The Emerging Voices program is the initiative of the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp, and it aims at empowering health researchers from the Global South by providing intensive skills training and facilitating their participation in a global health conference. EV4GH has a globally representative governing board and a secretariat.
To give people from the Global South the chance to present their research and policy agenda on the global scene, ITM decided to encourage them to have their voices heard. Through an essay competition 50 Emerging Voices were selected to present their ideas on how to progress towards universal health coverage (UHC), the topic of the 1st Global Symposium.
The WHO Alliance of Health Policy and Systems Research encouraged an Emerging Voices 2012 track (EV2012) in view of the success of EV2010. The selection process, which was integrated in the Second Global Symposium on Health Systems Research calls for abstracts. We received 300 applications, of which 50 EV 2012s were selected.
The EV4GH 2013 edition was linked to the AIDS in Africa Conference (ICASA), ‘Now more than ever: targeting zero’ in Cape Town, South Africa, from 7 to 11 December 2013; it was hosted by the School of Public Health, and Centre for Research in HIV and AIDS at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa.
The EV4GH 2014 track linked up with the Third Global Health Symposium on Health Systems Research, Science and Practice of people-centered health systems, in Cape Town, South Africa, from mid-September to 3 October 2014.
EV2016 was held in close association and partnership with the fourth global symposium on health systems research, 14-18 November 2016 in Vancouver, themed, ‘Resilient and responsive health systems for a changing world.’
EV2018 was held in Liverpool, in close association and partnership with the fifth global symposium on health systems research from 8 – 12 October 2018. The theme for the symposium was ‘Advancing Health Systems for all in the SDG era’. For the EV2018 venture, there were two tracks one for researchers involved in health policy and system research (researcher track) and the other for health professionals, health journalists, activists, decision or policy-makers, and/or other health systems actors (the ‘change agents’ track).
Since its inception, Emerging Voices has trained and mentored over 300 health researchers and professionals from more than 70 countries in the Global South. The program has provided them with the opportunity to develop their research, communication, and leadership skills, and to network with like-minded peers and experts in the field of global health.
Some of the key activities and achievements of the program include:
1Organizing an annual workshop to provide intensive training and mentorship for Emerging Voices participants, covering topics such as research methodology, scientific writing, presentation skills, and advocacy.
4Providing travel scholarships and conference fees for participants to attend the Global Symposium on Health Systems Research and other international conferences, allowing them to present their research and connect with potential collaborators and mentors.
2Facilitating the formation of alumni networks to support continued learning, collaboration, and advocacy among Emerging Voices participants and graduates.
5Contributing to policy and research agendas by publishing opinion pieces, research articles, and policy briefs on topics related to global health and health systems strengthening.
3Engaging with policymakers, funders, and other stakeholders to advocate for greater investment in research and capacity building in the Global South, and to ensure that the voices and perspectives of those most affected by health inequities are heard and acted upon.
The Emerging Voices program has had a significant impact on the careers of participants and the wider field of global health research. Since its inception, the program has trained over 300 researchers from around the world, providing them with skills and knowledge that they can apply to their work. Many Emerging Voices alumni have gone on to become leaders in the field, contributing to the development of new research agendas and policies.
The program has also been recognized for its contribution to global health research. In 2017, the Emerging Voices program was awarded the Partnerships for Global Health Award by the Global Health Council. The award recognizes the program’s commitment to building partnerships and collaborations across borders and its contributions to advancing global health research and policy.
Overall, the Emerging Voices program has made a significant contribution to the field of global health research, providing a platform for researchers from the Global South to have their voices heard and to contribute to the development of new ideas and policies.
The Emerging Voices program has already achieved a significant impact in empowering health researchers from the Global South and promoting their participation in global health conversations. Looking ahead, the program aims to build on its successes and continue to expand its reach and impact in the following ways:
The program aims to increase the number of participants each year so that more health researchers from the Global South can benefit from the skills training and global exposure provided by the program.
The program aims to expand its reach beyond the current focus on the Global South, to include researchers from other parts of the world facing similar health challenges.
The program aims to deepen its impact by developing a robust alumni network of Emerging Voices who can serve as mentors and role models for future participants.
The program will continue to advocate for greater inclusion and equity in global health conversations and work towards dismantling the structural barriers that prevent health researchers from the Global South from fully participating in these conversations.