“4 Youth By Youth in Action”: the 2022 PrEP4Youth Designathon

Fifty-four youth of 15 teams participated in 4 Youth By Youth’s third Designathon event at the Digital Bridge Institute in Oshodi, Lagos, Nigeria. The PrEP4Youth Designathon was centered around designing innovative and unique solutions to promote PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) and deliver PrEP solutions among Nigerian youth. Youth aged 17-24 years old collaborated in teams of 2-5 members and spent two days, April 8-9, 2022, designing their ideas to tackle barriers related to PrEP accessibility, availability, adherence, and awareness. Throughout the first two days, the teams received the opportunity to discuss their ideas with the nine mentors, who offered advice and support to the youth teams. On the final day, April 10, 2022, the youth pitched their ideas to a group of judges, and three teams were selected as finalists. The PrEP4Youth Designathon was an enriching experience for the participants, mentors, judges, and research staff. Ponmile Idaresit Ogunjemite, a 4YBY Youth Ambassador and cohost of the  PrEP4Youth 2022 Designathon reflected, “One thing I love about the 4 Youth By Youth community is the fine blend of local and international partners.” 

Day 1

On the first day of the 4YBY PrEP4Youth Designathon, we set the context for the next three days. The youth ambassadors and research team held a presentation on HIV prevention among youth in Nigeria and an informational on PrEP so the youth could begin thinking of the problem in Nigeria. We then had two panel discussions: 1) “The current landscape of PrEP services for HIV prevention in Nigeria (including challenges and facilitators of PrEP delivery” and 2) “Youth Leadership: Hear experiences from 4YBY youth ambassadors as they discuss their field experiences”. The first panel included mentors with expertise in HIV, PrEP and sexual and reproductive health, while the second panel highlighted experience’s from previous 4YBY Designathon participants. The panels gave the teams a chance to learn more and ask questions about both PrEP in Nigeria and the designathon. In the afternoon, the youth learned how to effectively present, or pitch, their design ideas and create a user journey map to tell how a “user” would utilize and benefit from their solution. Following the events, to give the youth information on PrEP and project deliverables, the youth teams were given time to discuss their ideas with each other and with the mentors.

Day 2

Day 2 was mainly focused on prototyping and teams receiving expert feedback. The youth designed and further expanded their ideas, again with feedback from the mentors. The teams sat down with the 4YBY research team and youth ambassadors to practice their pitch deck and received constructive feedback to think about and implement before their final pitch in front of the judges the following day.

Day 3

On day 3, the 15 teams pitched their solutions to the judges. Each team received 5 minutes to present their idea and then participated in a 10 minute Q&A session with the judges in hopes of being one of the three teams to receive the cash prize and/or advance to the 4-week boot camp where teams fully designed their solution alongside mentors. The teams were judged on desirability, feasibility, innovation, impact, and teamwork.

The presentations were exceptional. Seeing the youth engage in the PrEP4Youth Designathon and pitch their ideas before the judges was inspiring. The youth were driven, focused, and excited about their ideas to aid in the promotion and delivery of PrEP to reduce the rate of HIV infection among Nigerian youth. Their ideas were not only bold, creative, and full of passion, but they were stories. Stories of Nigerian youth, stories of themselves, stories told to change the path ahead of them. They proved changing the future is ultimately for youth by youth. Ezienyi Nwanunu, a 4YBY Ambassador and cohost of the PrEP4Youth 2022 Designathon, stated, “The designathon once again has proven that there is nothing for youth without youth. The ideas and solutions designed in 72 hours by these young champs showed that with the right platform African youth will solve problems facing them.”

The top three teams, Team iDoc (3rd place), Team Age (2nd place), and Team Binta (1st place) were awarded cash prizes. All designathon participants received a certificate to congratulate and thank them for their participation in the successful PrEP4Youth 2022 Designathon. Vivian Maduekwe from Team QuickPrEP said, “The designathon was a life-changing experience for me; I gained invaluable knowledge and made incredible connections with mentors and friends.” Oluwakorede Adedeji from Team Binta agreed, stating, “The designathon was indeed a wonderful 72-hour experience. The mentors, participants, and judges were all helpful.” The top seven teams, Team Binta, Team Age, Team iDoc, Team PrEPly, Team Exceptional, Team Dream, and Team Vita, will be advancing to the one-month innovation bootcamp.

First place – Team Binta
Second place – Team Age

Third place – Team iDoc

We are very thankful for our youth and for a successful and inspiring PrEP4Youth 2022 Designathon. Assistant Professor Dr. Ucheoma Nwaozuru of Wake Forest School of Medicine voiced, “The designathon was mind-blowing; I was amazed and in awe with the amazing solutions the young people generated in a short period of time. I learned a lot from them-their tenacity, their focus, and their passion. I look forward to the next steps of their solutions to promote PrEP among Nigerian youth. The designathon is truly “4 Youth By Youth” in action.”

We encourage all Nigerian youth to take a leap of faith and dive into a new adventure. We encourage Nigerian youth to participate in future 4YBY designations. We encourage Nigerian youth to be the change…for youth by youth.

We want to also use this medium to thank all our partners, mentors, and judges who made this event possible. 

Partners: Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), Saint Louis University (SLU), University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill, New York University (NYU) Langone Health, Lagos State AIDS Control Agency, Social Entrepreneurship to Spur Health (SESH), PinPoint Media, Advantage Health Africa, Co-Creation Hub, Centre for Population Health Initiatives (CPHI), Heartland Alliance, New HIV Vaccine and Microbicide Advocacy Society (NHVMAS), YLabs, PATC3H, and NIH (Funded by: Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; Grant number: 1UG3HD096929)

Mentors: Dr. Noimot Balogun, Dr. Sonia Osi, Ms. Adedamola Adebayo, Mr. David Ita, Mrs. Florita Dureke, Mr. Kanayochukwu Okeke, Michael Akanji, Dr. Chinyere Onubogu, and Mr. Abraham Akpan

Judges: Dr. Nkiruka David, Dr. Oladipupo Fisher, Mrs. Abimbola Adebakin, Mr. Folarin Aiyegbusi, Dr. Victoria Isiramen, and Mr. Victor Ojo

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