Meet Cedric: Youth representative from Burundi

By Guest blogger

Cedric is a qualified lawyer, and a regional project manager for Y+.

Cedric is one of three youth advocates who attended the 70th World Health Assembly, and a young man living with HIV from Burundi. He shares some of the strategies he used to engage with key influencers at this international conference.

Cedric at the World Health Assembly

Cedric, Michel Sidibe - Executive Director of UNAIDS, and Consolata at the World Health Assembly.

I’m very pleased to let you know that as far as we know, the 70th World Health Assembly (WHA) was a very successful opportunity to profile READY, as those of you were following on Twitter and Facebook will know! READY stands for Resilient & Empowered Adolescents & Young People and is the Alliance's portfolio of projects focusing on adolescents and young people.

The ''READY temporary mission to the UN'' participated in many different sessions, sometimes as speakers, sometime as participants, ready to draw attention to us and the wider READY movement.

We received some great comments from some of the guest of honours that we met.

These were our strategies to maximise our engagement at the WHA:

  1. If you are a speaker, make sure you talk about your own experience. Talk about something special that you experienced when you are talking about issues and needs of adolescents and young people living with HIV.
  2. If you are a speaker, make sure you mention READY and talk about how it is delivering success stories. Draw on a successful experience.
  3. If you are a speaker make sure you wear the READY T-shirt.
  4. If you are not a speaker, occupy the space, ask questions and sit in front wearing the T-shirt in sessions.
  5. Tweet and retweet and use #WeAreReady and #ActOnHIV.
  6. If there is a guest of honour, get a picture with him/her and in your two seconds make sure in whatever you say, the word READY comes out.

We are convinced that the strategies worked very well and we received some great comments from some of the guest of honours that we met.

Michel Sidibe, Executive Director of UNAIDS said: “Thank you very much for bringing the voice and experience from a community perspective, we really need that in this kind of meeting.” Luiz Loures, Deputy Executive Director of UNAIDS said: "#WeAreReady to support youth leadership.”

I can't finish this message without mentioning that we had two T-shirts for the whole week. Don't worry about the smell, Geneva was sunny but not too hot and we were using buses to move from place A to place B - we were not running!

Read Consolata's blog  Read Kelvin's blog