Just a few weeks ago we kicked off the countdown to a once-in-a-generation event: Global Citizen Live. A 24-hour live streamed concert event that’ll include performances from all around the globe in a united stand against poverty. 

Today we're even more thrilled to announce that New York, Paris and Lagos will be host cities for the event, each of them boasting an incredible line-up of musical performances that we're excited to share with you, learn more about the event and who's performing across all three cities here. 

Defeating poverty, defending the planet and demanding equity are important now more than ever with less than 10 years to go to achieve the United Nations’ Global Goals. As such, Global Citizen Live will be a landmark event that’ll provide a platform for the most vulnerable, and will raise commitments from world leaders, philanthropists and business leaders, to tackle and defeat extreme poverty. 

En route to the event on September 25, Global Citizen’s Africa division aims to secure enough commitments to positively impact the lives of one million young people in South Africa, and we’ve called the time between now and then, the Road to One Million. 

These commitments will be above the collective call for world leaders, foundations, and large corporations to defend the planet and defeat poverty that we announced on July 13. Ahead of October’s G20 Summit, we’ll also be calling to African philanthropists and business leaders to stand up against poverty and education inequality on their home continent. 

What is the Global Citizen Live’s Road to One Million Campaign? 

The Road to One Million is an Africa-based sub-campaign of Global Citizen Live, where we’re appealing to leaders in the philanthropy and business spaces to commit to bridging the digital divide in South Africa, and changing as many young lives in the country as possible. The aim is that these collective commitments will ultimately impact one million children and students within the region. 

With the commitments being made on the Road to One Million, we’re calling on commitment-makers to boost efforts aimed at helping the country end digital inequality and prioritise quality education for all children.

Why one million lives and not dollars? 

Africa has been one of the hardest hit regions when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic, with some parts of the continent far from recovering. It has had a devastating impact on much of society including governments and businesses, and financial resources have been dedicated to fighting the pandemic and securing vaccines for the continent. This being considered, in the age of the COVID-19 pandemic, one million dollars might be harder to come by for African philanthropists and business leaders. 

However we acknowledge that each business and philanthropic entity has access to resources that they can devote to the vulnerable that aren’t necessarily financial. Africa’s business leaders and philanthropists can commit the resources they do have to those in need in order to positively impact and change the lives of one million school children and students in South Africa. 

Why is it important? 

Development on the African continent could go several steps backwards as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only has Africa faced a struggle to secure enough COVID-19 vaccines all while watching first-world countries inoculate millions of people, the continent has experienced a significant economic blow because of the pandemic that it will struggle to recover from. 

South Africa has borne witness to increased school dropout rates over the last year, this is due to the economic impact that national lockdowns have had on household incomes and affordability, as well as lower-income children not having access to remote learning online. This is causing a digital divide that could increase South Africa’s already-wide inequality gap.

The Road to One Million is important to help give a significant boost to initiatives that have already started the work of recovering from COVID-19 and making sure that all children everywhere have access to education. 

What has it achieved so far? 

To kick off this campaign, we’re happy to announce commitments from businesses that are leading the way in the worlds of telecommunications, education, and media. Commitments from these businesses include providing students and teachers with access to the internet, providing young South Africans with scholarships, and training courses to help further students’ education. 

We’re happy to announce that Accelerit, Dynamic DNA, HP Computers, the Leadership in Motion Academy, and Multichoice are all making commitments that will impact the lives of 17,600 young people and teachers in South Africa. 

While we’re thrilled to welcome these commitments, we continue to call on more businesses and philanthropists to join us on the road to impacting one million lives in South Africa by 18 September 2021 in time for Global Citizen Live on 25 September 2021. 

How can Global Citizens Help?

You can help by taking action with us to continue to call on businesses and philanthropists in South Africa to commit to the Road to One Million. 

Add your voice to the call to bridge the digital divide in South Africa. We’re calling on big businesses to help bring an end to digital inequality and its effects on education. Share a video with big business in South Africa explaining how you believe the digital divide is currently preventing progress in education. 

You can also take action to help ensure that we defeat the pandemic, so that we can resume learning for everyone, everywhere. To do this, vaccine inequity needs to be eradicated and Africa needs to have access to enough vaccines for its population. 

Call on the African Union (AU) to prioritise vaccines for the continent by tweeting them here. African countries have been calling on the International Monetary Forum to issue Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) — an innovative financing solution that you can learn more about here — to help with COVID-19 response. By taking action, you can help to make sure that these funds are spent on vaccines for the continent. 

You can also take action by calling on pharmaceutical companies to support South Africa’s vaccine production efforts. Email the CEOs of Pfizer and Moderna here calling on them to sign on as supporters of the tech-transfer hub in South Africa.

You can join the Global Citizen Live campaign to defeat poverty and defend the planet by taking action here, and become part of a movement powered by citizens around the world who are taking action together with governments, corporations, and philanthropists to make change.

Global Citizen Explains

Demand Equity

Global Citizen Live’s Road to One Million Campaign: Everything You Need to Know

By Khanyi Mlaba