"The past five years of my life have been dedicated to the fight against malaria, a cause I am very passionate about. The decision to venture fully into malaria research and advocacy was made during my time as a Millennium Fellow in 2019. After a friend of mine lost two of her unborn babies to malaria parasitaemia in 2018, I took the decision to help my community fight the disease, and the Millennium Fellowship provided me with the opportunity to not only implement my idea but to also understand how to scale it into a sustainable project.
Going through the Millennium fellowship, I learnt a lot about leadership, empathy, inclusiveness and humility. I also got a clear understanding of the SDGs, community development as well as social impact. These experiences led me to start my Millennium Fellowship project, Block Malaria Africa Initiative.
Today, Block Malaria Africa Initiative is a registered malaria Intervention Initiative supporting most at-risk communities to build resilience against malaria across Nigeria.
My experience as a Millennium Fellow in 2019 also served as a preparatory ground for my advocacy journey. In the course of the Fellowship sessions, we discussed what role young people can play in the realization and actualization of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. This began my SDG 3 advocacy, specifically pushing for the inclusion of young people in the fight against malaria at all levels. This work led to my appointment as West African lead of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA), a youth advisory council advising leaders on how to ensure youth participation in advocacy for malaria at continental, regional and country levels. I am also a member of the RBM Youth Workstream and a malaria champion with MalariaNoMoreUK advocating for zero malaria on both the continental and the global scenes while building a career in the Public health space.
I can boldly say that the Millennium Fellowship experience was the genesis of my strides in the advocacy and community development space. In the course of my work over the past few years, I have encouraged hundreds of young undergraduates interested in social impact, leadership and community development to apply to the Millennium Fellowship and start their social impact journey from the opportunities the programme presents. It’s another application season and I encourage you to apply for the Millennium Fellowship Class of 2023."
About the Author
Odinaka Kingsley is a Medical Laboratory Scientist and a Public Health Enthusiast with interest in Malaria Programming, Health Communications, and Policy & Advocacy in Global health. He is the Executive Director of Block Malaria Africa Initiative, a malaria intervention initiative he founded during his time as a Millennium Fellow in 2019.
He currently serves as West African Lead at the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) Youth Advisory Council, under the leadership of H.E President Umaro Sissoco Embalo of Guinea Bissau. He is also a member of the RBM Digital Youth Workstream on Malaria and a Malaria Youth Champion with MalariaNoMoreUK where he advocates for #ZeroMalaria across the African continent.
In 2021, he was featured by the WHO and RBM Partnership on the occasion of the World Malaria Day Virtual Forum to share about his contribution as a youth in the fight against malaria. Odinaka is a recipient of the Ambassador of Medical Laboratory Sciences Award by AMLSN Plateau, and the Social Worker of the year 2019 award by Youth Art Initiative. He was one of the 60 Nigerian health workers celebrated as #HealthHeroes by the Nigerian Health Watch on Nigeria's 60th anniversary, for their contribution to strengthening the health care system in Nigeria. Odinaka recently became the first African recipient of the maiden 25Under25 Global Legacy award by Common Purpose. He is an alumnus of the Millennium fellowship, Global Health Mentorship and the West African Institute of Public Health and enjoys volunteering, cooking, hiking and travelling during his leisure.