Young people will be able to create and shape the new United Nations strategy on youth and HIV/AIDS through an online collaborative project launched today, which will use several social media platforms to facilitate the development of new policies to combat the pandemic.
The project, CrowdOutAIDS.org, run by the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), will run for a period of two months in which anyone aged 15 to 29 will be able to submit and share their ideas and proposals for the strategy.
The initiative’s name alludes to the popular concept of crowdsourcing, which consists of letting large undefined groups of people collaborate and come up with innovative solutions for tasks traditionally performed by individuals.
“We’re asking youth around the world to debate, draft and work with UNAIDS to implement this new strategy,” said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS. “It is absolutely critical that we engage young people – not as recipients of our message but as the actors and creators of change.”
CrowdOutAIDS.org will use a four-step model of collaboration which will allow participants to use a range of social media platforms to connect, share and collaborate on a new strategy that speaks to them and addresses the key issues they face when it comes to HIV/AIDS.
Participants will be able to use their personal social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Orkut and personal blogs, to spread the word about the project and then discuss their ideas through online forums and other collaborative platforms such as Google Docs. They will also be able to shape the new strategy and see it transform from an initial draft to completion through a wiki-platform, which allows users to add and edit content in a collaborative way.
According to a news release issued by UNAIDS, around 3,000 young people aged 15 to 24 become infected with HIV on a daily basis, making their involvement essential for an effective response to the epidemic.
“It is important to involve young people in policy development in order for our views, expectations and aspirations to be fully represented,” said Jennifer Ehidiamen, a blogger and journalist from Nigeria and online content curator for the project’s website.
“CrowdOutAIDS.org is an innovative way to build a strong community, interested in sharing solution-based ideas and actions on AIDS,” she said.