Speak Up Africa Delivers a Menstrual Hygiene Management Awareness Session During the First Lady’s of Sierra Leone Fourth Girls’ Camp in Freetown

Speak Up Africa Delivers a Menstrual Hygiene Management Awareness Session During the First Lady’s of Sierra Leone Fourth Girls’ Camp in Freetown

Freetown, Tuesday, August 15, 2017 – Menstruation is a natural process but it is rarely talked about because of cultural taboos. Menstrual hygiene – how to manage menstruation safely and with dignity – has also been largely neglected by the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector and others focusing on reproductive health and education. As a result, the menstrual hygiene challenges faced by women and girls are made even more difficult, and millions continue to be denied their rights to WASH, health, education, dignity and gender equity.

For the past year, Speak Up Africa has been working on filling in the knowledge gap around Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM). Why? Because MHM has a long-term impact on women’s health, education and livelihoods but it also impacts the economy, as failing to provide for women’s sanitation needs ultimately risks excluding half of the potential workforce.

Young women in Sierra Leone are being bombarded with negative messages by both the media and through societal pressure. Over time, the effects are manifested as low self-esteem, a rise in teenage pregnancy, misinformation about women’s issues, and more. H.E. Sia Nyama Koroma, First Lady of Sierra Leone has been a strong advocate for the empowerment of young women as a way of countering these negative effects and for the country’s development. The Office of The First Lady (OFL) has developed various programs, events and initiatives for the betterment of the lives of Sierra Leonean people, specifically children and young women.

The National Girls’ Camp aims to empower young women to develop a positive self image, improve their self esteem and make informed decisions in regards to their sexual reproductive health, leadership roles, healthy lifestyle and more, through an action-packed agenda comprised of courses, lectures, networking opportunities, comedy, drama, exercise and sports. The selection process is done by the OFL and its partners, for deserving girls from each region with exceptional school grades, and leadership qualities.

Speak Up Africa has been graciously invited to partake in the 2017 National Girls’ Camp 2017 by the OFL and Solid Investments Group (SIG), and deliver a workshop on MHM. During this interactive session, Speak Up Africa discussed with the girls and learned about their perceptions and attitudes towards MHM. Speak Up Africa explained the different types of MHM tools and intimate hygiene management. Packs of reusable pads from ApiAfrique and key materials on MHM were distributed to each of the 100 girls attending the camp.

Martha and Marie Tondoneh are twins. They are 16 y/o and its their second time coming to the First Lady’s Girls Camp, ‘what we love about this camp is that every session you get to learn about new things and get to hear the experiences of others. We also love to interact with new girls and get to meet new people’. On the MHM awareness session Martha added ‘what we learned during the session is that, as girls, during our period, we should not be shy and feel like we do not belong. It is a normal thing and that does not make us less human or less girls. Menstrual is a sign that you’re growing and different things happen so you just have to be happy and take it as it is’. On women empowerment and the Girls’ Camp ‘Women empowerment is so important because it helps young girls to know themselves, to believe in themselves to say ‘Yes we have a future, we are going to be good people in the future, we simply can be who we wan to be!’’

To address menstrual hygiene is not only to address the four to seven days a month that women are menstruating, but the root cause of gender disparity. When it is properly addressed, it leads to increased overall health of women and girls. It improves educational outcomes as it improves school attendance. It promotes economic freedom by helping women stay in the workforce, and improves the confidence and dignity of women and girls by teaching them that their bodies are nothing to be ashamed of. Women and girls face enough challenges each day, their own body should never be one of them.

Speak Up Africa strives to empower women and girls throughout Africa and thanks to the Fourth Girls Camp in Sierra Leone, a hundred more girls in the country are able to be and feel ‘Young, Empowered and Safe’!

We're Hiring: Are You Speak Up Africa's Next Operations' Manager?

We're Hiring: Are You Speak Up Africa's Next Operations' Manager?

Job Description

Based: Dakar, Senegal
Reports to: Deputy Executive Director
Type of position: Full time
Starting Date: September 1, 2017

 

Background

Headquartered in Dakar, Senegal, Speak Up Africa is a women-led strategic communications and advocacy organization dedicated to catalyzing leadership, enabling policy change, and increasing awareness for sustainable development in Africa.

The success of the Millennium Development Goals has infused the continent with a new sense of vibrancy – from commercial promise to populations increasingly connected - Africa’s pulse has quickened. In the new era of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Speak Up Africa strives to promote a shift in African leadership and accountability and create an enabling environment for sustainable change.

 

Roles and Responsibilities

The Operations Manager will work under the supervision of the Deputy Executive Director. His/her main tasks are to ensure the planning, implementation and monitoring of the Speak Up Africa programs. The Operations Manager is expected to work closely with the various departments of Speak Up Africa, as well as with external partners.

 

More specifically, the Operations Manager will:

  • Coordinate the work of Program Officers under his / her supervision.
  • Consolidate monthly, quarterly, mid-yearly and annual reports of implementing partners, analyzes variances and ensure corrective action is taken.
  • Ensure that technical reports are submitted in accordance with the requirements of Speak Up Africa’s senior leadership and project implementation partners.
  • Supervise project implementation in conjunction with the Program Officers.
  • Prepare concept notes, editorials and other writings to document Speak Up Africa's programs, from their design to their actual implementation.
  • Collaborate with the Deputy Executive Director and the communication team for the production of content related to the programs and value proposition of Speak Up Africa.
  • Prepare summary notes to report on program implementation.
  • Identify challenges encountered in the preparation, implementation of projects and implement corrective measures.
  • Ensure compliance with the logical and impact framework of Speak Up Africa.
  • Participate in the needs assessment and capacity building of staff and implementing partners.
  • Exploit the reports submitted by the Program Officers and provide feedback to the Deputy Executive Director.
  • Participate in the preparation of technical coordination meetings.
  • Participate in the monitoring and evaluation of programmatic performance and the technical staff under his / her supervision.
  • Supervise and accompany colleagues and implementing partners in the execution of short, medium and long-term activities.
  • Ensure data quality assurance in collaboration with Program Officers.

 

Required Profile

  • A master’s degree in social sciences is required.
  • Demonstrated ability to work cooperatively within a team.
  • Proven experience in project management in areas such as public health and sustainable development.  
  • Strong communication skills and experience working in multidisciplinary and multilingual teams.
  • Strong organizational, synthesis and reporting skills.
  • Perfect command of English and French mandatory; knowledge of additional languages appreciated.
  • Must be Proficient in Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Power Point, etc.) and the usual practice of desktop and electronic communication tools and software.

 

Candidacy

To apply for this position please send a cover letter, a detailed CV, and the contacts of three references to: info@speakupafrica.org. The e-mail must be marked as follows: « Application – Operations Manager »

Zéro Palu ! je m’engage.

Zéro Palu ! je m’engage.

Ma vision du champion communautaire.

Par Déborah Demont

 

Parachutée en début d’année dans un contexte qui m’était encore peu connu, il a fallu que je m’adapte et que je déchiffre ce nouveau vocabulaire et abréviations qui font partie de la grande famille des Organisations Internationales.

Outre toutes les informations reçues et utiles à débuter ce nouveau travail qui était désormais le mien, mon cerveau a tiqué sur les mots « Champion Communautaire » lors d’une brève explication de la campagne « Zéro Palu ! Je m’engage », mouvement citoyen d’ampleur nationale en faveur de l’élimination du paludisme au Sénégal et mise en œuvre par ma nouvelle ONG d’adoption Speak Up Africa.

Mais revenons à l’essence même de mon questionnement, qu’est-ce exactement un « Champion Communautaire » ?! Je ne vous cache pas que ni une ni deux, mon imagination a pris le large et s’est imaginé qu’un champion communautaire était, petit un, une personne ayant remportée une compétition ; petit deux, il s’agissait forcément d’un athlète sportif et petit trois, restait à déterminer la discipline et le rôle joué au sein de ce programme de lutte contre le paludisme. En d’autres termes, pour moi un champion communautaire était un sportif médaillé qui utilisait son image et sa notoriété en faveur de la lutte contre le paludisme. Cependant, plus les informations m’étaient données au sujet de ces fameux champions Zéro Palu, plus l’image que je m’en faisais devenait farfelue. Heureusement pour moi, ce passage romanesque et digne de l’imagination d’Alice au pays des merveilles s’est rapidement estompé pour faire face à la réalité des choses.

J’ai donc appris que la santé communautaire se définit par des actions de proximité, c'est-à-dire des activités ou des soins prodigués près des lieux où vivent les personnes. Elle vise la promotion de la santé en favorisant l’autogestion des personnes. Cette approche participative permet d’identifier les domaines d’actions prioritaires et permet la mise en œuvre des changements nécessaires. Le processus qui en découle pourrait se révéler particulièrement pertinent dans le maintien et le renforcement de la santé d’une population, c’est pourquoi la campagne Zéro Palu ! Je m’engage a stratégiquement monté, avec l’aide de partenaires tels que WARI, une armée de 8 champions communautaires dont le rôle est d’agir en tant qu’acteurs de changement ou de guides santé jouissant d'une grande crédibilité auprès de leur communauté.

Il y a quelques jours, soit environ six mois après mes débuts chez Speak Up Africa,  j’ai eu la chance de rencontrer trois de ces champions communautaires en pleine action dans le cadre de leurs activités Zéro Palu ! Il s’agissait d’une causerie, d’un set-settàl et de visites à domicile. Avez-vous déjà ressenti une certaine fierté à travailler pour une cause ou une structure, une sorte de subite envie d’appartenance ? Eh bien, c’est ce que j’ai ressenti à ce moment-là en les observant ! Bien que je ne comprenne absolument pas le Wolof, la conviction, l’engagement et la détermination avec laquelle elles faisaient passer leurs messages était tout bonnement captivant. L’ambiance et la chaleur des sénégalais s’est très vite fait ressentir avec une démonstration d’utilisation de moustiquaires et un set-settàl au son des Gongobas ; l’assemblée s’est rapidement mobilisée, s’emparant ainsi de balais et de sauts pour assainir leur lieu de vie. Quant aux visites à domicile, la proximité et le climat de confiance instauré entre le champion et le ménage visité a été immédiatement palpable, par conséquent, on remarque une bonne qualité d’écoute.

Avec un peu de recul, mon idée d’athlète n’était pas si fausse. Nos champions communautaires travaillent chaque jour aussi dur qu’un athlète de haut niveau, ils gagnent du terrain jour après jour dans la lutte de ce fléau qu’est celui du Paludisme et chaque cas évité par leur démarche est selon moi méritant de toutes les médailles du monde… 
 

 

Nous recherchons un(e) Infographiste Multimédia Junior

Nous recherchons un(e) Infographiste Multimédia Junior

Responsabilités et tâches à accomplir

L’infographiste multimédia junior est rattaché au département de communication.

Il a pour principales tâches d’appuyer l’équipe dans la conception de tous les outils graphiques et multimédia de communication. Il est attendu de l’infographiste d’exécuter de nouveaux supports selon des chartes déjà définies.

 

Mission

  • Prépare et réalise tous types de support de communication visuelle print/web/multimédia (brochures, affiches, dépliants, publications, pochettes, couvertures, présentoirs, objets publicitaires, webdesign, bannières, intégration vidéo, etc.)
  • Mise en page de publications en différentes versions linguistiques.
  • Aide à la production et au suivi des publications.
  • Retouche, montage et réalisation de galeries photos
  • Aide régulière au service pour la mise en ligne de documents/news/visuels/vidéos sur les sites internet et intranet
  • Apporte son soutien pour l’exécution/réalisation de toutes autres activités du service, si nécessaire.
  • Si possible, apporte son aide à l’équipe pour la réalisation de reportages et de montages de vidéos.

 

Profil recherché

  • Capacité à s’intégrer dans un environnement soumis à des exigences de qualité et de confidentialité
  • Capacité de remise en question, goût du challenge, réactivité et force de proposition
  • Capacité à opérer des choix techniques, esthétiques, économiques
  • Capacité à intégrer une équipe pluridisciplinaire et multiculturelle
  • Qualités rédactionnelles avec une bonne maîtrise de l'orthographe
  • Langues de travail : français-anglais.

 

Compétences techniques attendue

  • Maîtrise de la suite Adobe (en particulier, Photoshop / Illustrator / Indesign/ Acrobat Pro /Lightroom) (interface : Français/anglais)
  • Maîtrise du Pack Office (Word, Power point, Excel) (interface : Français/anglais)
  • La pratique courante de logiciels multimédia serait un atout supplémentaire (Final Cut X & 7, Compressor, Motion 5, Soundtrack Pro, Adobe Media Encoder CC, Adobe Audition) (interface : anglais/français)
  • Des notions de motion design (Motion 5 ou After Effects) seraient un vrai plus
  • Maîtrise de l’environnement PC et Mac.

 

Comportements attendus

  • Sensibilité artistique, créativité
  • Grande rigueur, méthode, autonomie, organisation et réactivité
  • Anticiper, organiser sa charge de travail
  • Capacité à travailler sur plusieurs dossiers de manière simultanée
  • Etre force de proposition
  • Avoir le respect des échéances
  • Capacité à trouver des solutions
  • Aptitude à travailler en équipe.

 

Candidature

Merci de soumettre vos candidatures et portfolios à l’adresse suivante : deborah.demont@speakupafrica.org. L’email doit obligatoirement porter la mention suivante : « Candidature – Infographe multimedia junior ».

 

Entrée en fonction

Septembre 2017

 

Lieu

Dakar - Sénégal 

Roadmap for Implementing the Addis Declaration on Immunization Launches at the Africa Health Forum

Roadmap for Implementing the Addis Declaration on Immunization Launches at the Africa Health Forum

Kigali, Rwanda, 27 June 2017 – Today, a roadmap to guide Member States’ implementation of the Addis Declaration on Immunization (ADI) was officially launched at the first World Health Organization (WHO) Africa Health Forum in Kigali, Rwanda. The roadmap was developed in close collaboration between Member States, the African Union (AU) Commission and the WHO Offices in the African Region (AFRO) and Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMRO), as well as immunization partners.

Titled “Roadmap for Implementing the Addis Declaration on Immunization: Advocacy, Action, and Accountability,” the new document provides Member States with three specific strategies to accelerate progress toward universal access to immunization in Africa. The strategies include: generating and sustaining political commitment and funding; strengthening technical capacity and overcoming barriers to access; and closely monitoring progress.

“Vaccines are one of the most effective public health tools available today. When children are given a healthy start, communities thrive and economies grow,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. “The ADI roadmap will help guide and drive progress toward ensuring universal access to immunization for all children in Africa, no matter who they are or where they live.”

Routine immunization coverage has increased considerably across Africa during the last two decades. The percentage of children in Africa receiving the third dose of the diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine (DTP3) – a measure commonly used to evaluate the strength of routine immunization programs – has increased from approximately 57% in 2000 to 77% in 2015. Yet one in five children across the continent still lack access to all available vaccines, leaving them vulnerable to vaccine-preventable diseases.

There are several significant barriers to vaccine access, including weak supply chains and insufficient data to identify coverage gaps at the local level. The continent will also soon face a historic financing transition. As Africa nears polio eradication, critical funding for immunization through the polio eradication program is expected to decrease. Additionally, more countries in Africa are approaching middle-income status, which means that they will begin transitioning away from the funding of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. The ADI roadmap identifies strategies for confronting these challenges early to ensure immunization efforts are uninterrupted.

“Country ownership is more important than ever before to ensure that we sustain and build on the hard-fought gains we have made,” said Dr Mahmoud M. Fikri, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean. “By making continued political, financial and technical investments now, Africa can achieve a generation free from vaccine-preventable diseases.”

Expanding access to immunization will have tremendous positive effects for families, communities and entire countries. Every US$1 spent on childhood immunization in Africa returns US$41 in economic benefits.

The ADI provides concrete commitments – from increasing domestic vaccine financing to addressing supply chain challenges – through which nations can increase access to immunization and strengthen health systems in line with other existing efforts, particularly the Global Vaccine Action Plan. The ADI was initially drafted and signed by ministers and other high-level representatives at the Ministerial Conference on Immunization in Africa in February 2016. Heads of State from across Africa endorsed the ADI at the 28th AU Summit in January 2017.

“Leaders at all levels of government have identified universal access to immunization as an urgent priority and an achievable goal,” said HE Ms Amira Elfadil Mohamed Elfadil, Commissioner for Social Affairs of the AU Commission. “Building on this consensus, Member States must now take action to implement their commitments – ultimately, catalyzing sustainable development across the continent.”

For more information, please contact:

AU Commission
Wynne Musabayana
Head of Communication Division
musabayanaw@africa-union.org

WHO AFRO                          
Collins Boakye-Agyemang                                                                                
Regional Communications Adviser                                                           
boakyeagyemangc@who.int                                                                         

Dr Richard Mihigo
Programme Coordinator, Immunization & Vaccine Development
mihigor@who.int

WHO EMRO
Rana Sidani                                                                                                                
Senior Communications Officer                                                                                    
sidanir@who.int                                                                                                      

Dr Irtaza Chaudahri
Technical Officer, Vaccine Preventable Diseases & Immunization
chaudhrii@who.int                        

Visit immunizationinafrica.org to learn more about the ADI and africahealthforum.afro.who.int to learn more about the Africa Health Forum. Join the conversation on Twitter using #WHOAHF, #ADIroadmap and #VaccinesWork.

“All In Support of Universal Immunization and United Against Malaria” Football Tournament Closes out 7th Annual African Vaccination Week in Senegal

This past Sunday, April 30, 2017, on the last day of African Vaccination week, Special Olympics Senegal (SO), alongside Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) and Speak Up Africa (SUA), hosted a football match in one of the most densely populated urban areas outside Dakar. This high profile event was branded, “All in Support of Universal Immunization and United Against Malaria”, took place in Pikine, Senegal at the Alassane Djigo Stadium. More than 750 people attended the game, which featured 22 football teams.

This match marked the end of the 7th annual African Vaccination Week (AVW), - a week dedicated to the promotion of the importance of universal access to vaccination... Since vaccination is one of the most cost effective, life saving health interventions, there is a need to increase consumer knowledge that vaccinations need to be up to date at every point in a person’s life for full protection against diseases.

Two diverse and unified teams included the Zero Malaria team in red jerseys and the Vaccination team in green jerseys.  Both teams were comprised of Special Olympics athletes, children, players from the women’s national team, community actors, mayor’s representatives, members of the various associations of Pikine, and our very own Abdoulaye Diop, who is Speak Up Africa’s Malaria Program Manager. The crowd cheered drummers of the neighborhood’s local soccer team as they put on a vibrant performance. During half time the crowd was entertained by a performance from the neighborhood’s rugby school, which performed a Haka dance, a traditional dance from New Zealand.

In attendance of this exciting event were officials from the local health authorities, youth associations including the Young Entrepreneurs of Senegal, the“Going on Our Own” Movement, the Association for Well-being and Solidarity, women’s groups, Special Olympic athletes, coaches and partners, including, Afrivac, PATH, and Soeur de Coeur.  Special Olympics Country Director Rajah Sy and board member Moustapha Tamba, were all in attendance. Additionally, Senegalese artist, Mansour Mbaye Madiaga who is well known for his role as "Père Zora" in a series called “Wiri, wiri”, attended the event, which excited the crowd.  

Special Olympics Senegal, LCIF and Speak Up Africa were excited to host this inspiring event, commemorating the end of African Vaccination Week, which so very clearly fit within our collective mission to transform lives through sports.  

Accelerating The Control And Elimination Of Neglected Tropical Diseases In Africa

Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) are preventable infectious diseases that put approximately 1.5 billion people in 149 countries at risk, including 500 million children.Africa accounts for 40 percent of the global burden of NTDs, with all 47 African countries being endemic for at least one of them. These dangerous and destructive diseases result in chronic and debilitating physical and mental symptoms; cause severe disfigurement and disabilities; and have a detrimental impact on life expectancy, education and economic opportunity. They disproportionally affect the most vulnerable, marginalized people in the poorest, most remote communities in Africa and around the world, those with very little means to pay for their treatment and limited access to health care services.

Why is it so important to tackle NTDs with everything we’ve got right now? Because these diseases have been neglected for too long and have ravaged too many of our communities. The impact of NTDs reaches far beyond people’s health. NTDs threaten the economic well-being and livelihoods of the people who contract them, sinking victims ever deeper into poverty and making it impossible for them to reverse the cycle. Most importantly, due to unprecedented global collaboration and philanthropy, in the last five years, the number of people at risk for NTDs fell by 20 percent. The world is coming together to achievea common set of targets, mobilizing critical financial resources, donatingessential drugs, and stepping up with coordinated technical and financial leadership. It all started five years ago, when government leaders, donors, pharmaceutical companies, and representatives from prominent global health and development organizations pledged to unite in their efforts to combat these diseases. These partners signed on to the London Declaration, committing their supportfor the WHO Roadmap targets to eliminate or control 10 NTDs by 2020.

Now is the time to defeat NTDs. The window of opportunity to achieve our 2020 targets is right in front of us, and we can’t let it close.

Pharmaceutical companies have donated the medicines needed to control and eliminate 10 NTDs, which account for more than US $17.8 billion in drug donations. Since 2012, more than 7 billion treatments have been donated. African public health leaders have stepped up commensurately. In an unprecedented organizational move, WHO/AFRO has created the Expanded Special Project for Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases (ESPEN) to support African countries in their efforts to meet their 2020 targets. ESPEN is designed to bring African nations and the entire international NTD community together to conquer these NTDs through the coordinated delivery of technical support for preventive chemotherapy in endemic African countries. It’s raising awareness about NTDs, advocating for increased funding and stronger political commitment, and pushing forward the policies and interventions that help advance NTD control and elimination. Most crucially, through ESPEN, WHO/AFRO puts the power in the hands of African countries and their national programs, by providing the technical advice and capacity building support they need. Progress would not be possible without the commitment of these endemic countriesand their frontline health workers that ensure donated treatments reach the people who need them.

In Geneva this week, global leaders are convening to celebrate progress made toward global targetsand define a clear path towards the 2020 goals and beyond.It is our belief that with increased awareness, greater funding from current and new donors, and the cooperation and political will of dedicated and engaged international and national partners, our goal to eliminate and control these NTDswill be met. With billions of lives at risk and with communities and entire nations struggling under the burden of these diseases, it’s time to take focused and unwavering action. We are confident that by 2020, the term Neglected Tropical Diseases will be a misnomer, and we will have achieved the kind of progress that the most impacted populations need and deserve.

Dr. Matshidiso Rebecca Moeti is the Director of the WHO Regional Office for Africa.

 The Expanded Special Project for Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases (ESPEN) provides African countries with technical assistance and fundraising tools to accelerate the control and elimination of the five Neglected Tropical Diseases amenable to Preventive Chemotherapy (PC-NTDs): Onchocerciasis, Lymphatic Filariasis, Schistosomiasis, Soil Transmitted Helminthiasis and Trachoma. ESPEN is a five-year project nested within the World Health Organization’s Regional Office for Africa (WHO AFRO) and is inspired by the World Health Organization’s 2020 Roadmap on NTDs.

Happy World Malaria Day 2017!

Happy World Malaria Day 2017!

Football Superstar Leo Messi Joins the Fight Against Malaria in Senegal

World Malaria Day provides a perfect opportunity to reflect on the achievements of the past year and look towards future efforts in malaria control. Despite the great strides made throughout the African continent, every two minutes, a child dies from malaria. This preventable and treatable disease still takes the lives of close to half a million people each year worldwide and 90 percent of those deaths occur in Africa. This is unacceptable.

I’ve joined the global fight against malaria about 10 years ago and I’m thrilled to see the international community coming together with a single objective in mind: “End Malaria for Good”. This year’s theme provides a great testament of the current state of mind highlighting the crucial importance of collective action to achieve our malaria control and elimination goal.

One of the best ways to stop these unnecessary deaths is to use insecticide-treated mosquito nets, which have been proven to reduce the incidence of malaria by up to 95 percent in certain regions. But first, we need to ensure that people at-risk know about the importance of mosquito nets and are able to access them.

With help from Aspire Academy and the Leo Messi Foundation, Speak Up Africa and Senegal’s National Malaria Control Program designed and implemented the Football Combating Malaria (FCM) campaign. The campaign was created to provide lifesaving mosquito nets to hundreds of thousands of children in Senegal and raise awareness about how to prevent and treat the disease. It also works to place supervisors and volunteers in targeted villages to spread anti-malaria messages and ensure the proper use of the mosquito nets.

We capitalized on the popularity and influence of Lionel Messi, a five-time Ballon d’Or winner and a beloved sports figure throughout the world. In addition to serving as an ambassador for the importance of malaria awareness and prevention, Messi agreed to have more than 70,000 insecticide-treated mosquito nets bearing his image produced and distributed to elementary school children throughout the country.

FCM illustrates our profound belief that having effective supervisors in communities who actively engage with community members is essential to success. The campaign therefore developed a profile to aid in the process of recruiting qualified individuals who can make a real difference for people at risk. All supervisors were chosen based on a defined set of criteria. They must have recognition within their community, solid social work experience in these communities, and a commitment to volunteerism. The supervisors received intensive training, and then passed that knowledge on to four change agents within their community.

Also built into the program are monitoring and evaluation plans, census information about the number of nets being used in each household, technical assistance provided by district health teams, and an electronic reporting system.

In 2015, there were at total of 1,850 community supervisors and change agents pledged and fully prepared to bring awareness and information about how to fight malaria in Senegal. Together, they organized more than 340,000 house visits and more than 4,000 social mobilization activities across 14 regions of Senegal. In all, 2 million people were reached through these visits and activities.

The FCM campaign comes at a time when Senegal has already made tremendous gains in its efforts to combat malaria. Incidence of the disease has decreased by over 60 percent from 2009 to 2016, thanks to the implementation of proven strategies such as the use of mosquito nets. But with so many children and adults still dying of the disease, and so many communities still grappling with the economic insecurity it has wrought, we must keep up the fight.

We believe that with increased awareness in communities across the nation and sustained focus and commitment on the part of government officials, organizations, donors and champions such as Leo Messi, malaria elimination will be achieved in our lifetime.

Yacine Djibo