Kenyan gospel musician Mercy Masika has been appointed as UN Refugee agency national Goodwill Ambassador for Kenya.
Prior to her appointment, Ms Masika served as United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) high profile supporter championing the agency's LuQuLuQu campaign to change the narrative of the African refugee.
"It is a great honour and joy to be given this appointment. I intend to utilize my role as a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador by relying on my faith as a child of God and my commitment to support people forced to flee," Masika said.
Since her involvement with the LuQuLuQu campaign, Masika has advocated for and supported UNHCR's work in protecting people forced to flee.
This has included supporting public engagement and fundraising campaigns such as the launch of the LuQuLuQu campaign in Kenya, the Step for Safety public charity walks held across Africa, and performing at the first ever TEDx event held in a refugee camp - TEDxKakumaCamp.
GROOVE AWARD WINNER
In December last year, the Groove Awards winner participated in UNHCR's Christmas campaign calling on public support for refugees across Africa.
"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," she said.
The gospel singer has also represented UNHCR internationally at the National Prayer Breakfast in the Washington, D.C., which was attended by the United States President and other high level government officials.
She takes on her role as a Goodwill Ambassador during a time when the world faces unprecedented forced displacement.
SAFETY IN KENYA
Kenya currently hosts close to 480,000 refugees and asylum seekers with 78 per cent of them being women and children.
"When I visited Kakuma refugee camp, I had the opportunity to spend time with the refugee families living there. I am inspired by the strength of the refugee women, many of whom have undergone traumatic ordeals.
"One woman shared with me her personal story of escaping violence in her village to find safety in Kenya. It is listening to these experiences that motivates me to advocate for their wellbeing," added Ms Masika.
Raouf Mazou, UNHCR Africa Bureau Director, welcomed Masika's appointment: "I am very pleased to welcome Mercy Masika to the UNHCR family.
I have witnessed first-hand her steadfast support for UNHCR's work in Kenya and have look forward to her continuous positive contributions in her new role as a Goodwill Ambassador."