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August 16, 2023

Empowering Youth in Ghana for Effective Epidemic Preparedness Advocacy in the Digital Age

In our evolving world, where digital platforms provide immediate information, the role of youth in global health advocacy has never been more crucial. Youth are not only the voices of the future, but they are also the driving force behind transformative shifts in the present. Recognizing this potential, the Global Health Advocacy Incubator’s (GHAI) Prevent Epidemics program conducted a training, “Communications for Advocacy & Defining Your Digital Power,” on August 9 for the Youth Sub-Platform on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a youth advocacy group in Ghana. The training, hosted by GHAI’s partner SEND-GHANA, intended to equip these young advocates with the tools to amplify their voices and catalyze change, particularly in relation to the call to the government of Ghana to establish a Public Health Emergency Fund for epidemic preparedness, prevention and response. 

Effective communication lies at the heart of every successful advocacy campaign and an important component is using social media strategically. Twenty-two participants joined the “Communications for Advocacy & Defining Your Digital Power” training, which delved into the nuances of crafting compelling narratives, honing messaging strategies, and tailoring their content for diverse audiences. By combining real-world examples with real-time discussion, the training enabled participants to harness the power of storytelling to mobilize audiences, engage policymakers and foster public support.

Youth organizations have an opportunity to create change online as well as offline. Recognizing this potential, the training program taught participants the skills to craft effective online campaigns and leverage digital tools for maximum impact. Participants learned to harness the power of hashtags, particularly #FundEpidemicPreparednessGH, engage with trending topics and optimize their online presence. 

The #FundEpidemicPreparednessGH was created by SEND-GHANA to build awareness among social media users in Ghana of epidemic preparedness and response and the need for dedicated government funding, and to direct the online audience to relevant content on the subject. Following the training, the official social media channel of the Youth Sub-Platform on SDGs and individuals in the training used their new skills to post persuasive messages targeting key decision-makers in the government of Ghana using the #FundEpidemicPreparednessGH.

The training program wasn't just about imparting knowledge; it was about igniting action. Throughout the training, participants discussed real-world case studies and anticipated the challenges and opportunities they might encounter in their advocacy journeys. This hands-on approach ensured that the skills acquired during the training were not just theoretical but immediately applicable to their work. As the training concluded, participants emerged with confidence and the skills to lead impactful advocacy campaigns in their communities and beyond. Armed with comprehensive knowledge of communications and digital media for advocacy, these young advocates are poised to join the conversation, challenge norms and inspire others to join the youth movement for epidemic preparedness and strengthened global health security.