Listen mi COVID-19

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Listen mi COVID-19

ListenMi News partners with Red Cross on pandemic message

BY RICHARD JOHNSON
Observer senior reporter
johnsonr@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, May 06, 2020

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International aid organisation, The Red Cross, has partnered with Jamaican “edutainment” platform ListenMi News, to help spread vital information regarding the current COVID-19 pandemic.

ListenMi News, the brainchild of Roshaun “Bay-C” Clarke of the dancehall quartet T.O.K, has produced a song and the accompanying music video aimed at educating people of the dos and don'ts during the current health crisis. This is being utilised by Red Cross Jamaica, the wider Caribbean and indeed globally through the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in its public education efforts.

“We were just inspired to use the ListenMi News brand as a conduit to share some some messaging during this situation. So I reached out to a number of agencies and the Red Cross responded saying they were interested in partnering to create an educational tool to inspire behaviour change,” Clarke told the Jamaica Observer.

The song and music video done in the style of a television news broadcast stresses all the protocols being encouraged by the relevant authorities to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus. This includes, proper hygiene, social distancing, as well as looking out for the vulnerable among us.

“The truth is people are scared,” Clarke noted.

“There is a lot of fake news out there and because of this persons are coming away with a lot of misconceptions.We wanted to put this vital information in a format that was easy to listen to, but impactful at the same time due to its inclusive approach,” he added.

Kevin Douglas,who is the disaster management specialist with the Jamaica Red Cross, expressed his pleasure in utilising this communication tool.

“We are excited about the partnership and we are more than happy to champion this project because it resonates perfectly with the Red Cross principles of humanity and impartiality in addressing the issue of stigma and discrimination, which many people face amidst the COVID-19 pandemic,” Douglas said

Walter Cotte, IFRC regional director for the Americas said he is proud of the work of the Red Cross in reaching people with public health messages.

“It is incredibly important to recognise the dedication and courage of Red Cross volunteers. We stand with you and we look to expand our support so that you have the resources to reach all those who are impacted by COVID-19 and need your help,” said Cotte.

Clarke shared that his ListenMi News format has been utilised by a number of corporate entities in Jamaica and the region to help spread vital messages. His client list includes Scotiabank, The University of the West Indies, Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), as well as a number of schools, particularly during their Heritage Week observances.

The ListenMi News platform was born in October of 2013 out of an observation that young people were not getting vital information as they were not listening to the news on traditional news sources. In addition to working with various organisations, ListenMi News is also available online. The feature is also set to make a return to local television.

“What we do is basically present the news using music. I found that young people were not watching the news as they found the presentation style mundane. So what we do is designed to create memorable messages using music and visuals. So I basically deejay the news with a twist and make it impactful. Music is a powerful medium. Just look at how we remember our ABCs utilising music. The product has evolved and is now that effective service tool for organisations like the Red Cross in spreading their message,” said Clarke.


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