New Directions for The Access Challenge

Hello all, 

I write today to share some important news. It is with immense pride that I announce a change of leadership of The Access Challenge, signaling not just a change in roles but an expansion of our long-held commitment to youth and African leadership. I have decided that I will step down from my position as CEO of The Access Challenge. 

I am thrilled to share with you all that effective June 21, 2024, leadership of The Access Challenge will pass to Ambassador Togolani Mavura as Co-Board Chair and Asad Lilani as CEO. Ambassador Togolani Mavura  is currently serving as Tanzanian Ambassador to South Korea and previously served as the Private Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Personal Assistant to the President, and Private Secretary to the Former President, H.E. Dr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete. Mr. Mavura is also a member of the Africa Advisory Board of Save the Children UK and an alumnus of the UK FCO Future Leadership Program.  Asad Lilani has had years of experience working in global health policy advocacy. Asad led The Access Challenge’s African Union engagement and, in partnership with the Africa CDC, led The Access Challenge’s COVID-19 response.  

During my leadership through the years across organizations like Malaria No More, Speak Up Africa, and The Access Challenge, one truth has become abundantly clear: there is no substitute for African voices and leadership in shaping global health priorities, galvanizing action and catalyzing change within local communities. The Access Challenge takes this step alongside leading partners like ONE, USAID, and the White Ribbon Alliance who have each prioritized investment in country-based partners through deliberate localization agendas.  

While prioritizing national and local leadership has been a core component of the mission of The Access Challenge since its inception, it is time for our organization to catalyze theory into action by integrating it into the fabric of our leadership structure. This transition represents more than a passing of the torch; it signifies a conscious transfer of leadership from the hands of those who have historically held power to the young African leaders who will be able to reflect continental priorities. My decision to step down paves the way for young African leaders to have the space they deserve to make critical decisions on African and global stages.

 Approximately 75% percent of Africa’s population is under 35. The Access Challenge recognizes the urgent need to empower the young leaders of tomorrow by putting them in leadership positions today. Who sits at tables where priorities are established matters as much as the agendas considered.   

Moving forward, I will take on a new role as Co-Chairman of the Board of Directors, sharing the role with Ambassador Mavura. Together with the rest of the Access Challenge Board, we will work to ensure a sustainable future for The Access Challenge.

 As we hand the reins to Ambassador Mavura and Mr. Lilani, I am filled with optimism for the future, not just of our organization, but for a continent where youth leaders are stepping out in dramatic ways.  

I would like to extend my heartfelt appreciation to each and every one of you who have played critical roles in The Access Challenge’s remarkable voyage. Your collaboration and unwavering commitment to our mission have been the cornerstones of our success. I’m proud of our commitment to join a growing cohort of global organizations who are taking action to prioritize localization and to make space for new leaders and their perspectives. Together, let’s usher in a new era of global health - one whose leadership reflects the lived experience of the target of our program’s beneficiaries.

With gratitude, 

Kate Campana