The Custodians of African Literature (COAL) in partnership with the Avoidable Deaths Network and the University of Leicester, is proud to announce the launch of the “Poets for Avoidable Deaths” campaign. This innovative initiative aims to shed light on the pressing issue of preventable deaths caused by disasters and other hazards in Sub-Saharan Africa and other developing regions.

The campaign will leverage the power of spoken word poetry to elevate the voices of youth and advocate for policy changes and governance interventions aimed at saving lives. By focusing on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to poverty reduction, sustainable development, and climate action, “Poets for Avoidable Deaths” seeks to foster awareness and advocacy for reducing avoidable disaster deaths globally.

Key campaign dates include:

  • March 8, 2024 (International Women’s Day): Launch of maternal mortality campaign
  • March 12, 2024 (International Awareness Day for Avoidable Deaths – IAD4AD): Launch of campaign on Snakebite. 
  • March 21, 2024 (World Poetry Day): Launch of campaign on Scoliosis: 
  • March 26, 2024: Launch of campaign on Drowning
  • Expert Webinar: Date to be announced, featuring poets, researchers from the University of Leicester, and international development experts working on target issues.  Register here: 

The “Poets for Avoidable Deaths” campaign aims to address the imperative need for increased disaster risk reduction awareness and governance interventions in lower-income countries, where high mortality rates from extreme weather, climate, and seismic hazards persist. By empowering young poets in Africa to take charge of their voice and agency, the campaign will spotlight the unconscionable realities around avoidable disaster deaths and promote urgent policy change through an art form that resonates across cultures.

Through impactful poetry disseminated via social media and other channels, the campaign’s awareness materials and calls for commitments will create a ripple effect, fostering long-term behavioral change for officials, donors, and communities to prioritize disaster preparedness and infrastructure investments.

We invite journalists, influencers, policymakers, and concerned citizens to join us in supporting the “Poets for Avoidable Deaths” campaign as we strive to prevent unnecessary loss of life and promote resilience in vulnerable communities.


We urge individuals, policymakers, and stakeholders to take decisive action in support of the “Poets for Avoidable Deaths” campaign. Here’s how you can make a difference:

  • Raise Awareness: Share information about the campaign and its objectives with your networks. Use social media, community events, and other platforms to spread the word and amplify our message.
  • Advocate for Change: Call on policymakers to prioritize disaster risk reduction, healthcare access, and policy change in vulnerable communities. Write to your local representatives, participate in advocacy campaigns, and demand action to prevent avoidable deaths.
  • Participate in Campaign Events: Join us for the upcoming campaign launches and expert webinars to learn more about the issues and contribute to meaningful dialogue and advocacy efforts.
  • Support Youth Voices: Empower young poets and activists in Africa to drive change in their communities. Listen to their stories, amplify their voices, and provide support and resources to help them make a difference.

Together, we can make a tangible impact in reducing avoidable deaths and building more resilient communities. Join us in supporting the “Poets for Avoidable Deaths” campaign and together, let’s create a future where every life is valued and protected.

Message from University of Leicester

Professor Henrietta O’Connor (Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of Leicester)

 “We are delighted to mark the first year of the Avoidable Deaths Network’s public engagement Global Campaign: International Awareness Day for Avoidable Deaths (IAD4AD) and join our members in more than 13 countries pledging to support it in March this year.

“Reducing avoidable deaths requires an approach that involves key stakeholders at local, national, regional and global level and progress is achievable because theoretical and practical solutions exist.

“International collaboration for sustainable development is at the heart of the University of Leicester’s mission, and we are incredibly proud of our colleagues for shining a light on avoidable deaths and driving positive change in this area.”



Throughout March 2024, the Poets for Avoidable Deaths campaign will launch a series of four targeted campaigns, each focusing on a specific cause of disaster deaths: maternal mortality, snakebite, Silicosis, and drowning. These campaigns have been strategically scheduled to coincide with significant international observances, maximizing their impact and reach.

The first campaign will be launched on International Women’s Day, highlighting the tragic reality of maternal mortality and its devastating impact on families and communities. This will be followed by a campaign on snakebite, launched on the International Awareness Day for Avoidable Deaths, shedding light on the often-overlooked issue of snakebite envenoming and the urgent need for improved access to antivenom and medical care.
On World Poetry Day, the campaign will focus on Silicosis, a debilitating and often fatal occupational lung disease caused by exposure to silica dust. This campaign will raise awareness about the importance of workplace safety measures and the need for better protection for workers in high-risk industries.
Finally, the campaign will dedicate a day to the issue of drowning prevention, recognizing the staggering number of lives lost each year due to drowning incidents, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. This campaign will emphasize the importance of water safety education, the provision of life-saving equipment, and the development of effective drowning prevention strategies.



  • When preventable deaths occur, we must ask: “What can we do to stop this?”
  • When communities are at risk, we must advocate for better policies and resources.
  • When lives are unnecessarily lost, we must take action.
  • And we must do this each time, every time.


  • Recognizing that preventing avoidable deaths is a global responsibility that requires the participation of individuals, communities, organizations, and governments worldwide.
  • Encouraging people to take action in their own spheres of influence, whether at home, at work, or in their communities, to prevent avoidable deaths.
  • Promoting a culture of safety and preparedness, where individuals and organizations prioritize the prevention of avoidable deaths in all aspects of their lives and operations.
  • Advocating for policies and practices that ensure equal access to essential health services, disaster preparedness, and risk reduction measures, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status.
  • Fostering partnerships and collaborations between different sectors and stakeholders to address the complex and multifaceted nature of avoidable deaths.
  • Investing in education and awareness campaigns that empower individuals and communities with the knowledge and skills they need to prevent avoidable deaths.
  • Supporting research and innovation that leads to the development of new tools, technologies, and approaches for preventing avoidable deaths.
  • Encouraging businesses and employers to prioritize the health and safety of their workers, and to adopt policies and practices that minimize the risk of avoidable deaths in the workplace.
  • Promoting the inclusion and leadership of women and girls in efforts to prevent avoidable deaths, recognizing their unique vulnerabilities and their critical role in building resilient communities.
  • Mobilizing resources and support for initiatives that address the root causes of avoidable deaths, such as poverty, inequality, and lack of access to education and healthcare.
  • Celebrating the efforts and achievements of individuals, organizations, and communities that are making a difference in preventing avoidable deaths, and inspiring others to follow their example.
  • Encouraging people to share their own stories and experiences related to avoidable deaths, and to use their voices to raise awareness and inspire action.
  • Recognizing that preventing avoidable deaths is an ongoing effort that requires sustained commitment, collaboration, and support from all sectors of society.
  • Emphasizing the importance of cultural sensitivity and respect for diversity in efforts to prevent avoidable deaths, and ensuring that interventions are tailored to the unique needs and contexts of different communities.
  • Calling on everyone, everywhere, to take responsibility for preventing avoidable deaths in their own lives and in the lives of those around them, and to work together towards a safer, healthier, and more equitable world.
  • Educate yourself about the causes and risk factors associated with avoidable deaths, such as maternal mortality, drowning, snakebite envenoming, and occupational hazards like silicosis.
  • Share your knowledge with others, raising awareness about the preventable nature of these deaths and the importance of taking action to reduce their occurrence.
  • Advocate for policies and programs that prioritize the prevention of avoidable deaths, such as improving access to quality healthcare, strengthening occupational safety regulations, and investing in disaster risk reduction measures.
  • Support organizations and initiatives that work to prevent avoidable deaths, whether through volunteering, donating, or spreading the word about their efforts.
  • Promote a culture of safety and risk reduction in your own life, at work, and in your community, by following best practices and encouraging others to do the same.
  • Participate in community-based efforts to improve emergency preparedness, such as first aid training, disaster drills, and the development of early warning systems.
  • Use your voice and platform to call attention to the issue of avoidable deaths, whether through social media, public speaking, or other forms of advocacy.
  • Encourage your workplace, school, or community organization to prioritize the prevention of avoidable deaths, such as by providing training on occupational safety or supporting maternal health initiatives.
  • Hold leaders and decision-makers accountable for their role in preventing avoidable deaths, by advocating for policies and investments that prioritize the health and safety of all people.
  • Support research and innovation that aims to develop new solutions and approaches to preventing avoidable deaths, such as improved diagnostic tools, safer work practices, or more effective treatments.
  • Empower women and girls to take an active role in preventing avoidable deaths, by supporting their education, leadership, and participation in decision-making processes.
  • Foster a sense of collective responsibility for preventing avoidable deaths, recognizing that everyone has a role to play in creating a safer and healthier world.
  • Challenge social norms and practices that contribute to avoidable deaths, such as gender inequality, stigma around certain health conditions, or lack of access to education and resources.
  • Collaborate with others who share your commitment to preventing avoidable deaths, building partnerships and networks that can amplify your impact and reach.
  • Commit to taking action, no matter how small, to prevent avoidable deaths in your own life and in the lives of those around you, and inspire others to do the same.


Are you in? Will you take action to prevent avoidable deaths?

  • Share our campaign video, tag us for reshares
  • Share any of our campaign banners and tag us for reshares to show solidarity. When we truly value every life, action comes from the heart.
  • Inspire others to help prevent avoidable deaths by sharing your banner across social media using the following hashtags:








Collectively, anyone can participate through whatever activity is most relevant and impactful for their own context.

Everyone everywhere can build on the Avoidable Deaths Network’s mission to help prevent needless loss of life, especially among women and girls.


Collectively, let’s #DoOneThing to save lives and build a safer, more equitable world for all.