Last week MTV Staying Alive Foundation named its newest celebrity ambassador, the hugely talented, multi-award-winning and Grammy nominated singer Leona Lewis. The singer/songwriter, who has one of the most powerful voices in the music industry, wants to have her vocals heard on this campaign. MTV Staying Alive is an HIV prevention charity that works with grassroots HIV prevention projects around the world to empower and educate young people on HIV. As ambassador, Leona will represent MTV Staying Alive on a global scale, acting as the spokesperson and face of the organisation to help increase awareness of HIV/AIDS and raise vital funds to ensure that young people and those at greatest risk are equipped with the tools and knowledge to protect themselves and their peers from HIV.
As part of her role as ambassador, Leona will support MTV Staying Alive’s annual fundraising gala with a performance of some of her greatest hits. she said;
It is a great honour to be working with MTV’s Staying Alive Foundation as an ambassador. I’m eager to raise awareness of the ongoing global HIV crisis. By empowering young people with knowledge about the disease – particularly women and girls who are disproportionately affected – we can help treat it and ultimately prevent it altogether.
Leona Lewis will also be teaming up with natural brand Kiehl’s on designing a new limited edition product to raise even more for funds for MTV Staying Alive. For the past two years Kiehl’s have released two limited edition Ultra Facial Creams with designs by MTV Staying Alive Ambassadors, Tinie Tempah and Laura Mvula, and held events in stores across the UK to raise money for the charity.
Leona’s support for MTV Staying Alive comes at a pivotal time in the fight against HIV/AIDS, when millions of young people are at risk of infection and millions more face barriers to their sexual and reproductive health. Reports continue to laud the progress being made in the fight against HIV/AIDS, but data shows that young people and specifically young women and adolescent girls are still at great risk.
AIDS is still the biggest killer of adolescents in Africa and the second worldwide. There were 2.1 million new infections in 2015 and 7,500 women aged 15-24 became infected per week. In sub-Saharan Africa 90% of all new infections among adolescents occurred in girls.
Since 1998, the MTV Staying Alive Foundation has been working to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS. Its flagship media production, MTV Shuga, is a mass-media behavior-change campaign. Credited with discovering Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o, MTV Shuga is broadcast on 179 channels worldwide and has reached over 720 million people globally. In 2005, the Foundation started its international grants and training program, providing start-up funding and capacity building training to young leaders around the world, empowering them to grow innovative and impactful HIV-prevention projects that respond directly to the epidemic in their local communities.
MTV Staying Alive Foundation has awarded nine new grants to youth-led HIV projects targeting vulnerable communities, bringing the total number of projects supported in 2017 to 36. Of the grants awarded, four will take place in sub-Saharan Africa, two in Asia, one in Suriname, Ukraine and Russia.