Young leaders in Africa responding to COVID-19

The spread of COVID-19 into Africa has been relatively small compared to outbreaks in countries like the United States or Italy. However, some experts fear that many African countries are only weeks away from severe outbreaks. One Young World Ambassadors in Africa are facing this crisis head-on. Many of them have begun taking preventative measures to prepare communities on how to slow the spread of the disease. Others have been working with their local and national governments to prepare the health care system for an outbreak. These Ambassadors from Africa are using their skills and networks to prevent the spread of coronavirus into their countries and help protect high-risk populations.


Achaleke Christian Leke. University of Buea, Lecturer MA Peace, Conflict and Security 

Achaleke and his team have turned their office into a rapid response lab, producing bottles of home-made hand sanitiser in part of their 'One Person One Hand Sanitizer' Initiative. To date they have produced 4,000 bottles of hand-sanitser and have begun distributing them to communities in Cameroon with the help of the Ministry of Youth and the Ministry of Health.

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Stephen Ogweno. CEO and Founder, Stowelink

Stowelink has formed partnerships with eleven internationally recognised organisations. Together, they have collected the most accurate and relevant information about the COVID-19 pandemic from organisations like World Health and NCD Alliance. They have put this content into a simple informative format and shared it across social media platforms, publishing content in Kiswahili, English, and Amharic.

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Mbiydzenyuy Ferdy - President/CEO, Reconciliation and Development Association (RADA)

In response to the growing COVID-19 crisis in Cameroon, Ferdy launched the Community Mutual Aid Crisis Response to connect those in need of assistance with willing volunteers.

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Ellen Chilemba

Ellen Chilemba, Founder & Director, Tiwale

The Tiwale Women's Center For Education and Entrepreneurship is on a mission to support the huge numbers of poverty-stricken women in Malawi, providing education, microloans, and skills training. Since the start of the pandemic, Tiwale has shifted gears to produce protective face masks, made in a safe and distanced space by Tiwale community graduates from their sewing workshops. The masks are cleaned and then either donated to essential workers and offices in Malawi, or sold to the public to help support their programmes.

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Mutti Keep my Price

Gregory Rockson. Founder, mPharma

Gregory has launched a price protection program for medicine called 'Mutti Keep My Price' and a virtual consultation service to help ensure patients have access to essential medications as well as continual contact with medical professionals. mPharma has also launched a dashboard that allows public health institutions to track medical consumption trends and to help the government monitor the number of COVID-19 in geographic areas.

mPharma has also created a solution to equip and re-purpose private labs into COVID-19 testing centers. Each lab will receive one PCR equipment and test kits. They will also receive funding to increase their biosafety level.

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Brighton Kaoma, Communications Innovation Associate, The Earth Institute - Columbia University

Columbia University hosted a digital EcoAmbassadors workshop to train students on how to use the radio as a tool to support their environmental activism. Brighton, a Columbia graduate student and veteran radio producer, conducted the workshop and training the participants on how to effectively tell compelling personal stories. Students were asked to produce an audio commentary on their COVID-19 experience.

Listen here

Wasim Abu Salem. Founder & Ceo, Loop CS

Wasim and his team launched LoopX, a new coding platform for those isolating at home. It is completely free of charge for anyone who needs it, from teachers to students, or anyone just simply looking to improve their coding skills.

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Arnold Leon Muggaga. Managing Director, ZetuAfrica

Arnold has created a campaign called Uganda Smarter than Corona which brings people together to create solutions to problems caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. This challenge will bring people together on the platform oursafrica platform to share information and discuss solutions. 

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James Chege. Founder, Usalama Technology

James created the Usalma platform to disseminate information campaigns about the risk of COVID-19 in Kenya. His goal is to raise awareness, which is currently low, and help link people to emergency response teams and help potentially infected individuals gain access to healthcare without putting others at risk.

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James has also partnered with Queen of Peace Counselors to deliver free, anonymous mental health services via their digital platform.

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Garden of Hope

Victor Odhiambo. Co-Founder, Garden of Hope Foundation

Victor is working on an initiative to help people living in informal settlements deal with COVID-19. He has raised money to set up hand-washing stations in the slums of Nairobi to help prevent the spread of disease.

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John Jal

John Jal Dak. Founder and Executive Director of Youth Social Advocacy Team

John is working on combatting the spread of COVID-19 in the refugee community in Uganda. He is working on The Refugee Emergency Response on COVID-19 project, which aims to give the refugee community knowledge, attitudes, and practices to prevent them from contracting the disease.

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Bryan Chesoli. Youth Program Lead, Ashoka East Africa

Bryan is shining a light on young people who are leading change in their communities amidst the pandemic. Do you have a story of a young person leading change during this time? How are you the leading change? Exercising empathy and demonstrating leadership?

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Nelson Kwaje. Director of Programs, defyhatenow

Nelson is a Program Director for #DefyHateNow, a community organization based in South Sudan, with branches in Cameroon, Kenya, Sudan and Ethiopia. Nelson helped to initiate the #211CHECK collective, which is a digital community of youth working in various fields who collaborate to fight misinformation and raise awareness on coronavirus prevention and protection, using the #COVID19SS hashtag.

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Watch Nelson's feature on BBC Newsday:

Watch now


Emma Ingaiza. Health Manager, Shining Hope for Communities

Emma is working in a large Nairobi slum as a health manager, managing a team of 60 people to provide over 400 patients a day with essential healthcare services. She is also helping to coordinate other NGOs working in Nairobi with the informally settled population.


Isaac Olufadewa

Isaac Olufadewa. Founder, Slum and Rural Health Initiative

Isaac and his team have produced #STOP-COVID-19 infographics in 60+ local African languages. The infographics help spread accurate information across the continent of Africa.

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Funmilola Awosanya. Founder, Opportunities World

Funmilola has partnered with a number of local foundations and organisations to provide hand gloves, sanitisers and food to people living in Ajegunle Apapa in Lagos State. Through this project, more than 300 people have been provided with accurate information about the virus and access to nourishing food form home.


Olasupo Abideen, Co-Founder and Head of Strategy, Know COVID-19 Nigeria

Know COVID-19 has become the go-to organisation to find quality information about COVID-19 in Africa. Olasupo and his team are ensuring the provision of relevant and reliable facts, debunking fake news, and providing healthcare tips to help local communities stay safe, informed and protected.

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Prince Agbata. Founder/CEO, Coliba Recycling Services

Prince is working to scale and increase Coliba's ability to recover and recycle plastic waste. Their current programme encourages citizens from low-income communities and slums to stay home and sort their waste, exchanging their recyclables for rice, cooking oil and other food items. They are also working to get waste pickers provisions of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and to connect them to pick-up requests from households.

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Farhad Wajid, Co-founder, Banu's Kitchen

Just a few weeks ago, Farhad employed dozens of women to sell burgers and rice from his fleet of solar-powered mobile carts in Kabul, giving them the means to support their families in Afghanistan's conservative society. Since the start of the pandemic, many in the capital have been left without running water or easy access to health services, so these rickshaws have been transformed into mobile sanitising stations, distributing masks, free soap and water to combat the outbreak.

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Farhad image
Farhad image

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