This week, David Guetta, Usher, and Taio Cruz, together with the United Nations Foundation, launched a 5-minute film that tells the story behind the headlines and urges people to help hundreds of thousands of families affected by the food crisis in West Africa’s Sahel region. The film was produced in collaboration with the United Nations (UN) Office of Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and urges viewers to support the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF).
The film, scored with the Guetta, Usher and Taio Cruz hit song “Without You,” is available on Guetta’s VEVO channel
The artists and the song’s writers, publishers and music labels donated the track to the UN Foundation for use in the short video.
“Music is a powerful way to bring people together,” said Guetta. “And together, we can help the people of the Sahel help themselves. The video shows how hard the families are willing to work to support each other. Lending our support in a time of drought is the least we can do.”
Recurring food crises due to drought, poor harvests and spikes in global food prices have pushed millions of people in nine countries in the Sahel to the edge of survival. This year more than 10 million face hunger across Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, The Gambia, Mauritania, Nigeria and Senegal. People fleeing their homes because of the conflict in northern Mali have also put additional pressure on scarce resources in the region.
“We are each a part of one global community and it is crucial that we use our voices to shine a light on the issues affecting those around us,” said Usher. “The families and children of the Sahel are suffering from hunger and are in need of our help - it is time to lend a hand.”
“We must continue to raise awareness to help people in the Sahel countries cope with the current food crisis and at the same time strengthen their ability to face future droughts,” said UN Humanitarian Chief Valerie Amos. “We are grateful to David Guetta, Usher and Taio Cruz for lending their voices and talent to this cause.”
The film combines the power of storytelling and cross-cultural connections with the universality of music to show the impact of the crisis on one family living on the outskirts of Niger’s capital, Niamey. The story is told through the eyes of young Australian siblings, Georgina and William Lewis. It follows 18-year-old Ali Koba and his father Abdoulaye, who are grappling with the effects of drought and struggling to feed their family because their farm has not yielded any crops.
“When I heard about this family, my immediate reaction was ‘what can I do to help?’” said Guetta, a father of two. “I just thought about what it would be like if I did not have enough food to feed my family, so I decided to lend my voice and ask people to help spread the word by watching and sharing the video.”
Taio Cruz added that he wanted to create a song that represented the strength of love and courage. “I am so honoured to know that this song is being used in such a positive way to help bring light to an incredibly worthy cause.”
UN agencies and humanitarian partners have appealed for over US$1.6 billion this year to provide life-saving aid and help people in the Sahel region rebuild their lives, but have only received 5 percent of the funding so far.
“UN agencies, the U.S. government and nongovernmental organizations have been working together with governments in the Sahel region to address this urgent humanitarian crisis and build a better future,” said UN Foundation President and CEO Kathy Calvin. “Everyone can play a role in helping these institutions do their best work to support the affected families and individuals, and we believe this video will inspire thousands to learn more, share with their friends, and take action.”
The video asks viewers to help families in the Sahel by donating to CERF. Donations can be made in two ways: worldwide, funds can be contributed via www.sahelcrisis.org and people in the U.S. can also text “CERF” to “90999” to give US$5. Donations go directly to humanitarian projects that provide families with emergency aid.