Using Music to Fight COVID-19 whilst Advocating for Peace and Sustainable Development

July 7, 2020

Sierra Leone's most famous musicians including Famous, Star Zee and Rapper Kao Denero during the live recording of the music video in Freetown. ©UNDP Sierra Leone/Helen Mayelle

'Hey there! I have a message for you. Yes you. You know Corona Virus? It kills. It knows nobody, no class, no tribe, it will kill....but we can protect ourselves if we heed the messages...wash your hands, wear your mask when in public places, call 117 in case you have it... and together we will win this fight not just to beat Corona but for the future of our beloved country-Sierra Leone's development'... these are part of the lyrics to the song - "Corona Fet Na We All Fet', now the national COVID-19 theme song in Sierra Leone.

Praised by many to be the best COVID-19 social mobilization and risk communication song they have heard in the country (and elsehwere) so far, the COVID-19 theme song was developed to help boost awareness-raising on the pandemic and to help mobilize the nation. "The country loves these young men and women. They are very influencial and highly revered among our people so the idea was just right to have them join and lead the fight for their country". said Solomon Jamiru, National Spokes Person for the COVID-19 response and also the brains behind the development of the song.

LXG another of Sierra Leone's celebrated musicians during the live recording of the music video in Freetown. ©UNDP Sierra Leone/Helen Mayelle

"Song and music have ability to attract attention and drive home messages faster and more effectively as a means of communication." added Solomon.

"They say, music is a universal language. Music in African culture has since time immemorial been used forever for mobilizing people in communities and to communicate whther it be using instruments such as drums, bells and shakers; dance moves, or voice/vocals. That is why we opted to do this song in the typical Sierra Leonean traditional style." attested LXG a celebrated gospel singer and rapper.

And we Sierra Leoneans love our music so much that everyone is actually a musician, singer and or dancer in their own right", bragged FantaCee Wiz one of the country's folk singers and co-manager of the group - Artists for Peace.

FantaCee Wiz, Star Zee and Rapper Kao Denero during the live recording of the music video in Freetown. ©UNDP Sierra Leone/Helen Mayelle.

Supported by UNDP through the National COVID-19 Emergency Response Center's Risk Communication and Social Moblization pillar, the COVID-19 theme song was developed and performed by a collection of various Sierra Leonean musicians drawn from across the country including from historically fragile districts such as Moyamba and Kono. The song also features Sierra Leone's much loved child musician Linus De Genius. This is symbolic of the unity and social cohesion against COVID-19 and for development they sing about. Sang in the various languages spoken in the country, the lyrics of the song raise awareness about the pandemic but also prepares people for a hopeful future based on peace and solidarity. 

Leo Di Lioness also features in the song ©UNDP Sierra Leone/Helen Mayelle

The ‘Artists For Peace’ forum with whom the UN family in Sierra Leone has previously worked with on various projects especially around peacebuilding. “We want to emerge from the victorious side of this [COVID-19] fight and much more stronger to walk into a brighter future as a country” said Wahid, Team Leader of the group and a famous Sierra Leonean music artist well-known for his advocacy work on peace and development.