, love and understanding. They also have an ecological goal; in their own words: “We inspire, inform, and connect Nile citizens to help them collaborate on cultivating the sustainability of their river.” The Nile Project was founded in 2011 and since then organized 143 concerts, 200 workshops, 6 international gatherings, and produced 2 albums. They also organize student programs, and university chapters, community programs and so on and so on. They are networking all over the world. Their methodology is based on the Theory U (developed by Peter Senge, Otto Sharmer, and others).

It is very encouraging that in the midst of deep misery, cruelty and violence, beauty and love always come forward and blossom. Therein lies the hope for this world. This concert moved me deeply and made me very happy.

I never heard about The Nile Project before. This may be true for many of you. If ever you get the chance to watch a performance, don’t miss it. You can also in other ways get involved with the project, see the website:

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