The Black Eyes Peas' Peapod Foundation has been endorsed by Rita Marley, who said that if her late husband were alive, he would add his support to the philanthropic initiative.

The Black Eyes Peas' Peapod Foundation has been endorsed by Rita Marley, who said that if her late husband were alive, he would add his support to the philanthropic initiative.

Marley spoke to Billboard.com during Sunday night's Peapod Benefit Concert, held at the Johannesburg Stadium and featuring the Black Eyed Peas & Friends. Billed as "The Peapod Foundation's gift to the people of South Africa," the free concert attracted more than 20,000 fans that saw Marley join the group onstage for a version of "Where Is the Love?"

This is not the first time Marley has worked with BEP, having joined the group last July during the Philadelphia installment of Live 8. "I admire this group so much," Marley said of the BEP. "Kids these days need messages with their music and that is what the Black Eyed Peas give."

Marley, who will be appearing with Peas member Fergie in an editorial spread in an upcoming issue of In Style magazine, said she was keen to work with Fergie on philanthropic and awareness-raising issues in Africa. "Women need to play a role in educating the youth for liberation," she said. "I fully endorse what the Peapod Foundation is doing because it is about making dreams into a reality, and utilizing the power of music to do that. If Bob were physically alive now, he would also support the initiative."

Fergie and Marley visited orphanages in Johannesburg together and are planning more work in the future. Marley is already active on the African continent through the Bob Marley Foundation and Rita Marley Foundation, providing support for schools in Ethiopia and Ghana, among other projects.

The Peas were in South Africa to launch the first international project of the Peapod Foundation, which supports social issues affecting children worldwide, including housing, starvation, health care, education, poverty and music/artistic education.

In South Africa, Peapod has chosen as its first project the Adopt-A-School Foundation, which was co-founded by Cyril Ramaphosa and works to improve the conditions of schools neglected by the pre-1994 government.

Meanwhile, Fergie revealed that her debut solo album is well on track and will be released this year, "although I don't have an exact date," she told Billboard.com. "I am taking it day-by-day but every moment that I have free, I am in the studio. I haven't had a day off in ages. But I am loving it -- it's something special to be working on my own project."

Due to the fact that all Peas members are working on solo projects, the group's next proper album most likely won't be out until 2008, according to will.i.am.