'Stop the stigma' song launch!
Kenyan musician Kwame performing the
'Stop the Stigma' song during the opening
ceremony of ICASA Conference in
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
ACORD, in partnership with the renowned Kenyan artist Kwame, has launched its first song Stop the Stigma, in Addis Ababa, during the 16th ICASA Conference on 4th December 2011. The song denounces stigma and discrimination against Hard to Reach communities and vulnerable minority groups including people living with HIV, sexual and ethnic minorities, sexually abused women, people with disability, refugees among others.
During the performance, a significant crowd quickly gathered around the stage at the Village Community Hall, dancing and singing the chorus 'Stop the stigma / Non au stigma!'. The song was greatly appreciated and the audience asked for a repeat that was performed with a full-of-energy crowd dancing on stage with Kwame!
After the performance, broadcasted live on Ethiopian television, numerous live testimonies acknowledged that stigma is indeed HIV silent weapon and together WE MUST STOP IT! The song has also been performed during the SafAIDS (Southern Africa HIV and AIDS Information Dissemination Service) launch of the toolkit for HIV and gender-based violence prevention for people identified as Lesbians, Gays, Bi-sexuals, Trans-sexuals an Intra-sexuals (LGBTI). There was also high-level attendance notably by the President of the Society for AIDS in Africa, Aids Fonds, Sida, HIVOS, UKaid, UNAIDS, LGBTI people, civil society among others. The enthusiasm expressed towards the song was very encouraging and many participants agreed to promote the song within their own organisations and partners.
Another performance was held at the Satellite session organised by Africagay contre le SIDA (Gay African People against HIV and AIDS, a french non profit coalition) in association with UNAIDS and the french NGO AIDES, gathering 300 people including the Honourable Mr Richard Burzynski, special advisor to Michel Sidibe, UNAIDS executive director. Also present were Mr Hassen Hanini, advocate to the Tunisian CCM representing vulnerable populations, Dr Ying-Ru Lo, prevention coordinator at the World Health Organisation's HIV and AIDS department, Mr Parfait Behen, President of the Association Alternatives Cameroun and Prof. Abdelaziz Tadjeddine, President of the Association Protection contre le SIDA in Algeria. 'Stop the stigma' was universally praised and cheered and all agreed to promote it online with a view to encouraging debate around stigma and discrimination.
Stop the Stigma!
While speaking to the crowd in attendance, musician Kwame emphasised that: "We can end stigma, but it begins with openness, the courage to speak out. Everyone should teach tolerance, respect, and understanding. Governments, religious leaders, and media should use their influence to advocate social change. I believe that stigma and discrimination will continue to exist so long as society as a whole has a poor understanding and acceptance of marginalised people, the pain and the suffering caused by negative attitudes and discriminatory practices. Stigma and discrimination exist worldwide and as an artist, I want to spread the message across using ‘Stop the Stigma' song, from the community level to the rest of the world." Stigma is not the cure, togetherness is the answer!''.
The song will be launched in Kenya and other countries soon. We invite you to share this song with all your friends and networks, and let us know if we could partner further to disseminate the song in your own country! Together we can stop the stigma!
Listen to the song here...and the video clip to be released soon!
ACORD team and Kwame at the Village Community stand. Stigma is HIV silent weapon...
say no to exclusion! Stop the stigma.