Are you passionate about making a difference in your community and fighting against one of Africa’s most pressing public health issues, malaria? Do you have innovative ideas and fresh thinking on how to combat this disease? Then this competition is for you!
Malaria remains a pressing challenge in Africa. According to the World Health Organization, in 2021 alone, malaria killed over 600,000 people globally. The urgency to find a lasting solution to combat this disease is more critical than ever. To overcome this challenge, innovative solutions are essential, and young people have the potential to make a difference. To foster awareness and promote a better understanding of malaria innovations, the Ifakara Health Institute has joined hands with the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) Youth Advisory Council to introduce the Malaria Innovation Essay Competition. The aim of this competition is to inspire young people to think outside the box and come up with fresh, innovative ideas to overcome malaria which is one of Africa’s most pressing public health issues. By providing a platform for young people to showcase their innovative ideas, the competition seeks to inspire fresh thinking and catalyze the development of practical and effective solutions to combat malaria.
The competition aims to foster innovation and creativity amongst young champions in Africa passionate about malaria control and elimination, increase awareness about novel tools and technologies to address specific malaria challenges, and encourage youth participation in the fight against the disease. By providing a platform for young individuals to showcase their ideas and solutions, the competition hopes to inspire a new generation of leaders committed to eradicating malaria in Africa, ultimately making progress towards a malaria-free continent.
The competition is open to all young champions in Africa aged 18-35 who are passionate about malaria control and elimination. Participants may be required to submit proof of age and citizenship in an African country. While membership in a national malaria youth army is an added advantage, it is important to note that the challenge is open to all youth regardless of their background. Therefore, youth from diverse backgrounds are encouraged to participate, and no academic or health-related profession is required for one to take part in the competition.
The competition will be structured in two stages:
STAGE 1: CALL FOR ESSAYS
Participants are invited to submit an essay of no more than 2,000 words in any of the following 5 tracks/ thematic areas:
- New Technologies and Approaches: This track could focus on innovative approaches or technologies for preventing, diagnosing, or treating malaria. Submissions could include ideas for new drugs, technologies, vaccines, insecticides, or other interventions that could help to reduce the impact of malaria in Africa.
- Community-Based Solutions: This track could focus on community-led initiatives or programs that aim to prevent or treat malaria. Submissions could include ideas for outreach and education programs, community-based treatment or prevention programs, or other community-driven initiatives.
- Social Innovation: This track could focus on innovative approaches to mobilizing resources or raising awareness about malaria. Submissions could include ideas for social media campaigns, crowdfunding initiatives, or other creative approaches to engaging the public and driving action on malaria.
- Cross-Disciplinary Solutions: This track could focus on innovative approaches that bring together experts from different fields to address malaria. Submissions could include ideas for interdisciplinary research collaborations, partnerships between health professionals and community organizations, or other cross-disciplinary initiatives.
- Youth-led Solutions: This track could focus specifically on solutions that are led by young people in Africa. Submissions could include ideas for youth-led advocacy campaigns, innovative approaches to engaging young people in malaria prevention and treatment efforts, or other initiatives that empower young people to take action on malaria.
STAGE 2: PRESENTATION OF ESSAYS FROM THE TOP 5 CHAMPION GROUPS
The top five participants will be invited to present their essays in a virtual competition through a pitch format. The pitch should be no more than 5 minutes and should focus on explaining the essay and its potential impact, how it addresses malaria innovations, and how youth champions can be good agents of promoting innovations in the fight against malaria.
Language: The submissions are acceptable in English, French or Portuguese languages.
The essays will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
- Quality of the essay, including clarity of thought and originality of ideas
- Relevance of the essay to the competition theme and objectives
- Potential impact of the proposed solution on malaria control and elimination in Africa
- Feasibility of the proposed solution, including its potential to be implemented in a real-world setting.
- Diversity of perspectives and representation of different African countries and regions
- The top three winners will receive cash prizes of $2,500, $1,500, and $1,000 respectively.
- All finalists will receive certificates of participation and their essays will be published.
KEY DATES & TIMELINES
- 25th April 2023(World Malaria Day): Announcement on the call for essays.
- 25th May 2023: Submission deadline
- 26th May to 16th June 2023: Evaluation and selection process.
- 25th June 2023: Top 5 finalists notified.
- 12th July 2023: Pitch competition held.
- August 12th 2023: Top 3 winners announced on International Youth Day.
WHERE TO SUBMIT