Tackling HIV/AIDS through music
Wednesday 10 March 2004


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ETHIOPIA: Tackling HIV/AIDS through music

©  IRIN/Anthony Mitchell

AIDS warning poster

ADDIS ABABA, 9 December (PLUSNEWS) - Some of Ethiopia’s best-known musicians have released a song to fight widespread stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV and AIDS.

The eight singers, who are among the country’s best-known vocalists, have collaborated to produce the hit which is currently being broadcast on radio and television.

The song - called Compassion in Modernity - and music video was composed by well-known Ethiopian poet Nebiy Mekonnen. Musicians Gosaye Tesfye, Tadele Roba, Michael Belayneh, Haile Tadesse, Tsednya Gebre Markos, Abdu Kiyar, Birhanu Tezera, and Abinet Agonfir all joined forces to sing.

“The singers feel that they have done nothing so far against AIDS,” said Assafa Gosaye of Admass Advertising who produced the song.

“People love these singers and respect them and the message is not so direct or aggressive,” he added, congratulating the artists for giving their time for free.

“The song will mobilise," he said. "The tone is very passionate and people will sing along with it naturally and then react accordingly.”

Although HIV/AIDS is not mentioned in the lyrics, they emphasis the importance of caring for each other.

“It works because it doesn’t say let's fight AIDS but rather sends the message in a poetic way,” says Assafa.

The project, the brainchild of anti-AIDS charity Family Health International (FHI), is part of the campaign to promote caring and compassion for people living with the virus.

Ethiopia has the third highest population living with HIV/AIDS and an estimated 200,000 children have been orphaned as a result.

FHI believes the song will help in its newly-launched “Compassion, Sensitivity and Tolerance” (CATS) campaign.

The theme of the campaign, which is in Amharic, is “Let’s talk about what we do and do what we talk about” and is focused on some of Addis Ababa’s highest risk groups.

“The campaign is targeted at out-of-school-youth, sex workers and taxi drivers, so we thought the best and most innovative way to get our message across was with a music video,” Francesca Stuer, FHI’s head, told PlusNews.



Recent ETHIOPIA Reports

Calls for greater youth involvement in anti-AIDS fight,  4/Mar/04
Botswana and Ethiopia to cooperate in fighting HIV/AIDS,  2/Mar/04
IRIN interview with anti-FGM activist Berhane Ras-Work,  9/Feb/04
First free treatment programme for AIDS patients launched,  29/Jan/04
Country Profile,  20/Jan/04


The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria
International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS
The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria
International HIV/AIDS Alliance

PlusNews does not take responsibility for info in links supplied.


PlusNews is produced under the banner of RHAIN, the Southern African Regional HIV/AIDS Information Network. RHAIN's members currently include:


  • IRIN

  • Inter Press Service (IPS)



  • Health Systems Trust

  • Health & Development

  • GTZ/Afronets

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