Wake up! Youth project to raise awareness on NCDs


Photo: Dave Hebblethwaite, SPC

The Pacific Community (SPC) and the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Pacific Office in Fiji are inviting youth in participating Pacific countries and territories to develop and submit proposals for video projects designed to sensitize the youth population on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and their risk factors.

Young people between 15 to 25 years old from Fiji, French Polynesia, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Tonga, Vanuatu and Wallis and Futuna are eligible to enter the competition which is co- funded by the Pacific Fund, SPC and UNDP.

The five winning entries will have the opportunity to work with a professional production company and undertake special training in order to produce a broadcast quality video based on their submitted concept.

As the leading cause of preventable death and disability in the region, NCDs, principally diabetes, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases as well as cancers, constitute a crisis of epidemic proportion with major implications for the future development of Pacific countries and territories.

As increasing numbers of people develop one of these diseases in their thirties and forties, prevention must start at an earlier age.

Studies in the Pacific show that many adolescents are overweight with an increasing number becoming obese. In addition, some diseases such as diabetes Type 2, which are usually only observed in adults, is now being diagnosed in teenagers.

“Unfortunately prevention projects addressing NCDs are rarely appealing to the adolescent population. Few are innovative, fewer engage or utilize visual arts and social media and even fewer are developed by youth themselves which reinforces the misperception that NCDs are only diseases of the old age and do not concern young people,” said UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji Policy Specialist for HIV, Health and Development, Ferdinand Strobel.

“The SPC & UNDP initiative will see select groups of youth undergo training in health communication using video and will receive support from professionals to realize their health promotion projects. Young people have a key role to play in building strong populations. By teaching young people to adopt healthy behaviours, we can reduce the early onset of non-communicable diseases”, said SPC NCD Officer, Solène Bertrand-Protat.

The initiative will also contribute to the development of skills and knowledge among participants and encourage engagement in youth to youth health promotion activities.

Acquired skills will include project management, basics of public health, audiovisual production, and health promotion messaging using technology (web and social networks) which will provide benefits beyond the project as well as create a network of potential youth ambassadors for NCDs and invigorate exchange between youth from select Pacific Island countries and French territories around these issues.

More information can be found here.

Competition closes on 30 April.

 Media contacts:
Solène Bertrand-Protat, SPC Non-Communicable Disease Officer, [email protected] or +679 337 9380
Emily Moli, Knowledge Communications Analyst, UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji, email:  [email protected], or tel: +679 322 7504

Useful links:
Call for video proposals: Engaging youth in the fight against non-communicable diseases