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ViacomCBS Networks Africa partners with the Zero Malaria Starts With Me movement to support young people in their fight against malaria.

ViacomCBS Networks Africa (VCNA) has joined forces with the Zero Malaria Starts With Me (ZMSWM) movement to inspire and engage young people in the fight against malaria – the generation that can end this preventable disease. VCNA’s commitment to malaria and its powerful platforms will provide a unique opportunity to draw attention to the oldest and deadliest disease on the continent. 

This partnership comes together at the crucial time in the fight against malaria. Despite the progress made since 2000, malaria continues to claim lives and COVID-19 has made the fight even harder. While 90% of life-saving malaria prevention campaigns were delivered as planned in 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) is warning that disruption to malaria diagnosis and treatment could still lead to thousands of additional deaths across the African continent where 74% of the population is below the age of 35. 

Therefore, it is crucial to build partnerships which can reach young people and ensure their engagement so that malaria doesn’t steal their futures.  

VCNA is committed to driving social change and through its network championing and pioneering powerful and engaging edutainment across channel platforms for children and youth from MTV, MTV Base and Nickelodeon. Given the enormous economic and social burden of malaria on young people, VCNA’s ambition is to ensure that its platforms and creative content is a driving force behind further eradication of this disease.  

On the 24 February 2021, VCNA will support the Draw the Line Against Malaria campaign – a new youth-focused creative campaign powered by African stars. The campaign aims to inspire young people to support the ZMSWM movement and call on their leaders at zeromalaria.org to commit to more action, more innovation, more funding and more political leadership to achieve zero malaria within a generation.  

“By joining forces, ViacomCBS Networks Africa and Zero Malaria Starts With Me will bolster efforts to inspire and galvanise young people across Africa, and globally, in the fight against malaria – a preventable and treatable disease.  This collaboration will provide an opportunity to showcase the talent and positive energy emerging from the African continent and further engage youth audiences to take action for positive social impact. This is the generation that will end malaria,” says Monde Twala, Senior Vice President and General Manager at ViacomCBS Networks Africa.

“Through multiplatform edutainment content, integration of youth culture, trending music and youthful storytelling, we can play an important role to effect positive change and to achieve meaningful impact in malaria affected communitiesViacomCBS Networks Africa embodies and aligns to this vision of a Reimagined Africa,” continues Twala.  

Lilies Njanga, Africa Director for Malaria No More UK, said “This partnership will create a powerful opportunity to reach young people in Africa and beyond with a rallying cry for them to step up action in the fight against malaria. We believe that art and music are universal languages that have the power to unite and inspire young people – ViacomCBS embodies and aligns to these values and reaches a global audience. Together we hope to inspire youth to become trailblazers and end malaria in their generation.”  

This partnership follows VCNA’s dedication to social impact causes. In 2020 the network partnered with the World Food Program and UNICEF for the Africa Day Benefit Concert to raise funds for immediate food provision and health care in support of coronavirus-affected communities across Africa together with YouTube. The social impact series MTV Shuga in partnership with the MTV Staying Alive Foundation has led a formidable charge in effectively disseminating information and positively changing behaviour and attitudes through increased HIV testing. 

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Notes to the Editors 

About the Zero Malaria Starts With Me 

In 2018 the world came together to demand urgent action against malaria, with 53 Heads of Government coming together at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London to commit to halving malaria in the Commonwealth by 2023.  In July 2018, 55 leaders of the African Union launched the pan-African Zero Malaria Starts with Me movement, co-led by the RBM Partnership to End Malaria and the African Union Commission empowering communities to take greater action to accelerate malaria elimination across Africa. 19 African countries have since launched ZMSWM on a national scale, igniting grassroots movements that seek to engage individuals, families, communities, religious leaders, business leaders, political leaders and other members of society to take ownership of the fight to end malaria. 

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Malaria has affected almost every country in the world throughout history, with more than 90% of the world’s malaria cases and deaths occurring in sub-Saharan Africa; in 2019, South Africa had 3,096 cases of malaria while Nigeria had the highest number of global malaria cases (25 % of global malaria cases) in 2018 and accounted for the highest number of deaths (24 % of global malaria deaths) according to World Malaria Report. 

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At the beginning of 2020, malaria mortality rates were at the lowest point, but the world has changed. COVID-19 has made the fight even harder, therefore it is important to protect the gains made against malaria.  

About Draw the Line Against Malaria campaign 

The Draw The Line Against Malaria campaign, supports the Zero Malaria Starts With Me movement and is a positive, bold, ground-breaking campaign featuring a coalition of African stars, artists and champions, designed to inspire and unite the African and global youth generation to push for political action to end malaria within their lifetimes.  

At the heart of the campaign is a fresh new universal visual language made up of lines, symbols and patterns, the ‘Muundo’ – a Swahili word meaning ‘to build a movement’ that was created by Láolú Sebanjo, global artist from Nigeria. People everywhere are asked to visit zeromalaria.org and add a personal line of Muundo art to a growing piece of crowdsourced artwork which represents a visual call to action to world leaders. 

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