CrowdOutAIDS is a collaborative online project to allow young people (aged 15 – 29) from around the world to engage in conversations with the eventual goal of crowdsourcing a UNAIDS youth strategy. The program is using a variety of online platforms such as Google Docs, Facebook, Orkut, and blogs to widen the discussion. The plan is for the online component to run for two months (until late December).
The process for CrowdOutAIDS will have four steps and currently we’re in the “Share” stage:
The “Share” stage is about talking about what works and doesn’t work in how our communities fight HIV/AIDS. In the first week in the North America, Western Europe, and the Carribbean (English) group, youth talked about how they wanted to be able to lead and turn their ideas into action. According to moderator Allen Kwabena Frimpong:
“There is a lot of ‘lip service’ about youth participation and engagement, but when it comes down to having any real influence over policies affecting young people or how people perceive or treat young people in their leadership – nothing transformative happens.”
UNAIDS realizes that they also need to reach out to youth who do not have access to computers. Gabriel Adeyemo wrote for the CrowdOutAIDS blog about his experience doing outreach to young people in communities in Africa. He tells about his experience in Nigeria:
“More young people shared their experiences on sexual health and reproductive health issues with me. One of them said he had to wash his condom after sex so that he can re-use it because there are no availability of condoms near-by and in most cases, they can’t request to buy condom because of their age and religious status. In some communities, the prices of condoms are outrageous which makes young persons wash and re-use them.”
For those of us in Canada who have regular internet access, the only cost to participate is taking a few minutes online. To get involved in the North America, Western Europe, and the Caribbean discussion (English) on Facebook, go to: https://www.facebook.com/pages/CrowdOutAIDS-North-America-Western-Central-Europe/207451279324304. And you can find information on getting involved in other regions here.