I read about this project done by UNICEF, the Haitian Ministry of Public Health and Population and a local health organization GHESKIO. The project aimed to collect data and map vulnerability factors in communities (including risks for HIV and diseases) while also empowering young people by making them key actors in the process, increasing awareness about diseases and STDs and also sharing with other youth their own knowledge.
The mapping project:
"24 adolescents from the neighbourhoods of Cité Plus and Village de Dieu in Port-au-Prince [Haiti] (..) participated in the Voices of Youth Maps initiative in July 2012. (...) Participants used smartphones to record the location of health and sanitation concerns, medical facilities and unsafe areas, and through geotagged photos and videos, a real-time portrait could be drawn of risk factors in these neighbourhoods."
The context and issues:
"Poor sanitation and lack of adequate medical infrastructure are major factors putting young people in underprivileged neighbourhoods at risk for infectious disease. In addition, insecurity and violence increase vulnerability among children and youths. (...)
Through the maps initiative, positive steps can be taken towards minimizing the many vulnerability factors identified.
“The data provided by the digital mapping of risks will guide efforts to improve the health of young people,” says Dr. Guirlaine Raymond Charite, Director General of the Ministry of Public Health and Population.
Learning about health and technology
One of the participant, "Daniela [17 years old] says that the training provided not only knowledge about HIV but also skills she can use to empower other young people and advocate for positive change in her community.
“I learned a lot about HIV and the different risk factors,” she says. “But I also learned how to use GPS and mobile technology to report on pertinent issues, and most importantly to represent other youth,” she says."
"UNICEF Country Representative in Haiti Edouard Beigbeder says, “This type of digital tool enables youth, particularly the most vulnerable, to weigh in more heavily on public debates and hence to promote positive social change.”
On the mapping project
Port-au-Prince was the third city in the world to participate in this digital mapping exercise, after Nairobi and Rio de Janeiro.
Voices of Youth Maps is one of the digital engagement initiatives of UNICEF’s global platform Voices of Youth, that aims to use new technology and social media to support youth advocacy and activism.
Insights from Voices of Youth Maps: How might we use technology to empower young people while increasing awareness about sexual health and collecting data on specific communities?