‘Young people are Africa’s greatest untapped resource’
If this generation is going to take on a killer as ancient and deadly as malaria, we’ll need more than a few tools to do battle. Kenya Malaria Youth Army champion Emily Edepi has discovered her sharpest weapon: her voice.
Emily has always been driven by a deep passion for social justice, particularly championing the role of young people. As an advocate, she strives to reduce disparities in health and education in communities across Kenya.
“My role in the malaria fight as a youth champion is to engage policymakers, especially in government, and key players in the private sector to ensure that they are accelerating prevention and increasing funding for malaria response.”
Emily is currently a malaria and Universal Health Coverage ambassador, as well as Team Lead for the Kenya Malaria Youth Army with the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA). The youth-led group lobbies government leaders, media and other stakeholders to support malaria eradication programs in Kenya.
Gender equality is a cause close to Emily’s heart, and she sees the fight against malaria as an extension of that. “I’m motivated by the desire to enhance equity,” she says, “I believe that if women and girls are put at the forefront of the fight against malaria, we can not only accelerate malaria eradication but also achieve gender equality.”
"We are energetic, we are creative, we are innovative. I believe we have an important role in this fight."
Ending malaria means improved health for the population in endemic areas, but the impact could travel even further. By lifting the burden of malaria, we also strengthen our health systems, leading to a safer world for all. “It gives us transferrable knowledge to be able to approach other life-threatening diseases and future pandemics,” explains Emily.
Emily added her voice to the recent Draw The Line Against Malaria campaign. “Awareness creation through campaigns like Draw The Line Against Malaria is important,” says Emily, “It gives us a platform to mobilise more young people, to encourage our leaders to prioritise malaria, and increase investment.”
The role of young people in fighting malaria can’t be overstated – their generation is the first in history to realistically have the opportunity to end this disease for good.
“I believe that young people are Africa’s – and the world’s greatest untapped resource,” says Emily. “We are energetic, we are creative, we are innovative. I believe we have an important role in this fight. We bring in new ideas and suggestions and we also have the power to call on our leaders to make sure they’re geared towards achieving Zero Malaria.”
The youth of today are the changemakers who will set our course towards a malaria-free world. Zero Malaria starts with all of us – join the movement today.