Leveraging youth engagement for the Success of the New Public Health Order for Africa
African youth constitute over 65% of the African population, and behind this number are young health professionals and health advocates who hold great potential to innovate and advance Africa’s health. They play a critical role in African countries in promoting public health and reaching communities and thus, are partners, assets, and a prerequisite for the successful implementation of Africa CDC’s New Public Health Order for Africa and driving health security on the continent and internationally.
Acknowledging this, Africa CDC has been engaging African youth through initiatives such as the AU COVID-19 Vaccination Bingwa Initiative and Africa CDC’s inaugural Youth Advisory Team for Health (YAT4H). Another key element of Africa CDC’s youth engagement efforts is its Youth Conference, an annual event that brings together young people from across the African continent to discuss and strategize on issues related to health. The conference provides a platform for young people to engage with public health experts, policymakers, and other stakeholders to share ideas, experiences, and best practices in addressing health challenges on the continent.
The inaugural Youth Pre-Conference was held on 10–11 December 2022 in Kigali, Rwanda prior to the 2nd annual International Conference on Public Health in Africa (CPHIA) 2022. Its aim was to kick-start a long-term strategic engagement between Africa CDC and young people to advance sustainable health security in Africa. Participants of the conference called for inclusive youth engagement, youth involvement in decision-making, facilitation of a collaborative intracontinental network, and building the capacity of emerging public health leaders to advance sustainable health security in Africa.
Against this background and reflecting its commitment to meaningfully engage young people, The second edition of Africa CDC’s Youth Pre Conference (YPC 2023), with the theme “Youth Leadership for a safer and healthier Africa”, will be held in an in-person format on 25–26 November in Lusaka, Zambia, prior to the 3rd CPHIA (CPHIA 2023). Its aim is to continue and intensify the conversation on youth engagement at Africa CDC and to provide a platform for exchange on innovative solutions to institutionalise youth leadership in public health on African the continent.
Objective and Expected Outcomes
The overall goal of the Africa CDC Youth Pre Conference is to advance and institutionalise the strategic engagement between Africa CDC and young people by providing a space for young people to critically reflect on the current state of public health in Africa; share perspectives on the role of young people in public health; and exchange on prospects and innovative solutions to enhance meaningful youth engagement in this area.
Provide a collaborative, open and inclusive space for young people to:
- Reflect: build a thorough understanding of the current state of public health in Africa and the role of young people in this area;
- Strategize: define the role of young people in driving innovative solutions to health challenges in their communities and strategize how youth can actively participate in decision-making processes that affect their health and wellbeing and take on leadership roles in the health sector;
- Exchange and brainstorm: explore innovative solutions to health challenges and to institutionalising youth leadership in public health on the African continent;
- Network and collaborate: unite and share their reflections and work on public health and network with peers, public health figures, and mentors (intergenerational as well as peer-to-peer dialogue) to share lessons and experiences on youth engagement in public health;
- Connect: bridge the gap between youth and organisations/initiatives across the continent working on public health in Africa.
A long-term and institutionalised youth engagement to advance Africa CDC goals, the Vision for the New Public Health Order and health security in Africa.
- Young people understand the current state of public health in Africa (incl. Africa CDC goals and its New Public Health Order).
- The role of youth in driving sustainable change in the health outcomes of their communities is defined and feedback is provided on Africa CDC youth engagement initiatives such as the Youth Conference, AU Bingwa Initiative and YAT4H.
- Participants are able to advise on how Africa CDC can institutionalise youth leadership and engagement in the African public health sphere.
- A space is provided for young Africans in public health to unite, to share their reflections and work on public health and to network with peers, public health figures, and find mentors (incl. intergenerational conversation/exchange with experts).
- The Africa CDC Youth Conference has served as a platform to bridge the gap between youth and organisations/initiatives working on public health in Africa.
The 2023 Africa CDC Youth Pre-Conference will take place in-person from 25–26 November 2023 in Lusaka, Zambia. The agenda will include TEDx style talks, workshops, networking and cultural exchange spaces, presentations, and small working groups.
Participants of the Youth Pre Conference will be representatives of each AU Member State as well as public health institutions, health organisations and start-ups, as well as youth-led medical associations and networks.
They will be identified through an open call that will be administered through an online application system. The selection of participants will be based on the following criteria:
- Age: 18 to 35 years
- Location: Applicants must be a citizen of an AU member State
- Experience and expertise: have an educational background (at least enrolled as undergraduate) and first professional experiences in the following areas: medical sciences public health/environmental health technology health
- policy public service and health development cooperation media and journalism (with a focus on health)
- Extensive work experience in public health may be used to supplement the application for those who hold degrees unrelated to health sciences or public health.
- Leadership: participants with demonstrated leadership potential through involvement in youth-led health initiatives, advocacy or community organizing will be prioritised.
- Networks: Participants will be selected from youth-led and -oriented organisations and networks, associations, academia or in individual capacities. Young participants affiliated with a youth-led organisation, network or movement are highly encouraged to apply.
- Commitment: Youth participants must demonstrate a strong commitment to public health engagement in Africa as an advocate or a practitioner.
- Other factors: geographical balance (representation of all AU Member States), diverse ideological and professional backgrounds, gender, ethnic and social diversity, disability status, will be considered in the final selection of participants.
The application shall be opened by 26th June 2023. The deadline is 25th July 2023, 11:59 pm East Africa Time. The selected applicants will be contacted by 25th August 2023.
How to Apply:
Applicants for the 2023 Africa CDC Youth Pre Conference are expected to fill out the application form online with their personal information, educational and professional background attaching:
- A Statement briefly detailing why they want to participate in the Africa CDC Youth Pre Conference, highlighting the role of the youth in advancing sustainable health security in Africa,
- An example of a time when they led a project or demonstrated leadership skills within the public health space,
- A curriculum vitae.
Please find this link for application: https://forms.gle/21yo3sbVNvWqDEA66.
While completing your application please keep the following in mind:
- Exceeding the word count for your essay responses will disadvantage your application. Ensure your essay responses are within 150-250 words.
- You will not be able to change any elements of your application after submission. Before you submit, make sure that all your answers are accurate and the files you have uploaded are the final versions of your documents.
- Complete the form in one sitting to avoid losing your responses. We also suggest writing text responses (e.g., your public health work experience and qualifications) on a separate document and pasting it here after you finish
The conference language is English and French. Interpretation will be provided for both languages.
La version francaise de l’application ci jointe en PDF.
Contact Details of the Coordinating Team