Advocacy in Action

As part of the Young Leaders Program, Young Leaders will be completing projects in two phases where they will work, individually and collaboratively, to develop advocacy projects that highlight topics that address non-communicable disease (NCD) prevention, control or management. Learn more about the projects below.

YEAR 1 PROJECTS

YEAR 2 PROJECTS

YEAR 1 PROJECTS

Each Young Leader is part of a themed working group that is working on projects to support the non-communicable disease (NCD) agenda and address NCD prevention and management. Learn more about each of the five working groups: CancerMental HealthObesityPeople Living with NCDs (PLWNCDs)Tobacco

Cancer

Topic: Identifying the obstacles of access to adequate care of childhood cancer in LMICs

Members of the project: Majed Mohammed, Ezra Anecho, Yuvreet Kaur,
Dorra Al-Saadoon, Haneen Khalil Hanjeer

Scope of project: Two hundred thousand children and adolescents are diagnosed with cancer annually. Of those, 80 per cent live in low and middle-income countries (LMICs), where survival of childhood cancer is less than 20 per cent. Disparately, high-income countries (HICs) report survival rates in paediatric cancers above 80 per cent. There are a variety of well-reported reasons for the significantly higher mortality in LMIC, including late presentation and under diagnosis, high-abandonment rates, high prevalence of malnutrition and other co-morbidities, suboptimal supportive care and limited access to curative therapies. Less well-reported is the scarcity of multidisciplinary tumour board (MTBs) meetings in LMICs and the effect this has on patient outcomes.

This project aims to provide analytical data to create clear communication actions to generate awareness of the obstacles of childhood cancers on LMICs.

Mental Health

Topic: Mental health in young people

Members of the project: Bruno Helman, Deena Al-Zou’bi, Enow Stevens,
Pierre Cooke, Dina Tadros


Scope of project: The vision behind this project is to document how the mental health of young persons were affected by the numerous lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic. From unofficial accounts and personal experiences, young people were especially challenged by the sudden lockdowns put in place by their various governments to stop the spread of COVID-19. This immediately changed the world as it was for them and the way they operate. Removed from physical contact with their friends and other loved ones, youth all over the world lost one of their major sources of coping with the daily stresses of life and had no other way of managing. With the ever-changing protocols and overload of information regarding the spread of COVID-19, many young people found their mental conditions worsened and others developed new conditions. Reports of depression and anxiety amongst youth increased exponentially during the last year.

This project is intended to document these experiences and make the case for improved mental health support services that can be accessed remotely. It also aims to underscore the importance of educating youth and their parents/guardians on mental health and proper coping mechanisms so that they can provide immediate support to their peers.



Obesity

Topic: A Roadmap to a Healthy & Sustainable Food Environment

Members of the project: Elin Bergstrøm, Mohamed Nimal, Stephanie Whiteman,
Ana Larrañaga, Gabriel Makiriro



Scope of project: There has been a steady increase in research studies concerning the food environment over the past decade, and food environments are now considered key in shaping diets. However, research results tend to stay within academia or other communities already working with food and health issues, and not reach the general public. As the majority of people, and in particular younger generations, are frequent users of social media and the internet, online platforms like blogs, Twitter and Instagram can be used to better communicate up-to-date research and involve people in topics that concern them, such as food, health and sustainability.

Communication particularly targeted towards young people can play a key role in inspiring action and change, and influence future leaders to fight for healthy and sustainable food environments.

This project will take the form of a communication strategy and aim to create a blog that communicates recent research around food environments to the public in an easy, understandable and accessible way, all in an effort to bridge the gap between academia and the general public.

People living with NCDs (PLWNCDs)

Topic: Fighting Stigma and Discrimination among Youth Living with Non-communicable Diseases

Members of the project: Shakira Choonara, Joab Wako, Alex Kwok,
Apoorva Gomber, Anita Bulindi

Scope of project: According to the 2021 World Health Organization Consultation, “Opportunities for meaningful engagement of people living with non-communicable diseases (PLWNCDs) and care-givers” highlights the need for the creation of a virtual platform to share, learn, exchange, connect and raise awareness on complex lived experiences. Importantly, these stories must be shared to provide peer support, nurture understandings, integration into environments, and ultimately tackle stigma and discrimination experienced by PLWNCDs.

This project aims to listen to and provide a platform for the PLWNCDs community, especially youth living with NCDs (YLWNCDs), creating room for intergenerational learning and action. The project aims to ensure PLWNCDs, specifically youth and care-givers across the world can share their stories and be meaningfully engaged, at all levels, allowing them to speak about their unique needs and solutions and ultimately shaping the direction of the NCD response.

Part 1:

Stay tuned for part 2 of the project coming soon!

Tobacco

Topic: Review of tobacco control and prevention across four regions of the globe from a youth perspective including taxation, marketing and CSR strategies

Members of the project: Huda Alabed, Louise Johansson, Sophie Manoy,
Toyyib Oladimeji Abdulkareem, Mohammad Musa Shukoor



Scope of project: This project will use the voice of youth to expose the tobacco industry strategies in their regions. Big Tobacco collaborates globally – and so do young people. This group has the benefit of being spread across the globe and will use their knowledge and perspectives for better tobacco prevention and control.


This project aims to raise awareness of current tobacco control and prevention measures for those reading the group’s article (e.g. policymakers, public health readers, youth themselves). It will include a call to action to encourage progress in this space. There is the potential to expand this into an advocacy project and use multiple channels to reach different target groups with specific messages that arise from the article.

YEAR 2 PROJECTS

Young Leaders, individually and collectively, will develop, implement and evaluate a larger scale advocacy project of their choice that addresses NCD prevention, control or treatment at the community, national or global level.

Projects:
Ezra Anecho (Uganda): A Pilot Digital Survivorship Advocacy Campaign Targeting Treatment Abandonment and Herbal Medicine Abuse

Bruno Helman (Brazil): Type Healthy (Tipo Saudável) – promoting social justice through health promotion.

Ana Larranaga (Mexico/UK): “Stop targeting us!: Influencer marketing and unhealthy commodities advertising aimed at children and youth in digital spaces”

Gabriel Makiriro (Rwanda): Families Integration in Type 1 Diabetes Self-care and Control in Rural and Suburban Impoverished Communities in Rwanda

Sophie Manoy (Australia): Young Cancer Collaborative Australia (YCC-A)

Joab Wako (Kenya): Organic Tales

Stephanie Whiteman (Barbados): Caribbean Youth Mental Health Call to Action

PLWNCDs Working Group – Anita Bulindi (Tanzania), Apoorva Gomber (India), Alex Kwok (Canada), Joab Wako (Kenya), Shakira Choonara (South Africa): Stand Up Speak Out: A Campaign Tackling Stigma & Discrimination among People Living with Non-communicable Diseases

Stay tuned for more information on year 2 projects.