Unicef has named local reggae artist Sangie, real name Angel Mbekeani, as its ambassador whose main role will be to promote children’s welfare by encouraging them to stay in school.
Her role will also seek to help end child marriages.
Unicef Malawi representative Johannes Wedenig said his organisation is delighted to have the musician’s support in its advocacy of preventing violence against children, ending child marriages and keeping girls in school, among others.
“We are excited to welcome Sangie into the Unicef team, where she will advocate on behalf of Malawi’s most vulnerable children. Her passion and energy are inspiring. We look forward to an exciting partnership and to see her continue to raise the voices of young people she reaches with her music and her story,” he said.
Wedenig said in Malawi about half of the population are children and many of them are faced with challenges that no child should have to deal with such as poverty, violence, early marriage and dropping out of school.
“Again, almost 50 percent of children drop out before completing primary school and only 14 percent complete secondary school. 47 percent of girls are married before the age of 18 and this is where Sangie comes in,” Wedenig said during the unveiling ceremony of the artist at Chatuwa Primary School in Lilongwe.
Sangie was selected after Facebook and U-Report Malawi polls named her the most inspiring female celebrity for teenage girls.
“Respondents said she is a successful, inspiring celebrity with a positive personal life story,” reads a statement from Unicef Malawi in part.
On her part, Sangie said she hopes to use music and her passion to bring positive change for young people in Malawi.
“I believe that a nation’s progress is defined by how well its citizens are empowered; particularly children, the youth and women,” she said.
Sangie said she will stand with fellow women, girls, children, youth and people with disabilities, to advocate for an end to gender-based violence and promote access to education.
“As an artist, I feel that I can make a difference,” she said.
Sangie, who has been active in several campaigns to promote girls’ education and end gender-based violence, joins fellow musician Fredokiss who was appointed a Unicef Malawi Champion for Children in February 2018.
Unicef ‘Champions for Children’ are prominent individuals from the arts, entertainment, sport or other fields of public life who contribute to raising awareness of children’s rights.