By CLOÉ SANNA and JOSEPHINE SYLVESTRE | April 14, 2020
With the goal to raise money for Doctors Without Borders, professionals and students have joined forces in this uncertain time to create a digital series of star-studded concerts on YouTube.
In the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic, positive initiatives to help fight the virus around the world are arising. COVAID Africa is a time-sensitive non-profit organization seeking to anticipate the “looming humanitarian nightmare in Africa,” as the founder Niklas Huppmann, a second year Politics, Psychology, Law and Economics (PPLE) student at the University of Amsterdam, explains.
The organization has partnered with YouTube to create “a digital living room concert festival,” (COVAID LIVE) Niklas says. The biggest artists in the world are anticipated to perform from their homes in the hopes of raising money and support the worldwide organization Doctors Without Borders in their fight against the pandemic. The idea, as Huppmann puts it, is to “revive the spirits of the legendary LIVE AID concert of 1985.”
The non-profit organization is not CEO Niklas Huppmann’s first humanitarian project. He has already successfully co-founded the non-profit organization Shades of Love, providing eyesight protection to those in the sun-intensive Himalayas and other sensitive regions. He describes COVAID Africa as a relentless team effort, stating that “[him] and [his] incredible team (…) have been working day and night to set up an unprecedented digital charity campaign.”
Initially, COVAID Africa started as an initiative with the core team of Niklas Huppmann, Maximilian Baier, Steffen Maier, Sebastian Berthold and Kilian Dreher. The organization’s website describes them as: “a collective of photographers, non-profit founders, influencers and entrepreneurs.” Niklas met the rest of the core team in both social and professional settings, Baier and Berthold being photographers whom he met through Shades of Love.
The growing team, of over 200 people now, is mostly composed of students, many of whom are co-years of Niklas at UvA. They are currently working around the clock to contact artists and labels in order to coordinate a line-up of globally renowned performers. Nicoletta Koch, one of the volunteers and also a PPLE student at the UvA, expresses her enthusiasm for the project saying that what she “love[s] about the project is that everyone can help from wherever they are and that any small support makes a great difference!” She continues by saying that one of the reasons she joined was the “super motivated and young team behind the initiative.”
The ever-growing team now also has a PR and Marketing manager, Matias Rodsevich, who is the founder and CEO of PRLab. Matias Rodsevich, Lucy Bright and Scott Paterson Morris are leading the PR team together and are finalising the social media strategy for the project. PRLab is both a community and an agency in Amsterdam. Rodsevich tells The Amsterdammer that their goal with joining this project is to “bring the visibility it deserves at a global scale by informing the media” about what they are doing. The plan is to establish “key partnerships with relevant personalities” and creating a “compelling 360 comms strategy” he adds.
The COVAID Africa website explains that Africa is particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus due to previous pandemics – such as HIV and Tuberculosis – that have weakened the immune systems of many. Additionally, social distancing and staying at home are impossible measures to implement in many African countries, rendering the situation even more pressing than in other countries that have already been impacted.
Doctors Without Borders is an official partner of COVAID Africa. The money raised through YouTube donations will go to the worldwide organization, which provides life-saving humanitarian care. It is currently active in 70 different countries. Specifically in Africa, it is providing medical staff, medical resources and importantly infection prevention units (such as isolation facilities and triage centres) in response to the pandemic. Their ongoing missions regarding the treatment of patients with HIV and Tuberculosis are also at risk during this time. The money raised would directly support the organization’s work in the most affected countries.
The national lockdowns that most countries are currently experiencing is a fitting opportunity to bring live entertainment to people at home, right to their screens. COVAID Africa wants “to use this togetherness, free time and today’s technology for a good cause” Huppmann adds.
If you believe you can help COVAID LIVE to grow by reaching out to contacts in the media, record labels, booking agencies or to artists that would want to perform, you can send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Otherwise, the founder calls for support on the organization’s instagram page CovaidAfrica.