Mr. Ousman Joof, Executive Director, Washington West African Center.

After successfully  releasing the official audio of the Covid Vaccine theme song “Traditional version” in June this, year”, Washington West African Center,  formerly Gambian Talents Promotion on Monday,  October 4th 2021 release the official music video of the same song that was produced 4 months ago dedicating it to the late Tata Dinding Jobarteh,  one of the Gambia’s finest traditional historian, vocalist and Kora player.

In April 2021, GTP/WAWAC received support from Washington Department of Health and All-in-Washinton to take part in the Covid 19 Vaccine sensitization. GTP employed several strategies including the use of music. We collaborated with over twenty different top Gambian artists including Jaliba Kuyateh the King of Kora, female vocalist Sambou Susso, and the recently deceased Tata Dinding Jobarteh to produce 2 theme songs that will be used to educate The Gambians and West Africans in Washington about the importance of taking the Covid-19 Vaccine.

 

The much anticipated song  features 12 Traditional  artists singing in 7 different languages on themes like  Vaccine hesitancy,  myths and misconceptions about the COVID-19 vaccine as well as the facts and benefits of the vaccine etc. 
It is important to note that this is the last song and video that Tata Dinding Jobarteh recorded and even though he listened to the song,  he looked so much forward to seeing the music video.  Unfortunately,  he never lived to see it.

 

Since a lot of people react better to things they see than what they hear,  GTP/WAWAC deems it necessary to take the project further by working on this wonderful music video that would be shared on all the WAWAC social media plattforms as well as other ethnic and social media partners of WAWAC.
With this, WAWAC anticipates to reach thirty percent more people than they have reached with just the audio, thereby leading to more people from the community getting vaccinated.

It is important to note that a lot of efforts and logistics  were put into producing this music video as it features over twelve different artists who live at different places and choreographed dance moves by Flex Fusion Dance group.

After much hard-work and coordination, the video that was shot by GTTV and edited by Ousman Sayeed Jarjue was released on Monday  October 4th, 2021.

In a press statement, Pa Ousman Joof, the Executive Director of the Washington West African Center  extends his condolences to the family of the late Tata Dinding Jobarteh,  one of the artists featured in the song. “Whenever I listen to the song now, I have a sweet-sour feeling. My mine always goes to the last conversation I had with Tata Dinding shortly after the crew shot his part of the music video.  He thanked me for inviting and giving him a platform to do what he should have already been doing which is enlightening people.  He told me I was making his job easier. He told me how much he loved the song and looked forward to seeing the music video.  I promised to send it to him once it is edited. Unfortunately,  Tata is no more with us. For this reason,  we dedicate the video to him”. Echoes Mr. Joof.

Highlighting the progress made by his organization in bridging the health disparity/gap and providing health equity to his community, Pa Ousman Joof said.  “I thank God a lot for this. We have been working really hard since the vaccine became available to see to it that our community members are also vaccinated. Not only are we providing the education for our people.  We are also advocating for health equity especially in Snohomish County. We sit on the table with the law and policy makers and tell them our community’s concerns and needs. That is what led to this efforts. We apply different strategies to “Spread the Covid Vaccine word” in our community.  We have already produced 2 theme songs featuring  over 20 artists singing in different local languages, we produced 6 Skits by famous comedians and other video testimonies by different community and religious leaders who have already been vaccinated.” We provide gift cards, interpretation and translation services, food and  transportation to community members  who want to get vaccinated and are facing challenges.”

The WAWAC ED also explained the efforts put into the production of the songs and video. ” It took a lot of efforts, time, money and logistics to coordinate over 20 artists to do 2 songs. I had a  lot of sleepless nights trying to coordinate with the stakeholders in Gambia.  I’m glad to see the end results” Said Mr. Joof,   while assuring that the music video for the “Afro-fusion” version will follow soon.

Pa Ousman thanks  all his partners who were involved in the project especially the artists Jaliba Kuyateh, the late Tata Dinding Jobarteh (RIP) who never lived  to see the last music video he appeared in, Sambou Susso,  Amie Sosseh,  Sora Jali,  Neneh Jali Suso,  Alieu Badara of Humanity Starz, Barhama Cham,  Fafa Mbye, Dave Ndow, Pa Mboop,  Jah Cause,  Bobo Dimo and the producer Tara of Xalam Studios. He also thanks the instrumentalists and musicians who played the music , the likes of Sheikh Tijan, Dave Tama, Aboubacarr,  Jali Matar Sosseh and Kebba Taylor respectively.

Mr. Joof finally thanks The Gambians  and West Africans in Washinton for trusting WAWAC to connect them with local resources and bridge the gap between them and the wider community.  He extends a special gratitude to WAWAC’S  partners including Washington Department of Health, All in Washington, Snohomish County Vaccine Task Force Committee, Group Health Foundation whose financial,  technical and moral support made it easy for his institution to be able to carry out this project.
To expand on this project, GTP/WAWAC is also excited to reveal that they have produced 7 new songs in 8 major languages spoken in most West African countries including Yoruba, Bambara, Housa, Serahuli, French, Ibo, Fula and Jola. According to the WAWAC ED,  these songs will also be released before the end of October.  

WAWAC! connecting West Africans in Washington with local resources and bridge the gap between us and the wider community. If we don’t have it, we go find it. 
And remember! Covid 19 is real and does not discriminate.  If you have not been vaccinated yet, try to do so now as it has become  a requirement at most places.  
Click on the link below to watch the videohttps://youtu.be/67gAEyZNmCE

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Mr. Sainey M.K. Marenah is a Prominent Gambian journalist, founding editor The Alkamba Times and formerly head of communications at the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) and Communications and PR Consultant for The Gambia Pilot Program, under Gamworks. Mr. Marenah served as the Social media Strategist and Editor at Gambia Radio and Television Services. He is also the Banjul Correspondent for Voice of America Radio. Sainey is a human rights and developmental journalist who has carved a strong niche particularly in new media environments in the Gambian media industry. Mr. Marenah began his career as a junior reporter with the Point Newspaper in the Gambia in 2008 and rose through the ranks to become Chief correspondent before moving to The Standard Newspaper also in Banjul as Editorial Assistant and head of News. He is a household name in the Gambia’s media industry having covered some of the most important stories in the former and current government. These include the high profile treason cases including the Trial of Former military chiefs in Banjul in 2009 to 2012. Following his arrest and imprisonment by the former regime of President, Yahya Jammeh in 2014, Marenah moved to Dakar Senegal where he continues to practice Journalism freelancing for various local and international Media organization’s including the BBC, Al-Jazeera, VOA, and ZDF TV in Germany among others. He is the co-Founder of the Banjul Based Media Center for Research and Development; an institution specialized in research and development undertakings. As a journalist and Communication Expert, focused on supporting the Gambia's transitional process, Mr Marenah continues to play a pivotal role in shaping a viable media and communications platform that engages necessary tools and action to increase civic participation and awareness of the needs of transitional governance to strengthen the current move towards democratization. Mr. Marenah has traveled extensively as a professional journalist in both Europe, Africa and United States and attended several local and international media trainings.

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