One of the most potent tools used against the contraction and spreading of malaria, especially in places where there just isn't the infrastructure or money for other options (such as adequate sewage systems), is education. Normalizing the use of netting, purchasing said nets, water safety instruction, and encouraging those who are ill to immediately see a doctor does tremendous work to cutting down infection rates.
The song (and accompanying video, beautifully shot and educational) is a wonder. The message is vital but besides that the song is a jam; the kids are adorable, the production of both song and video perfect, and the fantastic performances by both the kids and the more established luminaries, make the video eminently re-watchable. Which is exactly the point. The goal was to give a voice to the kids and empower them. About a year ago, Angelique's brother, Dah Kidjo (Director of the CIAMO School), emailed me and Sarah a rough acoustic demo of a song that the school's music teacher Sim D'Souza had written with the students. The song's beautiful melody and the kid's voices immediately captured my attention."
"We took all of those tracks to Benin expecting to record the children's chorus but were surprised to find the kids from CIAMO had learned all the rhythm section parts so we recorded more bass, drums and rhythm with the Ahouansou Family Band (the kids playing in the beginning of the video). And we recorded the CIAMO kids choir at the CIAMO School in Ouidah (and also shot the video while we were in Benin too).
Finally, I wanted to know how others could get involved. Jon says, "At this point it's an awareness campaign that is targeted to the most vulnerable communities in Benin. With help from UNICEF, the Peace Corps, USAID, and local health agencies in Benin, the song is currently being shared throughout the country via radio, TV, online and soon there will be ringtones distributed locally for free via cell phone providers." And Sarah says, "The goal is to work with our partners to scale up the project to not only create awareness about malaria treatment and prevention across Africa but to again bring attention and support from the rest of the world to be part of the voice to end this crippling disease. Proceeds generated from the song and any donations made via the website "kidsagainstmalaria.org" will go directly to 3 organizations: UN Nothing But Nets Foundation, Harvard T.H. Chan Defeat Malaria Research Initiative and CIAMO School of Art & Music in Ouidah."
In the words of Angélique Kidjo: "I am a great believer in music as being the ultimate weapon to break silence and to move things forward. 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.