The Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training, in partnership with UNICEF and USAID, recently released the We’re Stronger Together jingle and music video to reinforce COVID-19 protocols in schools.
We’re Stronger Together was conceptualised to reinforce the internationally recognised health and safety practices, which have become the new normal throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, with a focus on mask wearing, hand sanitisation and physical distancing.
The song and video are specifically intended to target the nursery, primary and secondary school student population throughout Barbados.
During the launch last Friday, Minister of Education, Santia Bradshaw, explained that with the resumption of school in September, this year, it became essential to reinforce the COVID-19 protocols among schoolchildren.
She further pointed out that it was necessary to “marry” auditory and visual messages with the printed media to get the message across to students.
“It is important that we recognise that we all have to play our part as individuals to keep the spread of COVID-19 at bay in this country, and our children are critical in helping us to achieve this. They too have a part to play. And, in addition to our commitment as a Ministry to keep them safe, it is also our duty to educate them on how they too can take some measure of responsibility for their own personal safety.
“Our children are one of the nation’s most valuable resources and I do not take my task as Minister responsible for Education lightly. This Ministry and I remain committed to safeguarding the future of tomorrow, by protecting our children today,” she emphasised.
In his address, UNICEF Representative for Barbados, Dr. Aloys Kamuragiye, said the COVID-19 pandemic had deprived 97 per cent of students in Latin America and the Caribbean of a normal schooling.
He pointed out that almost half of all countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have yet to set a date for schools to re-open. He lauded Ms. Bradshaw for her leadership as Minister of Education, and for her decision to reopen schools here.
“The opening of schools implies keeping school COVID-free zones, where children can return to school and continue their education in safe environments. The challenge is to ensure that everyone, including students and teachers, are aware of the protocols and of the necessary behaviours to protect themselves and others from contracting COVID-19.
“Wearing masks, physical distancing, washing hands are high impact public health interventions that prevent transmission of COVID-19. When they are observed, they are like a vaccine against COVID-19. UNICEF continues to support the Ministry of Education to ensure that schools are safe places for students, teachers and other educational stakeholders to learn and to teach,” he underscored.
Regional Director for USAID, Clinton White, said the launch of the jingle and music video was yet another demonstration of USAID’s support for Barbados and the wider Caribbean.
Stating that children were the best “change agents”, Mr. White said his organisation was “pleased” to be associated with the project.
“The video is intended to create awareness among schoolchildren in Barbados and possibly the wider Eastern Caribbean region of activities they can do to ensure a COVID-free environment in schools and otherwise. Our pleasure is even greater, when we know that the artistes and children involved in the creation of this video are from right here in Barbados.
“This … will lead to a higher probability of message acceptance and the modelling of desired behaviours, such as the use of masks, handwashing and social distancing,” he stated.
The lyrics to the jingle were written by Peter Ram, who was joined by fellow entertainers Faith and Mole, who lent their voices to the production. Students from the St. George Secondary and St. Ambrose Primary schools were also featured in the music video.