Saturday, 24 November 2007
Rocky Dawuni, Ghana’s reggae star, has joined the Red Campaign, an initiative to mobilise support to improve the welfare of victims of HIV/AIDS in Africa.
Through this association, the reggae superstar has been touring the country and other parts of Africa using his music to arouse public awareness in the disease and the need for increased support for the victims.
"One of the cornerstones of my artistic vision has been the importance of using my artistic voice as a viable tool for social change and development," he told reporters in Accra at the end of a tour of some hospitals and HIV/AIDS projects across the country.
As an ambassador of Red, Rocky will use his music to mobilise support for Red, financiers of the Global Fund that disburses monies for HIV/AIDS initiatives across the globe.
Red, which has become an international trademark, is a concept developed by a group of businessmen and musicians in the United States about two years ago, to mobilise resources to finance the Global Fund set up by the United Nations in support of HIV/AIDS initiatives.
As part of the concept, all signatory companies to Red allocate portions of their profits to the Global Fund, implying that individuals who access the service or products of such companies indirectly contribute to the fund.
Ghana has more than 300,000 people living with HIV including 180,000 women and 22,000 children. In the last 20 years, 1.2 million Ghanaian children have been orphaned as a result of HIV/AIDS.
In Ghana, Red money is supporting Global Fund-financed programmes which aim to increase the number of people living with HIV and AIDS on antiretroviral treatment from 2,500 to 35,000, reduce the transmission of HIV from mother to child from 30 per cent to 15 per cent, increase the number of people accessing voluntary counselling and testing services from seven per cent of the population to 30 per cent, increase the number of sites providing services for treatment of opportunistic infections from four to 138 and integrate HIV and TB prevention, care and support activities in 110 districts all by 2010.
Rocky says he first heard of Red last year while in Los Angeles and was immediately drawn to its promise of sustainability in the fight against AIDS.
"Being from Ghana, I have had a direct experience as to how disease, poverty and inaccessibility to treatments are devastating, and I will continue to support Red as far as I believe the concept is beneficial to society," he promised.
The Red model, which is also supporting local African artists and artisans, he believes , provides a blueprint to promote local commerce while also fighting poverty.
He said the energy and promise of Red in converting corporate responsibilities into strengthening Africa, resonated in him during his last Independence Splash concert on March 6.
"It is my belief that, as we help transform lives through conscious and purposeful actions we end up transforming ourselves," he said.
Rocky is already partnering UNICEF and the Carter Center to spread the critical message of clean water and sanitation as part of activities marking Ghana’s Independence Golden jubilee.