UN and artists use music to promote maternal health in Tanzania

9 February 2011

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has teamed up with a group of artists from the United States and Tanzania to raise awareness, through music, on the need to have better maternal health services in the East African nation, where deaths related to childbearing remain a serious challenge.

The collaboration, made possible with the help of the global network of artists known as MDGFive.com, just concluded a three-day music workshop with the production of a song calling for increased attention to maternal health in the country.

Goal number 5 of the eight globally agreed anti-poverty Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) calls for the reduction of maternal mortality deaths by three quarters, and the attainment of universal access to reproductive health services by the target date of 2015.

The music workshop featured MDGFive.com co-founders Emmy-winning filmmaker Lisa Russell and Grammy-winning singer Maya Azucena, and New York’s famous MC Okai, along with a group of Tanzanian stars, including Lady Jay Dee, Mzungu Kichaa, Mrisho Mpoto, FidQ, Sauda and Mama C.

The song produced at the end of the Arts and Advocacy workshop calls on world leaders to pay greater attention to the rights of women and girls, and urges the people of Tanzania to further empower, engage and encourage women as partners in development.

A short documentary film will also be produced featuring interviews with participating artists and maternal health representatives and highlighting the importance of uniting artists and activists around maternal health.

UNFPA believes that artists have an important role in shaping opinions, informing the public and advocating for positive change,” said Dr. Julitta Onabanjo, UNFPA’s representative in Tanzania.

“While the voices of the marginalized are often not heard, the voices of artists break boundaries and are heard by all, the young and old, community leaders and policy makers, opinion shapers and development practitioners,” she added.

 

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