Prominent Somali artists said Sunday they have released UN-backed new song to raise awareness about the dangers of COVID-19 in Somalia, which remains a threat across the country.
Somali musician Aar Maanta and music producer Waqal Studio announced a new collaboration with some of the most popular artists in the Somali music industry on a group song which encourages people to follow public health guidelines by staying two meters apart, regularly washing hands with soap and staying at home if possible
“This project has given Somali artists the opportunity to work together and forge new partnerships and we will not stop here,” Maanta said in a joint statement issued in Mogadishu on Sunday.
“Together we will defeat COVID-19 and continue to help our people and be part of other important national campaigns,” he added.
The song and music video is supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The song is expected to reach millions of people across the country and the diaspora through promotion on radio, TV and through the singers’ individual social media networks.
Hodan Ahmed Hashi, who demonstrates how to wear a mask in the video, said this unique collaboration brings together some of the most influential Somali artists to help people stay vigilant, because COVID-19 has not gone away and is even getting worse in many places.
“The need for our collective voice has never been greater and we hope this special song, as well as advice and guidance from health professionals, will save lives by reminding people that COVID-19 is still dangerous and still with us,” said Hashi.
This collaboration, one of the first of its kind among Somali artists, was written by Abdirahman Fili and features leading singers Suldan Seeraar, Hodan Abdirahman, Cabdi Hani, Yurub Geenyo, Abdirisaq Anshax and Nadiira Nayruus. The UNDP said the initiative is the latest part of its extensive campaign to take advantage of Somalia’s rich oral culture by engaging poets, comedians, singers and other artists to make sure people receive crucial health messages.
“It’s never an easy task to get people to make changes in their daily lives to fight an invisible threat,” said Jocleyn Mason, UNDP Somalia’s Resident Representative.
“But artists like Aar Maanta can turn health messages into something magical that people will want to listen to and are more likely to take on board,” Mason added.
The UNDP said its campaigns have already reached more than 10 million people via TV and radio broadcasts and through online platforms.
Somalia, which has instituted measures to contain the possible spread of COVID-19 pandemic including closing schools and banning large gatherings, has so far confirmed 3,227 cases, 1,728 recoveries and 93 deaths as of Aug.5