Turkish celebrities join UN and WHO to help convey key COVID-19 messages

COVID-19 messages are reaching new audiences in Turkey as goodwill ambassadors from United Nations agencies in the country share WHO's messages.

COVID-19 messages are reaching new audiences in Turkey as goodwill ambassadors from United Nations agencies in the country offer to share information from WHO with their followers. Live broadcasts with these popular celebrities are being posted across various social media channels including Instagram and YouTube. A partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) saw close to 35 000 people tune in to watch one of Turkey’s most famous actresses, Tuba Büyüküstün, talking to WHO Public Health Officer, Dr Bahadir Sucakli, about the implications of COVID-19. Likewise, film and television and star, Mert Fırat, working with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), attracted thousands of people from social media accounts of UN agencies in Turkey, where he cross-checked information about COVID-19 with the experts. “As we all know, there are a lot of myths being circulated about COVID-19,” Fırat warned. “We will be double checking these myths one by one. It is vital that we all have the correct and confirmed information about COVID-19.” These productions provide a means of engaging with the general public in a way which is beyond the reach of traditional media. Participants are briefed by experts before the cameras roll, and afterwards, the recordings are shared by WHO Turkey and other UN agencies operating in the country on their social media accounts. The initiative has so far enjoyed the support of UNICEF, UNDP, UN Women and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Subjects which have resonated include the impact of COVID-19 on gender equality, on female health-care staff to the general public’s mental health.

UNFPA ambassador and pop singer, Edis Görgülü, shared personal insights along with advice from WHO when he urged his teenage fans to look after themselves during the COVID-19 pandemic. “This pandemic has deeply affected our societies. Life as we knew it has come to a halt. I can say from my own experience that it hasn’t been easy to adjust. The new lifestyle that we now have may trigger serious mental health issues that require us to seek expert advice,” Görgülü said.

Actress, director and screen writer Gupse Özay’s live Instagram broadcast with UN Women Turkey’s Programmes Manager Zeliha Ünaldı on COVID-19 and gender equality attracted thousands of Özay’s followers.

UNFPA Turkey Spokesperson Songül Öden also had an Instagram live broadcast with UNFPA Turkey Gender Programmes Coordinator Meltem Ağduk on COVID-19’s impact on gender inequality and violence against women.

UN entities involved in this initiative
United Nations
United Nations Development Programme
United Nations Population Fund
United Nations Children’s Fund
World Health Organization