Youth are as vulnerable as everybody else to COVID-19 and can be powerful agents to flatten the COVID-19 pandemic curve
NAIROBI Friday, 22 May 2020: Amref Health Africa has partnered with Kenyan artist Juliani through his Dandora Hip Hop City movement to support Kenya’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic by co-creating youth-led initiatives aligned with the government-led national response.
The coronavirus disease was initially poised to be an ‘old persons’ disease with reporting of elderly persons being acutely affected by the virus. There have been reports of young people adopting an almost dismissive attitude to their susceptibility to the virus. This narrative has however changed over time with increasing numbers of young people getting infected.
Leveraging on the power of the youth by recognising them as patriotic citizens and powerful change agents, young people will be trained through Amref’s Leap mHealth digital platform to build a safer and more caring community towards flattening the curve.
“The youth can be an important resource to create awareness, break misconceptions, mitigate risks and conduct community outreach in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis,” said Amref Health Africa in Kenya’s Country Director Dr Meshack Ndirangu.
Young people present an untapped resource by investing in their economic security and social protection, through deployment, online jobs, and in conducting the much-needed outreach interventions in their communities. They are beacons of hope that if meaningfully engaged and supported, can change the tide of the COVID-19 response.
Through this partnership, Amref and Dandora Hip Hop City will onboard and train 150 youth health champions with the online messaging capability and activate them to support the dissemination of COVID-19 messages at the community level as well as online. This will help to identify Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices on COVID-19 among the youth. The partnership will also see the youth champions equipped with Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) to conduct community mobilisation activities safely.
“Young people have the time, energy, and are innovative. Our work is to equip them with the necessary skills to harness all these innate abilities to bring about positive change in their communities,” said Juliani, Founder of Dandora HipHop City.
Seventy-five percent of Kenya’s population (34 million Kenyans) is below the age of 35 and owing to the numbers, the vulnerability of Kenya’s youth being directly infected or affected by the virus remains markedly high. Government institutions and other duty-bearers must ensure that their programming prioritises young people; a population that is often left out with their needs mostly unmet.
With the realisation that Kenya has a youthful population and that young people are eager to receive factual COVID-19 prevention information, this partnership will activate young people to be resource points by creating awareness, sharing Ministry of Health approved messages and information on COVID-19 infection prevention and control that translates to behaviour change; map out their neighbourhoods, collect information about the vulnerable, needy or any other relevant details; distribute resources and implement other initiatives necessary to prevent, promote and sustain better and healthy practices in the communities guided by the approved Ministry of Health requirements and government directives.
About Dandora Hip Hop City
Dandora HipHop City founded by Juliani – a renowned Kenyan artist -seeks to provide tools, resources, and enabling space for young people to exercise and bring out their full potential in art, music, entrepreneurship, and leadership.
About Amref Health Africa in Kenya
Amref Health Africa is a non-governmental organisation established in 1957 and headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya with operations in all 47 counties. We believe that health is a basic human right. Everything we do ensures lasting health change for all.
Building on over six decades of experience, working closely with communities, county, and national governments, and other stakeholders, we provide a broad range of services designed to empower communities and strengthen health systems.
For more information on Amref’s work, please visit our website: https://amref.org/kenya/