In the lead up to this summer’s AIDS2020:Virtual (International AIDS Conference 2020), we initiated the ahead hackathon from July 3rd to July 5th 2020. The goal was to create new, innovative ideas and find solutions to solve the most pressing challenges of the young generation globally. It was a great success. 

More than 350 attendees from 20 countries participated and worked together in groups in order to design their very own project ideas in four different pillars. In the end, as there could only be one winner in each pillar, the groups pitched their ideas to a panel of judges. Five and a half months later, we would like to present each pillar’s winners, their project and what they have been able to achieve, so far. This article is the first in a four part series. 

Here’s all about the winners of PILLAR 1: TREATMENT, TESTING & CARE: Youth for Action with Advocate for Action. Their names are Rogers Omollo, Shantal Kisimba, Sharon Khalayi, Collins Odhiambo and Moses Moseti.

If Youth for Action were given the chance to send a message to every person on Earth they’d say two things: “Put young people at the center of change!” and “Nothing for us without us!” – sentiments, we share. Their project Advocate for Action focuses on youth-led action in order to ensure young people are included in creating policy and a social environment supportive of HIV testing and counselling in Kenya. By engaging young people to get involved as peer educators, mentors or service mobilizers, Advocate for Action aims to further community education and training on HIV and stigma. 

After competing in the ahead hackathon, Youth for Action created a youth task force to advise and participate in county level advocacy and sensitization as well as strengthen youth-led community action on HIV testing services. Besides their direct involvement in communities, strengthening their relationship with the government and other stakeholders in order to facilitate collaborative efforts is a priority, as well. 

Another priority for them is strengthening local and international collaborations between Advocate for Action and other youth-led organizations in order to share learnings and innovations.

We are very excited for what the future holds for Advocate for Action. You inspire us – keep up the good work!