Kenya’s top musicians teamed up to raise awareness about HIV and the eQuest contest. Listen to the song (4.5 MB MP3).
Song by top Kenyan musicians, mobile phone contest help youth discover facts about HIV and AIDS
Even the VIP with the PhD
can get an STD then D-I-E from AIDS.
Slow death feeling no breath in a slow process.
Two hundred lives less
So if you want to stay better stay away
from S-E-X period to survive the day.
—from “Vumilia: Take Control,” by Attitude, Bamboo, Doobiez, Jua Cali, Mercy Myra, Nonini, and Tattuu.
Kenya’s top hip-hop musicians came together to write and record a song to bring awareness to issues related to HIV and AIDS for young people. The song, entitled “Vumilia: Take Control,” encourages young people to think about their behaviors and their relationships in order to protect themselves against HIV. It promotes abstinence, being faithful, using condoms, and making healthy choices.
“I wanted to record a song that was about HIV and AIDS awareness but in a different format,” says popular musician Nonini, “We didn’t want to be like parents telling young people don’t do this. By listening to the song, they get the message. It’s a fun song you could listen to at a party. They can sing along and there’s humor, but they will keep the message in their brain—they can’t forget it easily.”
“Vumilia” was recorded to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS and eQuest, a nationwide, mobile phone–based contest for young people. Because youth ages 15 to 24 experience more than half of all new HIV infections in Kenya, PATH implemented eQuest throughout Kenya with funding from the Vodafone Group Foundation through the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
The objective of the contest, which ran from April 23 to June 27, 2005, was to engage youth in discussions about HIV and AIDS. With this effort, PATH took text messaging to new heights by encouraging young Kenyans to seek information they need to protect themselves and others.
Contestants received questions about HIV and AIDS on their mobile phones, looked for the answers in a special eQuest column printed in the newspaper, and then sent in their answers by text message. Questions were focused on HIV prevention, living with HIV, stigma, voluntary counseling and testing, and care and support for individuals living with HIV. The contest was linked to youth role models and personalities in music, sports, politics, and entertainment. Contestants who submitted correct answers had the opportunity to win hundreds of prizes, including airtime, t-shirts, mobile phones, computers, DVD players, and a home theater system.
More than 120,000 people throughout Kenya participated in the national eQuest contest. This national effort built upon a successful contest first rolled out regionally, on the coast of Kenya, where more than 20,000 young people participated and 356 contestants won prizes. Every participant won increased knowledge of HIV and AIDS—a prize that could save their life.