4YBY World AIDS Day Contest 2022

Background

Youth (ages 14-24) are at increased risk of new HIV infection and experience HIV-related deaths. Ending the HIV epidemic among youths by 2030 must be more than just a slogan; it requires us to actively engage, mobilize and support youth as leaders and agents of social change to make this a reality. It is time to put youths at the front and center in the response to HIV to lead their solutions.

Over the years, significant efforts have been made to end the HIV epidemic. Such that, powerful new tools have helped us to reduce HIV transmission and move us along a path to ending the HIV epidemic. Prevention tools such as HIV Self testing (HIVST), Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), and condoms have been proven to protect against HIV.  The 4 Youth by Youth team has worked in partnership with youths, communities, clinics, and policymakers to ensure that these tools are co-designed with and delivered by the youth themselves. We actively engage youth in deciding what services resonate most with them and learning more about how the opportunities and activities provided by such services have prevented or reduced risks for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) while also increasing their skills and assets overtime.

Our Process

We used a four-step approach to actively engage youth as leaders and build on the strengths and capacity of youths in Nigeria. First, we launch a nationwide open crowdsourcing contest where we solicit ideas and strategies for promoting HIVST and other prevention services over 7 weeks. Crowdsourcing asks a group to solve a problem and then shares solutions with the public. Next, we carry out a 48-hour designathon in which youth teams are invited to create prototypes/user journey maps of their new youth-friendly HIVST services. Finally, during our 4-week Bootcamp aimed at building capacity for research and entrepreneurship, a select group of teams work with industry experts and mentors to refine and finalize their proposed service for improving HIVST and other prevention services for young Nigerians. The finalist teams implement and pilot test their solutions among youth within their communities. Since 2018, we have engaged over 8,000 youths in Nigeria through four crowdsourcing contests, three designathons, two innovation bootcamps in Nigeria, and pilot trials. (see section on “references” below for the links to our publications)

Our process: Step 1- Crowdsourcing open call; Step 2- Designathon; Step 3- Innovation Bootcamp; Step 4 – Pilot Implementation

As a result of the aforementioned processes, we combined key elements from the finalist teams’ solutions to form a single package called “4 Youth by Youth HIV prevention services” that is now being used across 30 local government areas in Nigeria: (1) receiving the HIV self-testing (HIVST) package, which will include an OraQuick HIV self-testing kit, referral coupon to receive free testing for STIs, condoms, female or male hygiene products, and instructions on how to verify the HIVST results; (2) photo verification mobile App or (2) Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) technology as an offline choice to engage youth with limited internet access or no smartphone.

Over the years, we demonstrated the scale of the untapped impact of youth engagement in developing youth-friendly HIV self-testing services. We have shown that if youth are provided with the platform, training, and support to share and implement their solutions on ways to promote preventive services for HIV and STIs in their communities, the use of these services among our youths can increase dramatically. What programs, ideas, and concepts can we take from 4YBY and carry them forward after the research grant ends in 2023? In other words, how do we pass down the torch to the next generation of youth to benefit from these services and achieve an AIDS-free generation?

The Challenge

Many youth-focused services are difficult to sustain. Researchers have recognized this problem as one of the most challenging of our time when it comes to knowing what works and translating what works in practice.  How do we continue to build the momentum needed to maintain the 4 Youth by Youth HIV prevention services while nurturing our existing relationships, practices, procedures, and services that will last in our communities?

How do we define “sustainability”?   “after a defined period—especially after initial funding, the program/services continue to be delivered effectively or as intended while knowing that it may change over time based on external events/influences (i.e. COVID-19).”

The submissions to this open call will be used to design a practical guide for enhancing the sustainability of 4 Youth by Youth HIV prevention services and can be used by a wide range of stakeholders, including HIV researchers, policymakers, and youth HIV advocates across Nigeria and other African countries. Categories for submission include the following: sustaining youth engagement in research; sustaining HIV self-testing in Nigeria; sustaining crowdsourcing and other participatory elements. This could be a plan to sustain in a single local government area, a state, or the entire nation.

Contest prompt: “How might we sustain the 4 Youth by Youth HIV prevention services while nurturing our existing relationships, practices, procedures, and services that will last in our communities?

Formats for submission: texts (500 words maximum) and/or images (less than 5 MB) or videos (less than 3 minutes).  Submissions will be accepted only using our submission form which can be submitted online through our website, email, or WhatsApp.  

Judging: Applications will be reviewed by 4 Youth by Youth Team and affiliated partners, and up to 15 of the most promising teams of innovators will be chosen to participate.  Judging criteria will include the following: (1) a clear description of the proposed solution; (2) desirability of the proposed solution to youth; (3) innovation of the proposed solution; (4) feasibility of implementing the solution to enhance the sustainability of 4 Youth by Youth HIV prevention services among youth; (5) potential for the solution to have a positive impact on the sustainability of 4 Youth by Youth HIV prevention services in Nigeria.

Prizes: Top-scoring finalists will have a chance to win up to N500,000. In addition, finalists will receive a commendation and be invited to further develop their ideas.

Potential Timeline: Launch October 25, deadline November 25, Pitching December 1.

Please click the button below to complete an application. We encourage people of all backgrounds and disciplines to apply!

About 4 Youth By Youth Team

4 Youth by Youth is a team of young people, health professionals, activists, and entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds, who are united by the shared passion to advance Nigerian youth participation in creating innovative, sustainable HIV prevention services.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Who is eligible to participate in this open call?

Anyone between the ages of 14-24 years is eligible to apply.

2. Who is organizing and supporting this open?

The open call is organized by 4YouthByYouth and the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR). We are funded by the US National Institutes of Health NICHD (Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development).

3. What is this open contest asking me to do?

We are looking for creative ideas about solutions to enhance the sustainability 4 Youth by Youth HIV preventive Services.

4. Where can I submit my idea?

You can submit your idea through email (submissions@4yby.org), WhatsApp and Google Forms at bit.ly/4ybywad22.

5. Can I submit an entry on behalf of a team?

Yes, you can submit an entry on behalf of a group of individuals. The maximum number of members on a team is 5. You may also apply as an individual.  

6. What are the prizes?

Stand a chance to be selected and win: 1st Place – N500,000 2nd Place – N300,000 3rd Place – N150,000. We will also have raffle draws on the day of the pitch presentations.

7. If I am selected where will the pitching of my idea hold on December 1?

Yes, we will hold a virtual live pitch competition on December 1. More information is forthcoming.

8. Can I collaborate with communities or organizations or institutions?

Yes, we encourage you to consider collaborating with existing communities/organizations/institutions that will further strengthen your ideas or solutions.

References

  1. Iwelunmor J, Ezechi O, Obiezu-Umeh C, et al. Enhancing HIV Self-Testing Among Nigerian Youth: Feasibility and Preliminary Efficacy of the 4 Youth by Youth Study Using Crowdsourced Youth-Led Strategies. AIDS Patient Care STDS. 2022;36(2):64-72. doi:10.1089/apc.2021.0202
  2. Rosenberg NE, Obiezu-Umeh CS, Gbaja-Biamila T, et al. . Strategies for enhancing uptake of HIV self-testing among Nigerian youths: A descriptive analysis of the 4YouthByYouth crowdsourcing contest. BMJ Innov 2021;7:590–596
  3. WHO/TDR. Crowdsourcing in Health and Health Research: A Practical Guide. Geneva: World Health Organization, 2018. TDR/STRA/18.4.
  4. Tahlil KM, Obiezu-Umeh C, Gbajabiamila T, et al. . A designathon to co-create community-driven HIV self-testing services for Nigerian youth: Findings from a participatory event. BMC Infect Dis 2021;21:505.
  5. Nwaozuru U, Gbajabiamila T, Obiezu-Umeh C, et al. . An innovation bootcamp model to develop HIV self-testing social enterprise among young people in Nigeria: A youth participatory design approach. Lancet Glob Health 2020;8:S12.
  6. Iwelunmor J, Ezechi O, Obiezu-Umeh C, Gbaja-Biamila T, Nwaozuru U, Oladele D, et al., The 4 youth by youth HIV self-testing crowdsourcing contest: a qualitative evaluation, PLoS One 15 (5) (2020), e0233698.

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