SEATTLE, Washington — As COVID-19 continues to impact the globe, some organizations have launched celebrity storytelling campaigns as a means to raise money for various charities that are working to ameliorate the effects of the virus and to boost morale.
Celebrity Storytelling Campaigns
Yahoo has joined forces with the GEANCO Foundation, a group operating within Nigeria, to provide medical aid to develop “STOR14S”, a 14-part podcast presenting actors reading children’s books. The series began on June 18, 2020 and will culminate on August 3. It was designed to provide educational entertainment to kids and parents stuck at home during COVID-19. The series is available on Yahoo and all podcast platforms. Actors that have taken part in the campaign so far include Russell Brand, Zoe Saldana, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Benedict Cumberbatch.
Funds generated by “STOR14S” will go directly to the GEANCO Foundation. The foundation has played a vital role in COVID-19 relief and aid within Nigeria. This includes providing medical personnel with updated training and donating medical equipment to maternity centers in the country. As of July 1, Nigeria has 25,694 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 15,358 active cases and 590 deaths. Nigeria has the second most confirmed cases in sub-Saharan Africa, behind South Africa.
How COVID-19 Affects the Poor
Poor, developing countries tend to have a large deficit of healthcare workers. Statistics from 2017 indicate that the U.S. has 26.12 physicians per 10,000 people. In Nigeria, statistics showed 3.81 physicians per 10,000 people. On top of this, the poor are at a higher risk of developing illnesses due to improper sanitation, lack of adequate nutrition as well as various other factors.
It is clear to see that poverty affects the ability of countries to care for those with COVID-19. In Nigeria, 70% of the population lives below the poverty line. According to WaterAid, 57 million people in Nigeria do not have access to clean water. Additionally, 71% of the population does not have access to improved sanitation facilities. Nigeria is also very densely populated, making it easier for the virus to spread.
Other Storytelling Campaigns
Actresses Jennifer Garner and Amy Adams have launched a campaign similar to “STOR14S” called “Save with Stories”. Public figures such as Kate Winslet, Jamie Lee Curtis, Donnie Yen, Taye Diggs and Ayesha Curry have participated in the campaign by reading children’s stories. Proceeds from the campaign go to Save the Children, a globally-operating children’s humanitarian aid organization.
Over 1.7 billion children worldwide were affected by school closures as a result of COVID-19. Those living in poverty are less likely to have access to distance learning materials and may be left without caregivers. Needless to say, the number of children living in poverty is on the rise. Save the Children is working to “help children in unsafe households, help protect and prepare doctors and health clinics in refugee camps and help support distance learning in the face of school closures.”
These celebrity storytelling campaigns are creatively utilizing celebrity platforms to raise funds for those affected by COVID-19. As the pandemic continues, it is of utmost importance to recognize how those living in poverty are disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
– Elizabeth Davis