African civil society organizations are marching to Kigali to end malaria and NTDs in Africa

Press Release • 26 April 2021

On World Malaria Day, leading African organizations drive momentum among policymakers ahead of the Kigali Summit in June

A new pan-African campaign, ‘March to Kigali’, launched on World Health Day this year, seeks to build momentum and galvanize action among African policymakers in the lead up to the Commonwealth Heads of State Summit (CHOGM) in Kigali in June 2021.

« March to Kigali » calls upon governments and partners across Africa to commit to, and prioritize, investments against malaria and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). Launched by a group of like-minded civil society organizations based in West and Central Africa, the campaign builds on the existing partnerships of its « No to NTDs » and « Zero Malaria Starts With Me » platforms.

‘March to Kigali’ aims to foster the commitments needed to achieve the elimination of these diseases by 2030 in the drive to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). By engaging key stakeholders and groups, the campaign aims to:

  • Increase public awareness and engagement on NTDs and malaria
  • Generate demand for increased funding and better management of NTDs and malaria 
  • Encourage the adoption of a multi-sector approach at the country level
  • Strengthen the capacity of civil society organizations (CSOs) to contribute to advocacy and communication efforts against the diseases
  • Mobilize businesses and business leaders to commit to the control and elimination of malaria 
    and NTDs.

African countries in the Commonwealth and beyond must play a leading role in investing in stronger health and sanitation systems in order to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, including ending the epidemics of malaria and neglected tropical diseases. By ending these preventable and treatable diseases we will be investing in our children’s futures and helping to unleash unimaginable levels of growth and prosperity. Together, let’s March to Kigali!

Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, Mayor of Freetown, Sierra Leone
Key African businesses and organizations observe World Malaria Day 2021

Taking place on 25th April each year, World Malaria Day 2021 marks successes in the fight against the disease, calls on leaders to step up their commitments and highlights the responsibility we all have to end malaria within a generation. This year, alongside the launch of ‘March to Kigali’, leading organizations from across the continent are using their voices to engage communities and leaders alike: 

  • Pan-African banking group Ecobank is mobilizing the private sector by calling for further engagement in the fight against malaria through the launch of the Zero Malaria Business Leadership Initiative in Burkina Faso in April and in Ghana, Cameroon and Uganda in the coming months. Previously initiated in Senegal and Benin in 2020, the initiative seeks to foster domestic resource mobilization, mobilize businesses and leverage Ecobank’s networks to close annual funding gaps for essential malaria prevention and treatment tools. 

Ecobank is proud to continue lending our voice to the fight against malaria and neglected tropical diseases, which continue to impact and hinder the lives of millions of Africans each year. Malaria and NTDs are preventable and treatable, and through increased funding and commitment we can see an end to these diseases, which will lead to a healthier, happier and more prosperous continent. 

Carl Manlan, Chief Operating Officer of The Ecobank Foundation
  • Media broadcaster Canal + will showcase a documentary on the challenges, efforts and successes of malaria control in Africa to shine a spotlight on malaria elimination. The documentary features protagonists from Benin, Cameroon and Senegal who share the common goal of ending malaria. Developed in partnership with the Société des Taxi Brousse, the RBM Partnership to End Malaria and Speak Up Africa, the documentary will premiere on April 20th.
  • On the eve of World Malaria Day, Canal + Africa will also broadcast a concert to share the message of Zero Malaria in collaboration with Médecin Sans Frontière West and Central Africa and Speak Up Africa and hosted by Robert Brazza. The concert will bring together West African artists, including Senegalese singer Youssou N’dour, Angélique Kidjo (Benin), Meiway (Côte d’Ivoire) and Charlotte Dipanda (Cameroun), to unite their voices for zero malaria.

Since 2000, the global malaria community has prevented 1.5 billion cases and 7.6 million deaths from malaria. However, over 400,000 people still die from malaria each year, with Africa facing 90% of the global malaria burden. With the theme of ‘Zero Malaria – Draw the Line Against Malaria’, this World Malaria Day partners and organizations from around the world will demonstrate that zero malaria can be achieved by all.

NTDs and malaria affect the most vulnerable in our society, and not only do they weaken those afflicted, they also weaken our health systems as a whole. Through clever investments, we can not only protect communities from these diseases, but ensure that we are able to respond to existing and emerging pandemics. We urge everyone to join our ‘March to Kigali’ and call upon governments and partners to commit to and prioritize the investments needed to build stronger health systems and put an end to malaria and NTDs.

Yacine Djibo, Founder and Executive Director of Speak Up Africa

Join the ‘March to Kigali’ initiative and find out how to get involved at here.

Notes to Editors
About Speak Up Africa

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

Through our platforms and relationships and with the help of our partners, we ensure that policy makers meet implementers; that solutions are showcased and that every sector – from individual citizens and civil society groups to global donors and business leaders – contributes critically to the dialogue and strives to form the blueprints for concrete action for public health and sustainable development.

About the Zero Malaria Starts with Me Campaign

Started in Senegal in 2014, the Zero Malaria Starts with Me campaign was endorsed by African leaders in July 2018 at the 31st African Union Summit. The campaign is jointly coordinated by the African Union Commission and the RBM Partnership to End Malaria.

The Pan-African Zero Malaria Starts with Me movement seeks to build community ownership of malaria efforts and increase political commitment for malaria elimination across the African continent by:

  1. Engaging political leaders at all levels;
  2. Mobilizing resources and funding, including domestic resources and the private sector; and,
  3. Empowering communities to hold leaders accountable in the fight against malaria.
About the No to NTDs Movement 

The « No to NTDs » movement, led by Speak Up Africa, aims to increase awareness, prioritization and national commitment to accelerate the control and elimination of NTDs in Africa.
For more information, visit No To NTDs website

Find out more on:
  • Twitter: @SpeakUpAfrica1
  • Facebook: @SpeakUpAfrica
  • Instagram: @speakupafrica
  • LinkedIn: @Speak Up Africa
  • Journalist WhatsApp Group: +221 77 187 76 94 
About March to Kigali 

Launched by a group of like-minded civil society organizations based in West and Central Africa, the “March to Kigali” campaign includes political engagement, private sector and youth engagement and civil society commitment to galvanize a movement ahead of Kigali Summit on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases in June 2021.

The “March to Kigali » builds on existing partnerships and platforms of the « No to NTDs » and “Zero Malaria Starts with Me » and will contribute to sub-regional (West Africa) advocacy and communications efforts for better management of the fight against NTDs and malaria, which will lead to increased national resources and better political engagement around NTDs and malaria ahead of the Kigali Summit.

More precisely, the objectives of the campaign are to:

  1. Increase public awareness and engagement on NTDs and malaria.
  2. Generate demand for increased funding and better management of NTDs and malaria.
  3. Encourage the adoption of a multi-sector approach at the country level.
  4. Strengthen the capacity of CSOs to contribute to advocacy and communication efforts  on NTDs and malaria.
  5. Mobilize businesses and business leaders to commit to the control and elimination of malaria and NTDs.

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