The International Organization for Migration (IOM) in collaboration with the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) and the Okaikoi North Municipal Assembly (ONMA) as well as the European Union (EU) Delegation to Ghana has outdoored an art exhibition under the Achimota Overpass to create awareness on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) prevention, safe migration and solidarity in the city.
The project which was facilitated through the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration, and funded by the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF) seeks to make use of the unique power of street art, to inform citizens about how to protect themselves from the virus, and call upon everyone to stand together and to stand with migrants.
Speaking at a brief ceremony in Accra on Wednesday to outdoor the artworks, Metropolitan Chief Executive of Accra, Mohammed Adjei Sowah stressed the need to change people’s attitude to accept and embrace the safety protocols, adding it was for this reason why the Assembly embraced the idea to use art to educate city dwellers to prevent the spread of the virus.
"Today we are using art to communicate the message so that people can change their attitude. I would like to say that Accra still remains the epicentre of the virus. It is very crucial to know that every life is important, " he said.
The collaboration forms part of activities by the assembly to use art to communicate the vision of the city. We launched the Accra for art project some two years ago and had designated some areas in Accra to be painted, so we decided to change the concept to educate citizens on the respective protocols.
Accra had been and continues to be a haven for migrants and I am glad to be part of an initiative that celebrates the diversity of our city while creating awareness on COVID-19,” he added.
H. E. Ambassador Diana Acconcia, Head of European Union (EU) Delegation to Ghana in a remark said the graffiti works speaks about hope, of tolerance, love and solidarity and explained that the idea was to use art to sensitise citizens noting that " a picture is worth a thousand words, "
She expressed her appreciation to the AMA and ONMA for providing the space and Ghana Graffiti for exhibiting their talents adding that "these talents and successful young artists are an example for other young people willing to do something for their communities and country."
The Chief of Mission of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in Ghana, Sylvia Lopez-Ekra, in a remark stressed the need to support migrants especially those living in precarious conditions across slums in urban centres and ensure that they benefit from the response activities.
"We must never forget those for whom having running water and soap is a luxury. Among those, there are many migrants. Internal and international. Many living in precarious conditions, in crowded slums in our urban centres. We need to make sure they are part of the response and benefit from the response. We need to bring water to them, we need to find a way to make social distancing a reality for them too, " she said.
She expressed joy to play a part in spreading the message of hope through street art and was optimistic that these images would go a long way to help prevent the spread of the virus assuring that the IOM would continue to sensitise the youth on the dangers of irregular migration and COVID-19.
"This is a wake-up call for us to more than ever continue with our safe migration messages, especially to our youth, telling them that irregular migration is dangerous and that they should not risk their lives. Let us continue to speak up strongly to sensitize our youth, and when we do, just like today, let us also include awareness-raising on COVID-19,” said Sylvia Lopez-Ekra.