Music for youth action against COVID-19

23 September 2020

Music is a universal language that transcends linguistic and territorial barriers. Through music, we are united and inspired, even in the most difficult of times.  

As people in Bangladesh and around the world cope with the sorrows and anxieties brought forth by COVID-19, UNFPA and Gaan Bangla, Bangladesh’s popular music channel, decided to harness this unifying power of music to inspire youth to take action against the ongoing pandemic. 

On 4 September 2020, the organizations jointly held a virtual musical event called “Music for Youth Action”. The event involved performances by six of Bangladesh’s most famous musicians - Hamin Ahmed, Balam, Parvez, Xefer, Oyshee and Tashfee - interspersed with discussions on the ways youth can help combat COVID-19 and ensure the wellbeing of themselves and others during the crisis.

“There are small things that every young person can do that can make a huge difference in the time of COVID-19”, UNFPA Deputy Representative, Dr. Eiko Narita, said during her opening remarks to the event. She mentioned that advocating mask-wearing, breaking stigma about mental health issues and sharing accurate information, are important actions that all youth can take to make everyone safer during the pandemic.

UNFPA Deputy Representative, Dr. Eiko Narita, delivered the opening remarks of the event

While youth may not be considered most at risk from COVID-19, they still face a variety of challenges because of the pandemic. Uncertain employment prospects, delays in education and rising tensions at the household place a heavy burden on the mental and physical health of youth in Bangladesh, and around the world.

Despite these difficulties, youth have shown remarkable courage, resilience and creativity in the face of the crisis. Through volunteerism and advocacy, they have played a key role in the crisis response and crucially contributed to the maintenance of life-saving services. 

The event that reached over 65,000 people, celebrated the therapeutic power of music during times of distress. Many of the artists who performed at the event expressed how music has brought them comfort with the uncertainty of the current times and encouraged youth to turn to it to cope with stress and anxiety.

As the United Nations faces the biggest challenge it has faced since its founding, UNFPA looks forward to new opportunities to use music to help forge the united front and empower youth to overcome this crisis.