3
ICAP

2020 IMPACT REPORT

With The Power Of Music, ICAP Shares Lifesaving Information

In the early days of the COVID pandemic, Zimbabwe had low infection rates, and people knew very little about the rapid global spread of the virus. From experience with previous public education campaigns undertaken to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS, ICAP leadership knew that popular music has tremendous power to disseminate urgent public health messages in a highly accessible format, quickly reaching large numbers of people through radio and internet. With an eye on supporting containment of the virus, ICAP’s Wafaa El-Sadr reached out to the beloved Zimbabwean musician Albert Nyathi and commissioned a song about how people can protect themselves from infection by social distancing, frequent hand washing, and wearing masks.

With social distancing measures already in place in Zimbabwe’s capital where Nyathi and his fellow musician Dereck Mpofu lived, they were able to organize a group of talented local musicians to individually lay down tracks of lush instrumentation and soaring vocals without having to bring people together physically.  The separate tracks were then mixed to create Apart/Together—We Stand Strong Against COVID.  

Produced with incredible speed, the song was already on the airwaves by late April, launched through the artists’ social media and widely promoted online and through media coverage. Hoping that his music would empower people to protect their health, Nyathi said, “This song celebrates the power of the community to overcome a disease that is pushing us apart while it informs listeners of the steps they can take to protect themselves and their community from COVID-19.”

The commissioned song and an accompanying public education campaign was made possible by a generous philanthropic gift from business leader Dr. Bing Zhao. ICAP released “Apart/Together” accompanied by a video “slideshow” of ICAP-supported activities to respond to the pandemic.  These images were captured by young people living with HIV/AIDS who participate in an ICAP photography workshop that provides training and support.

In addition to the full-length version of “Apart/Together,” which contains lyrics in English, Shona, and Ndebele, the three major languages of Zimbabwe, Nyathi also produced a series of jingles in 10 regional languages to promote the song and the public health messages.

“We are so moved and inspired by this magnificent song, which is such a powerful tool for public health. We cannot imagine a more profound use of music than this.”

Wafaa El-Sadr

ICAP Global Director

Apart/Together is not Nyathi and Mpofu’s first time working with ICAP to put music in the service of public health. When ICAP launched its Population-based HIV Impact Assessment survey in Zimbabwe in 2016, they recorded the “Knock Knock” song, which encouraged the people of Zimbabwe to welcome survey field workers into their homes and participate in the survey. Recently, with a second ZIMPHIA survey underway to measure progress in the HIV response in the country, the “Knock Knock” song was put back on the airwaves, with some variation to suit the current survey.

ICAP has also used the innovative strategy of popular music to engage the public in other parts of the world in 2020.  In Myanmar, ICAP tapped popstars Phyu Phyu Kyaw Thein and Ar-T in Myanmar to produce I Will Move On to increase awareness of how medication can enable an HIV positive person to suppress and maintain their viral load at a point where it is no longer detectable, and importantly, no longer sexually transmissible. The message of their song is simple: Undetectable = Untransmittable, or U=U.  For people living with HIV, the song serves as a reminder that if they are consistent with their treatment, they can have long, healthy lives–and can prevent transmission to their intimate partners.  The song  and accompanying promotional activities join in the global “Undetectable = Untransmittable” (“U=U”) campaign, an effort to raise awareness about the efficacy of HIV medications for preventing sexual transmission of HIV spearheaded by the Prevention Access Campaign since 2016. The campaign is funded by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), through the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).   

While music can educate people how to take steps to protect themselves from illness, in both Myanmar and Zimbabwe ICAP teams are also focused on strengthening critical public health systems. “ICAP in Zimbabwe is well-positioned as the lead strategic information partner for the Ministry of Health and Child Care,” said Godfrey Musuka, ICAP’s country director in Zimbabwe. “The strong trust we have earned has enabled us to be a major player in the fight against COVID-19.”  

 

Section Title

  • Nunc ac urna ut libero accumsan pulvinar.
  • Nam lacinia nisi quis justo molestie, ut gravida massa congue.
  • Pellentesque lobortis nunc sit amet ornare ullamcorper.
  • Sed vehicula velit nec nunc volutpat auctor in eu ante.
  • Etiam eleifend nulla sit amet lectus laoreet ultricies.
  • Sed dapibus erat nec dictum bibendum.

Section Title

  • Nunc ac urna ut libero accumsan pulvinar.
  • Nam lacinia nisi quis justo molestie, ut gravida massa congue.
  • Pellentesque lobortis nunc sit amet ornare ullamcorper.
  • Sed vehicula velit nec nunc volutpat auctor in eu ante.
  • Etiam eleifend nulla sit amet lectus laoreet ultricies.
  • Sed dapibus erat nec dictum bibendum.