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Global changemakers including Eliud Kipchoge, David Beckham, Pierre Aubameyang, Yemi Alade, Eliud Kipchoge, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie came together with youth voices from across the globe to demand urgent action to end malaria, as they delivered the Zero Malaria Starts with Me – Draw The Line Against Malaria campaign petition to world leaders at the Kigali Summit on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases in Kigali, Rwanda.

Global leaders, led by African Heads of State have made the first in a series of significant pledges to accelerate progress against malaria and NTDs, with commitments totaling to more than $4 billion, including funding from governments, international organisations, philanthropists, and the private sector.

Presented at the Summit by acclaimed Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the campaign petition is a rallying cry to wipe out the disease that now kills a child every minute and is the culmination of the multi-award-winning Draw The Line creative campaign, created and executed by dentsu who are activating mass media as a catalyst for global change.

Through this campaign, youth from all over the world were invited to visit and send a message to leaders through a unique piece of crowdsourced artwork – a striking visual representation of the Zero Malaria Starts with Me youth commitment to end one of humanity’s oldest and deadliest diseases within a generation.

David Beckham, Malaria No More UK Leadership Council founding member, says: “I have supported the fight against malaria for many years and am proud to be a part of this amazing campaign, alongside many inspiring artists, athletes and champions from across Africa. This is a year of big opportunity and there is a way of curing this disease. World leaders have the power and responsibility to make change and create a safer, healthier, fairer world for all.”

Held on the side-lines of the 26th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), the Kigali Summit is a milestone moment in the malaria fight, and one where game-changing political decisions are needed to save hundreds of thousands of lives, predominantly children, under renewed threat due to the perfect storm of economic, pandemic and political pressures.

Decisionmakers have the opportunity to put renewed momentum behind this fight, by building on the commitment to halve malaria across the Commonwealth by 2023, and by galvanising the record funds needed ahead of the Global Fund’s Seventh Replenishment in New York this Autumn, totalling US$18 billion to get progress back on track.

World Health Organization Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says: “The World Health Organization welcomes a new host of scientists, youth, and champions to join the malaria fight at a crucial time when progress against the disease is lagging. Draw The Line provides a platform for Africa’s most powerful narrators to change this trajectory, disrupt political apathy, and lead the fight to end this treatable and preventable disease which kills a child nearly every minute.”

Interim CEO of the RBM Partnership to End Malaria, Dr Corine Karema, commented: “The RBM Partnership to End Malaria welcomes the incredible commitments that will be made at today’s Summit and urges further action. The message from African youth is loud and clear – global leaders are responsible for ensuring we end malaria within a generation. Only by working together can we truly unlock the potential of countries to build a healthier, safer, and stronger world.”

With close to three-quarters of Africans aged under 35, youth are vital and powerful agents of change. The ground-breaking Draw The Line campaign, first launched in early 2021, is the first global malaria campaign targeted at young people. Dentsu International are renewing their commitment to malaria at the Kigali Summit, unlocking $5 million worth of pro bono media support to help accelerate progress by inspiring action and commitment, and delivering an urgent appeal to leaders to improve the lives and futures of millions of people. 

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Chief Storyteller at the Summit, says: “Malaria has been a frequent and terrible scourge in my life and in the lives of so many people. It doesn’t have to be. Malaria is preventable and has no place in our world today, shackling the health and futures of the next generation. I ask leaders at the Kigali Summit to please be bold and make zero malaria and neglected tropical diseases their legacy.”

Alongside the high-level delivery of the petition, the fast-paced Draw The Line Against Malaria film, backed by the RBM Partnership to End Malaria and fronted by a stellar cast of young people, activists, scientists, and stars, was screened at the Summit to highlight that the fight against malaria is one that we can win with the right arsenal of tools, strong funding commitments, and renewed political will.

“We are faced with the greatest human challenge of our time, as we race towards achieving the UN SDGs by 2030. We believe that global media will be a core contributor towards creating change on this scale and we intend to be a leader in creating this purposeful progress,” says Roxanne Boyes, Strategy Director, and Regional Sustainability Lead for dentsu Africa.

The Zero Malaria Starts with Me – Draw The Line Against Malaria campaign now turns its focus to the Global Fund Replenishment summit in New York in September, in support of the African Union’s (AU) Catalytic Framework to end AIDS, TB, and Eliminate Malaria in Africa by 2030, and ALMA’s Malaria Youth Army.

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