Tanama Emerges as National Voice for Covid-19 Prevention in Haiti

Tanama is a supershero who has become a leading voice for Covid-19 awareness and prevention in Haiti. Created by local artist, Thony Loui, Tanama was originally launched as a cartoon character in mid-March with a mission to plant trees and protect the environment. Within weeks, Tanama and Loui were enlisted by the Caris Foundation  and their USAID-sponsored Santé project to help create a national campaign about Covid-19. Tanama now has a significant social media presence through her many Instagram posts and videos, and her image is on brochures, posters and coloring pages for kids, all created by Loui and with messages about wearing masks, social distancing and self-quarantine.
This billboard in the Delmas 75 neighborhood of Port-au-Prince is part of a new campaign sponsored by the Haiti Response Coalition. Tanama appears with comedian Kako Bourjolly, rapper Princess Eud and singer Bic Tizon Dife (BIC) with a message that, “Prevention is the best remedy.”
Tanama has appeared with an impressive array of Haiti’s leading musicians, performers and influencers in order to expand the reach of the messages about Covid-19 prevention. Included are well known figures like rapper Izolan, radio host Fabiola Coupet, and musician and music producer Hantz Fred Mercier, just to name a few. Considering she made her debut just five months ago, this is an unprecedented level of exposure for a newly minted cartoon character.
“Tanama has made a significant contribution,” said Loune Viaud, Executive Director of Zanmi Lasante, sister organization to Partners In Health in Haiti, “by allowing healthcare professionals to speak to the general population through a comic book character they can relate to.”
This past week Tanama began to appear on billboards, murals and street banners as part of a new anti-stigma and anti-violence campaign aimed at protecting healthcare workers and those with Covid-19. With this latest exposure, it is estimated that Tanama’s messages have now reached an estimated three million people throughout the country.
“Tanama’s origins as an environmental supershero gives her credibility when speaking about Covid-19,” noted Jessica Hsu with the Haiti Response Coalition that is behind this latest campaign, “We hope that once the health pandemic is past that Tanama will continue to mobilize action around the other potential pandemics in the areas of climate change, habitat loss and environmental/social justice issues in Haiti.”
The Smallholder Farmers Alliance (SFA) worked with Thony Loui in launching Tanama as an environmental supershero. With funding from the Raising Haiti Foundation, the SFA has continued to be one of the sponsors for the subsequent Covid-19 campaigns.
In this billboard sponsored by the Haiti Response Coalition, Tanama is saying, “Doctors and nurses are heroes.” The phrase at the bottom translates as, “Protect them so they can protect us.”
In this social media post, Tanama appears again with Eud, Bic and Kako with a message, “Prevention is the best remedy.”
This mural, sponsored by the Rapino Foundation, was completed this week in the Petionville neighborhood of Port-au-Prince. Tanama’s message translates as, “Doctors and nurses are heroes. Let’s protect them so they can protect us.”
Hugh Locke

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