Youth Leaders for Health Initiative
Globally, there were an estimated 229 million malaria cases in 2019, declining from 238 million in 2000. The World Health Organisation (WHO) African Region, with an estimated 215 million cases in 2019, Africa accounted for about 94% of cases.
This project worked with 25 young changemakers from Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Tanzania to advocate for policy change related to malaria and health systems strengthening. A collaborative effort between organisations in the UK, Ghana, Sierra Leone and Tanzania saw the 25 youth advocates trained in advocacy and campaigning skills in the margins of the 2019 African Union Summit.
The young advocates were supported through intensive coaching and mentoring to carry out activities in both their home countries and at African regional level. This involved direct advocacy in meetings with decision makers, grass roots mobilising and community work, writing, editing and media engagement (traditional print media and radio, and social media).
The Youth Leaders showed great innovation through creative, targeted, and skilful use of social media and music videos. They targeted their advocacy efforts at senior decision makers from regional health institutions, health ministries, national parliaments, the African Union Commission, African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) and the Global Fund, as well as the newly appointed US White House Malaria Initiative Lead, Raj Panjabi.
Successes included influencing the African Union Commission’s communique to include strong commitments on malaria and health system strengthening; contributing to and influencing national applications to the Global Fund; establishing the ‘The Beat Continues’ platform to engage young people across the Africa region in the fight against malaria.