The following post originally appeared on the Art for AIDS International Blog on 24 April 2012
In 2011, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) challenged young people from around the world to collaborate and crowdsource the next global HIV strategy. Today, after five months of collaborative efforts, youth leaders from around the world met in Abuju Nigeria to present CrowdOutAIDS to UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé; a new strategy produced by more than 5000 young people from 79 countries that will guide the UNAIDS Secretariat’s work on HIV and young people through 2015.
Leveraging social media and new crowdsourcing technology enabled young people to shape the future of the global response to AIDS, a first in United Nations history. “It brought decision-making to the grassroots, to the skilled and unskilled, learned and unlearned, rich and poor, to contribute to an issue that affects all our lives: HIV,” said Nigerian activist Gabriel Adeyemo.
“I am so impressed by the dedication, energy and enthusiasm that young people have shown through the CrowdOutAIDS initiative,” said Mr Sidibé. “The recommendations they have presented to UNAIDS will help us mobilize a new generation of young leaders and we will work together to stop new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths.”
Globally, its estimated that five million young people (15-24 years of age) are living with HIV. About 3000 young people are newly infected with HIV each day. According to recent surveys in low- and middle-income countries, only 24% of young women and 36% of young men responded correctly when asked questions on HIV prevention and transmission.
Through CrowdOutAIDS, young people proposed six key recommendations for the UNAIDS Secretariat:
- Strengthen young people’s skills for effective leadership at all levels of the AIDS response;
- Ensure the full participation of youth in the AIDS response at country, regional, and global levels;
- Improve young people’s access to HIV-related information;
- Diversify and strengthen strategic networks between the UNAIDS Secretariat, youth networks, and other key players;
- Increase the UNAIDS Secretariat’s outreach to both formal and informal networks of young people; and,
- Increase young people’s access to financial support.
“We have worked together, using the simplest tools—each one of us in their own corner of the world—to create spaces of exchange and draft this important document in real-time, public online sessions,” said Zahra Benyahia, a CrowdOutAIDS drafting committee member. “This is not the end. It’s the first step toward revolutionary youth leadership in the AIDS response.”
Photo Source: CrowdOutAIDS