Trace Foundation has launched an initiative that seeks to boost efforts by the African Union to push more young people across the African continent to take up Covid-19 vaccination.

The AU Covid-19 Bingwa Initiative was launched in Nairobi on Thursday and is expected to be publicized by top celebrities in Kenya with activations set to spread across the country.

The Trace Foundation Covid-19 vaccination initiative is being supported by the German Development Cooperation (GIZ), Africa CDC and the African Union (AU) across Africa.

AU Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat officially unveiled the AU Bingwa Initiative in April 2022 as part of Africa CDC’s Programme of Saving Lives and Livelihoods.

Bingwa is a Swahili word for “Champion.”

“I look forwards to all of us being vaccination ambassadors across our spheres of influence, in our communities. I look forward to interactions and discussions around what Covid was, how vaccination has helped us to go back to normal, as leaders and artistes,” said Trace Eastern Africa Managing Director Danny Mucira at the launch.

The initiative seeks to form a network of Covid-19 vaccination youth champions across Africa to speed up the uptake of Covid-19 vaccination to realise a 70 per cent vaccination rate.

The initiative by Trace Foundation has already been officially launched across several member states of the African Union including Ethiopia, Zambia, Uganda, and Nigeria.

The youth who make up more than 60 per cent of the African population, their mobilisation and meaningful engagement can be a game-changer in controlling the Covid-19 pandemic.

Trace says young people can play a greater to achieve the 70 per cent vaccination African target and is leveraging creatives and mobilisation capacities of musicians, filmmakers, as well as social and religious influencers to support the initiative.

Through the ambitious AU Covid-19 Bingwa Initiative, mobile vaccinations will be availed in roadshows and vaccination events at colleges, youth centres, cinemas, and shopping malls.

The initiative adopted icon-led activations and communications to support advocacy, mobilisation, and popularisation of the Call to Action for every citizen to get their vaccine shot.

Trace says it will educate the youth about Covid-19 vaccines, tackle misinformation and arouse demand for shots to realise the AU Bingwa objective of vaccinating 100 million young people in Africa.

A host of Kenyan celebrities including Khaligraph Jones, Fena Gitu, Kagwe Mungai, Bensoul, Adelle Onyango, Jaymo Ule Messe, and Dr Ofweneke have been enlisted in publicity efforts.

On Friday, Trace Foundation will partner with AMREF Kenya in a mass vaccination drive at the Cooperative University of Kenya in Karen backed by several artistes and influencers.

The AU Bingwa Initiative has also scheduled a series of roadshows in Kawangware and Uthiru residential areas of Nairobi County on Saturday November 26, 2022.