Zambian tobacco control advocate receives first-ever Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids Global Young Ambassador Award

African tobacco control advocate Given Kapolyo of Lusaka, Zambia, will become the first-ever recipient of the Global Young Ambassador of the Year Award from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK) for her leadership in working to reduce tobacco use and pass a comprehensive tobacco control bill in Zambia. Ms. Kapolyo will be honoured at Tobacco-Free Kids’ annual awards celebration on May 9 in Washington, D.C., along with other young leaders and public health champions from around the world.

Established this year, the Global Young Ambassador of the Year Award recognises a young adult who has demonstrated excellence in tobacco prevention by driving policy change, through mobilising peers or in media advocacy.

“Given is a passionate young leader who is sparking change in her country, and she is highly deserving of our first Global Young Ambassador of the Year Award,” said Yolonda C. Richardson, President and CEO of CTFK. “Given’s work demonstrates the power of advocacy to achieve meaningful change and create a healthier future in Zambia and Africa. She is an inspiration for all of us.”

Serving as Campaigns and Mobilisation Officer at the Centre for Trade Policy and Development, Kapolyo has played a leading role in advancing Zambia’s comprehensive tobacco control bill, which includes 100 percent smoke-free public places, pictorial health warnings on tobacco products, regulations on emerging tobacco products and a ban on tobacco advertising.

“I am thrilled to be the first Global Young Ambassador of the Year,” Kapolyo said. “This award will give me the platform to keep pushing for change in Zambia, to keep lifting up youth voices and to cross the finish line with a comprehensive tobacco control bill for Zambia – and for all of Africa.”

CTFK regional co-ordinator for Zambia, Dr Anita Kaluba, says, “Given has done a remarkable job in recruiting, training and mentoring youth in Zambia, activating young voices for change. Her work has had a direct influence on moving tobacco control forward in Zambia and this award is well-deserved.”

Africa has a strong cohort of ambassadors working to drive change in tobacco control across the continent. South Africa hosted youth from all over Africa at the inaugural Africa Young Ambassadors Summit in 2023, strengthening vital links between the Africa regional cohort and the Global Young Ambassadors Network.

“Our ambassadors like Given are at the forefront of the battle against tobacco use in Africa and we are so proud that the first award comes home to Africa, recognising the exceptional work taking place here,” says Bintou Camara, Director of CTFK Africa. “We need these young voices to speak out against the tobacco industry, influence policy and be part of shaping a tobacco-free future across the continent.”

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is the leading advocacy organisation working to reduce tobacco use and its deadly consequences in the United States and around the world.

Through strategic communications and policy advocacy campaigns, we promote the adoption of evidence-based policies that are most effective at reducing tobacco use and save the most lives. Our Global Health Advocacy Incubator builds on the successes and lessons learned in the fight against tobacco to support civil society organizations working to tackle other critical public health challenges across the globe.


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