Singing hope and peace for children and young people in West and Central Africa

UNICEF artist ambassadors Zeynab Abib, Smarty and Toofan pool their talents in a new song for children and youth in the region

20 December 2022

Listen to the song and watch the video clip here.

DAKAR/COTONOU/LOME/OUAGADOUGOU, 21 December 2022 – Committed to supporting African youth, UNICEF's national ambassadors Zeynab Abib of Benin, Smarty of Burkina Faso and the group Toofan of Togo have joined forces in a new song and video to encourage children and young people to keep hope alive in the face of the challenges facing West and Central Africa and to mobilize to build a better future together for the continent.

Working together over several days in Lomé, Togo, to compose and record the song and video, the artists, who were collaborating together for the first time, wanted to share a message of hope and peace with children and young people in the region, encouraging them to believe in themselves and in their ability to unite to act positively for the common interest.

“With what we represent, it's important to carry a strong message. We are doing this with UNICEF for the youth of our continent, each for our countries and at the same time all together. We have to awaken the youth and especially tell them that beyond dancing to our song, we can pass on messages; it is very important. We’re proud of the result. We hope it can bring a smile to children,” said Zeynab Abib.

“We are all in the same spirit. It's always the same energy, there’s a very good atmosphere,” said Master Just of Toofan.

“It's always been a good thing to be close to our little brothers and sisters, it's very important for us. This has been a four-year adventure with UNICEF, and I hope this is just the beginning, with Smarty, Zeynab and the others,” said Barabas of Toofan.

“It is a new experience for me to work with Zeynab and Toofan. I am happy to be with them in the same cause. With the challenges facing the region, it is essential to be together to give hope and energy so that children and young people are mobilised to build the vibrant and peaceful Africa of tomorrow,” said Smarty.

In West and Central Africa, particularly in the central Sahel, the combined effects of several factors including increased insecurity, climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic are having a devastating impact on the survival, protection, education and development of children. Insecurity is now spreading beyond the borders of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger to previously unscathed Benin, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea and Togo.

“The challenges in the region are many, but so are the opportunities,” said Marie-Pierre Poirier, UNICEF Regional Director for West and Central Africa. “The region has immense potential, especially with its youth. Enabling children and young people to have a voice and be agents of change for a better Africa for future generations is therefore essential. We need to mobilise all those who are willing to contribute their dynamism and voice to help unleash this potential and face the challenges of today to build a peaceful future where the rights of children are fully respected. Through their talent and influence with audiences, especially young people, UNICEF's National Artist Ambassadors can play a significant role. We welcome their commitment and contribution to this collective effort.”



UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.

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For more information, please contact:

UNICEF Benin: Marion Desmurger, +229 97 97 51 08,

UNICEF Burkina Faso: Hadrien Bonnaud, +226 07 20 74 86,

UNICEF Togo: Essi Fafa Soule, +228 99 13 23 11,

UNICEF West and Central Africa: Diane Yameogo, +221 77 332 43 26,

Media contacts

Marion Desmurger
Communication Specialist
Tel: +229 97 97 51
Diane Yameogo
UNICEF West and Central Africa Regional Office
Tel: +221 77 332 4326

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