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We are One!

2020 was a year which shattered many of our plans and hopes for the future due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. Amid a chaotic year, after witnessing the fragile state of the lives of musicians in Maldives, Musicians Union of Maldives (M.U.M) was birthed by Founders Ahmed Shiham, Nishfa Nashid and Mahran Mohamed Majid along with a team of fellow musicians in the hope of making a positive change in the music industry of Maldives.

After registering at the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment on the 20th of July 2020, the Union first opened its doors to members registration on the 1st of August 2020, and the first Annual General Meeting of the Union was held on the 28th of November 2020 where an Executive Committee (ExCo) was elected.

As the Musicians Union of Maldives celebrates the Union’s first anniversary, the Executive Committee of the Union would like to thank its members and collaborators for the continuous support over the past year.

COVID-19 has had a colossal impact on the music industry and while it has been a turbulent year trying to navigate an unfamiliar ocean of obstacles, with many setbacks to our aspirations, the ExCo hopes to have made a beneficial difference on the lives of our members since its formation.

Since being elected eight months ago, the ExCo has been working on establishing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to ensure all activities run by the Union operate accordingly, as well as forming relationships and partnerships with different establishments such as government bodies and other organizations to address and resolve the various issues faced by musicians in Maldives.

As we reflect on the past months, one of our most notable achievements since our inception was being able to successfully negotiate free PCR tests made from roadside sampling as validated tests for travel for union members. While struggling artists with no work were expected to pay exorbitant prices for PCR tests, free validated PCR testing allowed more movement for musicians to pursue more work.

Our campaign #TellMumAboutIt in March this year was also significant as the campaign effectively addressed the ongoing problem of unlawful recruitment of foreign artists in tourist establishments. In response to the campaign initiated by the Union, Maldives Immigration issued a statement warning businesses to refrain from engaging foreign nationals in performing music without obtaining the necessary approvals. Immigration stated that strict penalties will be imposed for those in violation and urged parties to cease such activities which affect the future of local artists.

The ExCo are also pleased to be working alongside Munawwar, Nazahath & Co. Law Firm, who signed a Service Engagement Agreement with the Union on the 26th of May this year. Under the Service Engagement Agreement, Munawwar, Nazahath & Co will be providing legal and consulting services to the Union. The ExCo and Law Firm have been working collectively to refine the rights of the artists and establish a Union endorsed standard set of agreements for members to ensure these rights are protected. We are also currently working closely with the firm to operate a series of workshops for union members touching on topics such as Intellectual Property Rights (Copyright), Employment Law, Sexual Harassment and Taxation to equip members with the essential skills and techniques required to safeguard themselves in the music industry.

The ExCo takes pride in being part of the ‘Tourism Golden Jubilee Steering Committee’, a carefully selected task force of eleven members formed by the Ministry of Tourism (MOT) to organize Golden Year Celebrations in 2022.

We are also honored to be an approved and registered charitable organization of Maldives Inland Revenue Authority (MIRA), which means the Union can now receive tax deductible donations from potential donors.

The ExCo aims to increase the benefits accessible to its members and hopes to enrich their social wellbeing. One of our objectives presently is to create Membership Tiers and Add-ons. These packages will give members access to a selection of rights and benefits such as legal assistance, insurance counselling, health insurance, equipment insurance and other membership discounts.

Our organisation aims to uphold the values and vision of our Union and aspires to contribute to the development of the music industry. We at the Union seek to empower locals who are employed in all aspects of the music sector of Maldives and advocate for industry growth. The ExCo is currently working on launching a nationwide survey to identify the challenges artists and other members in the music industry face; to distinguish and address areas of the industry which need reform in order to bring about positive, lasting change.

While we would have preferred to celebrate our first anniversary in the presence of all our members to the sound of live music, we are sadly still not at a point in time where we can. Ho wever, we are planning a special celebration and will be announcing a date for this very soon.

We wish all our members a Happy Anniversary and wonderful Eid with friends and family.

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