Over 200 people gathered at the PATA Youth Summit 2018 in Tanzania

Peer power at the PATA Youth Summit 2018

‘Let’s get READY for #PeerPower!’
02 Jan 2019

Three days of peer power!

Back in November 2018, over 200 participants from around the globe came together in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, for the annual PATA Youth Summit.

‘Let’s get READY for #PeerPower’, was the title of youth summit, which fully reflected the dynamic and productive three days. It provided a linking, learning and networking platform for youth, health providers, network structures, programme partners and policy makers. Together, we focused on prioritising adolescent-friendly service delivery with a focus on peer support and HIV-SRHR service integration.

Organised and hosted by Paediatric Adolescent Treatment Africa (PATA) in partnership with the Global Network of Young People Living with HIV (Y+), the summit was a true success.

Fresh voices making choices

Julian Kerboghossian speaking at the PATA Youth Summit 2018

“It is unfair to have high expectations from young people when they are offered no support. Young people deserve to be appreciated, compensated and acknowledged for the hard work they are doing.” – Julian Kerboghossian

The fruitful summit started with a welcome address by Julian Kerboghossian (Y+, Board Chair) in which he encouraged participants to be ready to show peer power with the ‘Fresh voices making choices’ slogan coined by the International HIV/AIDS Alliance at AIDS 2018 in Amsterdam. In his speech, he emphasised the importance of allowing young people living with HIV (YPLHIV) to contribute to the HIV response, but that changes are needed to make this happen.

He concluded saying it is time to give focus and importance to adolescents and youth living with HIV in all their diversity.

During the three days were three main sessions which engaged participants who were peer supporters, community adolescent treatment supporters (CATS), health providers, YPLHIV networks and from civil society organisations to all work together to increase the power of young people in the HIV response.

Y+ played an active role as the summit co-host and Y+ delegates got an opportunity to facilitate different sessions highlighting good practices, useful tools and the CATS model in service provision for YPLHV.

5 peer power messages to take away

Cedric Nininahazwe speaking at the PATA Youth Summit 2018

“Now that peer supporters, health providers and YPLHIV representatives are gathered, it’s the right place and the right time to showcase the READY to Care leaflet. It’s rare to have such opportunity where these groups can openly talk about how to improve access to services for YPLHIV.” – Cedric Nininahazwe, Y+ Programmes Manager

The summit had great engagement with active participation from all stakeholders especially young people living with HIV. Here are our top 5 take away messages from the summit:

  1. We need to create more safe spaces and resources for adolescents and youth living with HIV.
  2. We are resilient and empowered and it is time to move the youth agenda beyond youth engagement and youth participation.
  3. We are tired of meaningless exposure and tokenistic roles in spaces that matter. We want equal partnership in programme design, programme management, and service delivery.
  4. We have the peer power to save lives. We have achieved a lot and have the strength to raise our voices.
  5. We cannot always work on a voluntary basis. It’s time to improve the working conditions of young people.

For the full Commitments to Action from the youth summit, see the PATA website.