A photo of the Emerging Voices 2022 cohort and their facilitators at the Universidad de Antioquia

The EV4GH 2022 edition is on!! This is the first complete EV4GH edition post the mobility restrictions to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 – as you might recall, a short and spectacular version of the EV4GH 2020 F2F edition was held in Dubai in 2021.

After a few hectic months of preparation, distance learning, and (a fair amount of) troubleshooting, we are pleased to host 40 Emerging voices along with our partner and host in Colombia – the Universidad de Antioquia (UdeA), in Medellin, Colombia.

EV4GH2022 kicked off on October 18, 2022 and well… left some of those attending virtually with immense FOMO at the morning Salsa and Bollywood dance sessions, the karaoke lunches, and pictures of the colorful urban city of Medellin. Not to mention introduction bingo (you have to be there to know what it is).

We are now halfway the 10-day F2F program and the EV sessions are thus on full swing – many of them are also being offered virtually. This year’s program includes technical HPSR sessions and talks on violence and health, migration climate change and health, and intersectionality and global health, among others. EVs are also guided on how to disseminate information to relevant audiences, and being trained (or reintroduced in some cases), on using social media to engage an external audience, or as a platform to disseminate their work. There are sessions on producing vlogs, podcasts and blogs too – all fodder for social media! “Power walks” opened the discussion on the various intersecting factors and their combinations that can contribute to inequalities in health. This was followed by a walk to Communa 13. Altogether Medellin comprises 16 communes and 250 neighborhoods (barrios). Communa 13, also known as San Javier, was once regarded as a no-go zone because of the high homicide rate. Currently, however, Communa 13 is the living embodiment of a revitalized community.

We are now in week two and still have decolonizing global health and role-playing stakeholder engagement to look forward to, not forgetting poster presentation practice by the Cohort. All leading up to a pre-conference on Saturday morning, where they can showcase their newly acquired skills and convey their messages in a relatively “safe space”. And then we’ll be heading for Bogota, for the “real” symposium.

This year’s venture would not have been possible with the support from our funders, among others, Health Systems Global (HSG), The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Belgian Development Cooperation (DGD). We also want to thank specifically our local host, Universidad de Antioquia, for the great hospitality.  For a full overview of partner institutes in this 2022 venture, see here. Many of them are also collaborating in the F2F program, through facilitation in Medellin. Thanks so much to all!

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