Mercy Masika, Kenya’s Afro-Soul Songstress, Appointed UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador
Masika has lent her soulful voice performing at UNHCR events including World Refugee Day, Step for Safety, and TEDxKakumaCamp.
Mercy Masika performs a song after being announced the National Goodwill Ambassador in during the World Refugee Day 2019 commemoration in Kakuma Refugee Camp. ©UNHCR
It is easy to see why Mercy Masika, award-winning gospel singer, is considered Kenya’s beloved Afro-soul songstress. Throughout her tenure as a singer, Masika has used her soulful voice to express her love for her faith and community with popular hit songs such as Mwema (God’s Grace) and Nifunze (Teach Me).
It is this same love for her faith and community that drove Masika to actively support UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency’s work in protecting people forced to flee their homes because of conflict, violence or persecution. “My Christian faith has always told me to treat foreigners – those that come from outside of your community, with love,” said Masika.
It is a great honour and joy to be given this appointment.
For close to two years, Masika has served as an active High Profile Supporter for UNHCR’s LuQuLuQu campaign. The LuQuLuQu campaign challenges the narrative of the African refugee. The campaign struck a chord with Masika, who saw it as an extension of her own personal faith: “Refugees are just like you and me – they could in fact be any of us. I believe as an African community we have a responsibility to invoke the spirit of Ubuntu – that we carry each other’s burdens by showing our warm heartedness in the face of a refugee’s struggle,” Masika explained.
With UNHCR’s LuQuLuQu campaign, Masika has lent her soulful voice performing at UNHCR events including World Refugee Day, Step for Safety, and TEDxKakumaCamp. All the while, she has used her platform to advocate for greater compassion and understanding for people forced to flee.
Refugees are just like you and me – they could in fact be any of us
“Having visited Kakuma refugee camp and spending time with the refugee families living there, I have been most inspired by the strength of the women, many of whom have undergone traumatic ordeals. One woman I met shared with me her personal story of escaping violence in her village to find safety in Kenya. It is listening to these experiences that continues to affirm my commitment to advocate for their wellbeing,” Masika said.
Lauded for her steadfast engagement, Mercy Masika has been appointed as UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador. She was unveiled in Kakuma camp during the 2019 World Refugee Day celebrations attended by Cabinet Assistant Secretary, Ministry of Interior, Hon Patrick Ole Ntutu, Governor of Turkana, Josphat Nanok, US Deputy Regional Refugee Coordinator, Ketura Brown among other dignitaries.
I intend to utilize my role as UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador by relying on my faith as a child of God and my commitment to support people forced to flee
“We are extremely pleased to have Mercy Masika appointed as UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador here in Kenya, a country that hosts close to 480,000 refugees and asylum seekers. Having such a talented, well-respected and inspiring woman help raise awareness and support for these people who have been forced to flee is immensely valuable,” said Fathiaa Abdalla, UNHCR Representative in Kenya.
For Masika, this appointment is a reaffirmation of her faith and passion: “It is a great honour and joy to be given this appointment. I intend to utilize my role as UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador by relying on my faith as a child of God and my commitment to support people forced to flee.”