Campaign for clean air and healthier public spaces

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Passionate about clean air and healthier public spaces for physical activity in your city? Join the Cityzens for Clean Air campaign!

What’s the Cityzens for Clean Air Campaign about?

The Cityzens for Clean Air campaign, part of the UrbanBetter Cityzens initiative, aims to amplify youth voices with advocacy on air pollution, climate and health using citizen scientist data generated by young people.

The campaign is highlighting

  • the existing inadequacies in the measurement of air quality within rapidly urbanising African cities and the importance of access to healthy public spaces conducive to physical activity
  • the crucial role that young people can and should play in developing interventions that shape the urban health environment for health and climate resilience.

What did we do?

Using an open call for applications, young people aged 18-35 years in Cape Town, Accra and Lagos were invited to apply to be citizen scientist runners. In each city, successful applicants attended a 2-day workshop between July and September 2022 to co-design and implement a campaign on clean air, physical activity and healthy public space.

The citizen scientists, also known as Run Leaders, each designed a running route and recruited members of the public to join them on their run. The routes were designed to capture diverse socio-economic levels across the cities. Between July-September 2022, Run Leaders, joined by over 200 other co-runners they’d recruited, took to the streets of Cape Town, Accra and Lagos to run their designated 5-10km routes.

During the runs, they collected data on air quality using wearable sensors. Using a bespoke mobile application, citizen scientists also captured multimedia (photo, audio, video, text) geocoded data on aspects of the built environment that influence health and perceived sources of polluted or clean air encountered during the run.

These data were integrated on the Cityzens interactive data platform enabling cityzens to interrogate how the data the captured using the app compared to the data from the sensors.

What’s next?

In late September/early November, the Run Leaders were re-convened in a second workshop in each city. They reviewed the results from the data they generated during their runs and used this information to design an advocacy campaign that they will be implementing in October and November in the run up to the COP27 meeting in Egypt.


The advocacy campaign is in 2 parts:

  1. Between late October – early November, there will be clean air runs organised by Run Leaders across Cape Town, Lagos and Accra.
  2. On the 10th November, to coincide with the Youth and Science-themed days at COP27, there will be a social media campaign to highlight the importance of air pollution as central to both health and climate, the inadequacy of measurement in most cities, the inequity within cities and the critical role that young people can play in devising solutions. 

In addition, this initiative will be showcased in Egypt at the COP27 meeting in various sessions in the Youth and Health Pavillions and in an exhibit from 10-12 November at the COP27 venue.

How can you participate?

1. From now to early November, join one of the runs in Lagos, Accra or Cape Town and take photos of yourself / your group running. If you can, make a banner using any of the slogans in the advocacy toolkit designed by Run Leaders.

2. If you don’t live in any of those cities, organise your own run with friends and take photos of yourself / your group running. If you can, make a banner using any of the slogans and hashtags in the advocacy toolkit designed by Run Leaders. 

3. On 10 November, add your voice to the issue and join the social media mobilisation for clean air by:

  • Posting your photos and videos from the various runs using the hashtags #CleanAirAccra  #CleanAirLagos  #CleanAirCT #Cityzens4CleanAir #CleanairCOP27
  • Sharing your opinion on Twitter, Instagram and Instagram on air quality in Africa or globally 
  • Looking out for posts using the hashtags  #CleanAirAccra  #CleanAirLagos  #CleanAirCT #Cityzens4CleanAir #CleanairCOP27 and like, share, retweet
  • Sharing this message and toolkit with family and friends and encouraging them to join in runs and on social media on 10 November. 

Check out the advocacy toolkit for hashtags, pre-drafted social media posts, slogans and designed banners that you can print and use during your runs.

We’ll look out for, and amplify your contribution through our various platforms. Remember, we need a high volume and quality of posts to make this happen! And especially looking for people to commit to posting or sharing (at least) one post on 10th November 2022.


Read a selection of the project’s media coverage..


Read about the campaign outcomes in the run up to and at COP27

Find out more about the UrbanBetter Cityzens mission..

..& Join us to make the UrbanBetter, one breath and one run at a time…

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