Kids Against Malaria
Can one song stop the spread of a deadly disease? The Kids against Malaria hope so.
Every 2 minutes a child in Africa dies from malaria, a completely preventable disease. The illness is spread by mosquito bite, via the blood parasite Plasmodium. The easiest, and most efficient, way to prevent this is to provide families with a long-lasting insecticide treated net to sleep under. One net lasts about 3 years and costs $2.50. Each year, an estimated 219 million people are infected with malaria, causing approximately 600,000 deaths – mostly children under the age of five. In Africa, there are 10 new cases of malaria every second.
The statistics are mind-blowing. So much so, that award winning humanitarian, educator and filmmaker Sarah DuPont, could no longer sit back and watch this happen to the people and country she cared so much about. In 2010, Sarah, along with Gigi Hancock, wife of Herbie Hancock, cofounded CIAMO, an arts and music school based in Benin, West Africa. As such, she fell in love with the community and its children.
This summer, Sarah partnered with Jon Fine, producer, instrumentalist, and songwriter, to see how they could educate people worldwide and help Africa battle this deadly disease. Jon, who is also a sought after filmmaker and musician who has worked with Herbie Hancock, Kaki King, Soulive, Bill Withers, and Andre 3000, was equally as passionate about the cause as Sarah. Wanting to make both an impact and a statement, Jon and Sarah tasked the children of CIAMO to write their own song about malaria. They were then lucky enough to get African national treasure, and Grammy award winning world music artist, Angélique Kidjo to participate. From there, the project took on a life of its own, as artists, organizations, filmmakers and corporations came together in support to launch "Kids Against Malaria," a multi-language musical project focusing on malaria treatment and prevention.
The children from the CIAMO school became the “voice” to create awareness and promote solutions so that the word could spread quickly, and most importantly, musically. A team of Beninoise and internationally acclaimed musicians and filmmakers worked alongside the students to produce a multi-media musical film that promotes current informational and solution based content about malaria. From downloads, to music videos, to ringtones, to educational videos, to social media initiatives and more, all monies earned on this project will benefit CIAMO School of Music (for arts education), the UN Nothing But Nets Foundation (for purchase of Nets) and the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health Malaria Initiative (for malaria Research).
“I am a great believer in music as being the ultimate weapon to break silence and to move (things) forward,” says Angélique Kidjo, who in 2013 was dubbed "Africa's greatest living diva" by National Public Radio. “You hear the joy the children have in singing this song. It is about time we really tackle the eradication of malaria in this world.”
Articulates co-producer Sarah DuPont, “As the co-founder of CIAMO, I became intrigued with the idea of empowering our kids to use the arts to create their own musical voice against the most virulent killers of children today - malaria. The Kids against Malaria project showcases our greatest abilities as humans to create beauty, problem solve and work together for a safer and better world. “
Jon Fine adds, “Sarah and I talked about ways to amplify the student’s message. We were thrilled when Angélique Kidjo jumped on board to reimagine the song and film with the students. To produce Kids Against Malaria, we brought together a remarkable team from Benin, the USA and France. With support from the US Embassy in Benin, USAID, The State Department, UNICEF and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) we refined and shaped narrative of the video, designing a message that works on radio, TV and online. This message is urgent, despite fading from the headlines; we must keep the fight against malaria high on the international agenda. This is a disease that we can beat.”
For more on Kids Against Malaria, to watch both the English & French version of the music video, and a behind-the-scenes “making of the video,” please visits Kidsagainstmalaria.com.