Sentebale hosts SPARK17 at ‘Mamohato Children’s Centre

A special event dedicated to young advocates working in the field of HIV from across the globe

Sentebale Co-Founding Patron Prince Seeiso with Let Youth Lead Advocates Molise and Masedi at SPARK17

This September, youth advocates from around the world visited Sentebale’s ’Mamohato Children’s Centre in Lesotho for SPARK17.

This four-day summit brought together the brightest young minds in ViiV Healthcare’s network to share skills and ideas, and inspire one another to improve attitudes towards HIV in their own countries.

Together with leaders in the field of paediatric and adolescent interventions, the group identified need and shared best practice and evaluations, with input from the youth advocates in attendance. The sessions generated debate and a shared agenda on priority adolescent-specific interventions, with particular reference to peer support, camps and youth clubs.

By bringing young people affected by HIV together to improve health services in their own countries, SPARK17 upheld the work of Sentebale’s Let Youth Lead programme, which gives young people a platform to incite global HIV policy that better supports their generation.

Youth delegates from around the world congregate around the ‘Mamohato Children’s Centre campfire during SPARK17

Prince Seeiso, Co-Founding Patron of Sentebale, who visited SPARK to meet with the youth delegates, said: “We as policy makers, as leaders need to make sure we provide the spark and the space where you as young people can thrive and take the lead. Ultimately, it’s you, the younger generation who can inspire yourselves, ignite passions, unite in ideas and spark a movement that is felt all over the world.’’

SPARK17 offered a unique opportunity for young people to build their technical knowledge and specialist skills in advocacy and campaigning. Expert-led sessions provided a forum for discussion and partnership creation, where HIV youth experts developed the relationships required to build momentum and drive the global HIV youth agenda forwards across all disciplines.

The initiative brought together young people from all over the world; Argentina, Botswana, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Lesotho, Malawi, Pakistan, Puerto Rico, South Africa, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Uganda, UK, US, Vietnam and Zimbabwe.

Oz, a youth delegate from Turkey, said: “SPARK17 is empowering young people not to be afraid of who they are and not to be afraid to show the spark inside them. SPARK is encouraging everyone to be themselves and start a huge flame which is impossible to put out.”

At SPARK17 youth delegates (L-R) Derek, Ikka, Amit and Romesa discuss technology and HIV during the World Cafe Session

Living with HIV Access to education Care for children Letsema: working together
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