Global Youth NTD Storytelling Festival

In December 2020, we launched a storytelling competition and encouraged young people to share their stories and experiences about neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). The response was overwhelming: over 400 entries were submitted from 39 different countries around the world.

Judges were so impressed with the standard of competition that we showcased 40 of the shortlisted submissions in a virtual art gallery and hosted a week-long, storytelling festival – The Power of Storytelling – from 1 April – 8 April.

Why storytelling?

Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) affect over 1.7 billion people. Over a billion of those people are children. The effects of NTDs are devastating. They prevent children from being able to go to school and from playing with their friends; they impair children’s cognitive and physical development. A child may contract an NTD at an early age, but the effects of that disease could last a lifetime.

But rather than have their lives determined by NTDs, young people around the world are fighting back. By uniting together and using the power of their collective voice, young people are sharing their stories to demand action is taken to beat NTDs.

The Youth storytelling competition is a drumbeat to the Kigali Summit on Malaria and NTDs as part of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in June and will help galvanise global support for NTDs that will culminate into tangible commitments from countries that will be announced on the stage in Rwanda.

Awards ceremony

On 8 April we hosted an awards ceremony, where prizes worth US$25,000 were given to the winning artists.

You can watch the recording here

Meet the 15 winners

Meet the Jurors

Professor Francisca MutapiProfessor Francisca Mutapi is a pioneering researcher working on NTDs and is a practising visual artist who has been painting and exhibiting works for over 30 years in Africa and the UK.

John Momoh (OON) is Chairman of Channels Media Group and Chief Executive Officer of Channels Television. John serves as a JUROR for the annual International ‘Emmy Awards’ and the ‘AIB’ Awards UK, organised by The Association for International Broadcasting.

Nomaza Nongqunga Coupez is the founder of Undiscover Canvass, a company which promotes African artists in France. In 2017, Nomaza was appointed by French President Emmanuel Macron to serve on the Conseil Presidential pour Afrique (CPA).

H.E. Prof. Sarah Anyang Agbor, is the Commissioner for Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, (ESTI) at the African Union. She is a Cameroonian and Professor of African and Commonwealth Literatures. She has sat in numerous juries, authored two textbooks, and was a visiting Fulbright Scholar in residence at the University of Scranton, PA in 2004-2005 where she taught Modern African Drama and Prose and created an African library for the school.

Kevin Cahill, CBE, is the Life President of Comic Relief and Chair of ZERO30 Media. Kevin served as Chief Executive of Comic Relief for more than 26 years where he had creative charge of education, TV, publicity/PR and press and media and Sport Relief. Kevin played a key role in the Make Poverty History and Live 8 campaigns. In 2007 Kevin was awarded the CBE for services to charity.

Danielle Alakija currently serves as a Goalkeeper, Global Goals Ambassador for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Her focus lies primarily in long-form poetry and prose, with publications in LG18, Stars, and performances with UK Young Artists’ and the United Nations World Food Programme. Her most recent project is in long form prose dealing with the social and cultural effects of climate change on LMIC’s.

Pradip Romay, AKA Narayan Romay, is a multi-disciplined filmmaker with credits to his name, as a producer, director, composer and sound designer. Born in Mexico, in the city of Guadalajara, his passion for film started at an early age whilst playing a small role in a film as a school boy. Further cementing his passion he enrolled UCLA’s television and film program.

Founder of Drue Kataoka Studios, Artist & Technologist Drue Kataoka
Drue Kataoka is an artist-technologist-activist & CEO of Drue Kataoka Art Studios LLC (www.Drue.Net), serving some of the world’s top collectors in 5 continents & over 30 countries. She creates commissioned artworks in both material art genres such as steel sculpture and painting as well as virtual reality. Her artwork Up! was featured in the first zero gravity art exhibit at the International Space Station, and she is an Advisory Board Member of Space for Humanity.

Originally from Costa Rica, Stephan Dyer is a banker-turned-comedian with 600-plus shows in eight countries, including Peru, Mexico, and Malaysia. In 2017, after becoming one of the youngest senior managers at Scotiabank Toronto, he quit his lucrative bank job to pursue his professional career in stand-up comedy.

Read the full jurors bios here

Get involved

Help spread the word by sharing the Virtual Art gallery with your friends and family.

Virtual Art Gallery

Partners & Supporters



In December 2020, we launched a storytelling competition and encouraged young people to share their stories and experiences about neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). The response was overwhelming: over 400 entries were submitted from 39 different countries around the world.

Judges were so impressed with the standard of competition that we showcased 40 of the shortlisted submissions in a virtual art gallery and hosted a week-long, storytelling festival – The Power of Storytelling – from 1 April – 8 April.


Our mailing address is:

Uniting to Combat NTDs
35 Perrymount Road Haywards Heath,
West Sussex,
RH16 3BW
United Kingdom