UNITED NATIONS – The iconic Bob Marley song “One Love” is to be re-released with the blessing of the musician’s family to support children whose lives have been upended by coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
On Thursday, the UN said the fundraising initiative comes as the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned that an additional 6,000 children could die every day from preventable causes in the next six months.
“Almost all of them live in developing countries, where the coronavirus pandemic has placed additional strain on already fragile health systems and basic services.”
Issued in 1977 by the legendary Bob Marley and the Wailers, with a call for unity and to tackle the suffering of children, a new version of the much-loved reggae anthem will go on sale on July 17.
The new version features members of the Marley family: Stephen, Cedella and Skip Marley, with guest appearances from world-renowned musicians, artists from conflict zones and children from vulnerable communities.
“Over 40 years ago, my father wrote ‘One Love’ about unity, peace and universal love during a time when there was much trouble in the world”, said Cedella Marley. “Even in a time when we aren’t able to ‘get together’, his message remains true today: we can get through this global crisis if we come together through one love and one heart.”
The UN said the project also has the support of jewellery brand Pandora, which has pledged to match every dollar raised to purchase “One Love”, up to the value of US$1 million.
All proceeds will support Reimagine, UNICEF’s global campaign to prevent the COVID-19 emergency from becoming a lasting crisis for children.
“One Love speaks directly to one key truth about this pandemic: our best hope to defeat COVID-19 and to reimagine a more equal, less discriminatory world for children is through global solidarity and co-operation”, said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore.
“We are delighted that the Marley family, along with Pandora, have lent their generous support, creativity and love to help the most vulnerable children,” she added.
In addition to the immediate health impact of COVID-19 on children and their families, UNICEF has warned that youngsters have been affected indirectly, too, through school closures, food shortages, limited access to basic healthcare and disruptions to medical supply chains.
The agency intends to use the money raised from “One Love” to respond to immediate needs, which include soap, facemasks, gloves, hygiene kits, protective equipment and lifesaving information for children and families.
Support for youngsters’ education, protection and healthcare systems will also be possible, UNICEF said in a statement, which noted that internet platform TikTok, will promote the song launch with a special event and public challenge for fans who want to get involved.
“We have a unique opportunity to chart a brighter future for the children and young people mostly likely to suffer its long-term consequences”, said Fore.
“From ending violence, injustice and discrimination, to building fairer and more just societies, young people have made their message loud and clear. It is time for the rest of the world to hear it,” she added.