Today Kaka Empire and UNICEF Kenya have entered into an innovative new partnership to end AIDS among adolescents, the Tunakula Life Na Adabu (Live Life, Responsibly) initiative.
The initiative is aimed at stepping up efforts in supporting adolescents and young people to better understand HIV risk and improve care and support for those already living with the virus.
The partnership has been launched against new data which shows that 51% of all new adult HIV infections are among 15 to 24 year olds. Of Kenya’s 1.5 million people living with HIV, nearly 20 percent are between 15-24 years.
Kaka Empire and UNICEF are partnering to effectively reach vulnerable adolescents and young people who are at risk of infection or are living with HIV. Despite the many medical advances around HIV testing and treatment, in many instances, it is the stigma which hinders progress and prevents young people from knowing their HIV status or enrolling into HIV treatment.
Kaka Empire and UNICEF Kenya will roll out a number of activities that will use music, social media and workshops to get adolescents and young people talking, thinking and acting to celebrate life and live responsibly.
“I am happy now that I am a messenger and through UNICEF I will be able to take the message across to so many people worldwide. We have all been affected by HIV, we know someone who is living with HIV, a friend knows someone who knows someone. We should be able to talk about it and encourage others to speak openly,” says King Kaka.
“UNICEF has helped me learn more about HIV and AIDS there is so much I did not know. Now that I am in a position to influence others, I want to use this platform to show others that HIV does not kill it is the stigma that kills. Just because someone is living with HIV does not mean they are any different from us. I feel very good that I am part of the vehicle that is bringing change,” says Timmy Tdat.
“I know more about HIV and AIDS and I am confident I can pass the message to more people out there. People need to know these things sometimes we are a bit ignorant of what is going on while the information is readily available. I am happy I am the face of change,” says Owago Onyiro.
“I feel great that I am part of a wonderful initiative such as this one. I am thankful that I am in a position to pass on information to the youth, I have learnt so much,” Says Femi One.
Werner Schultink, UNICEF Kenya Representative, says ”UNICEF is excited to be partnering with Kaka Empire and their talented artistes in this new communication initiative to change the conversation about HIV, adolescents and young people in Kenya. Through the power of music and social media, UNICEF together with our partners, including the National AIDS Control Council and UNAIDS aim to make a lasting difference to end AIDS among adolescents and young people.”
Kaka Empire is a Kenyan artiste management label that manages King Kaka, Avril Femi One, Owago Onyiro, Timmy Tdat, DJ Jr and DJ Leqs.