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Health equity is high on the international agenda. The World Health Organization promotes health protection as critical for sustainable development, and places children and adolescents in the centre of global health and development discussions. The pace of urbanisation is dramatic in all regions, and the Sustainable Development Goals, for the first time ever, address conditions in cities (Goal#11). This Goal identifies the broad determinants: built, natural and social environment as well as education and economic development that create the conditions for health for people living in cities and may affect their health over the life course. Article 24 of the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC) establishes young people’s right to health care services, adequate nutrition, clean drinking water, hygiene and sanitation as critical to their growth and development.
While UNICEF explains that young adolescents (aged 10-14) are often invisible in discourse and data, adolescents are often the most effective agents of change in their own lives, their families and communities. UNICEF calls this group as social actors in their own right who need to be engaged and empowered to be active citizens in order to advance transformation proposed by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Botnar Challenge aims to advance conditions in cities that promote and support the health and wellbeing of urban adolescents.
Fondation Botnar, a philanthropic organisation committed to health and wellbeing of young people, is seeking proposals for an innovative global initiative called The Botnar Healthy Cities for Adolescents Challenge focused on young people in Ecuador, Colombia, Senegal, Ghana, and two states in India, Rajasthan and Odisha. Fondation Botnar’s goal is to develop and strengthen sustainable and equitable community systems in secondary cities* in the above identified countries targeting the health and wellbeing of adolescents aged approximately 10 to 15 years. The Challenge has a special emphasis on nutrition, overall health, partnerships, advocacy, technological readiness and innovation such as e-health and artificial intelligence (AI) to break the cycle of poverty and contribute to the wellbeing of young people. The Challenge defines health broadly and seeks to create the conditions in communities that provide opportunities for adolescents to achieve the highest levels of health and wellbeing.
*Secondary cities as defined by Cities Alliance, a joint collaboration of the World Bank and UN Habitat: “A secondary city will likely have a population or economy ranging in size between 10 per cent and 50 per cent of a nation’s largest city.”
Through The Botnar Healthy Cities for Adolescents Challenge, Fondation Botnar will support multi-stakeholder consortiums representing diverse groups including partners from government, civil society, and the private sector to address the health and wellbeing of adolescents aged approximately 10 to 15 years. Such organisations must have, as their focus, the engagement of young people through the creation of opportunities for better futures. Young people must have an active voice in the program design, planning and be actively part of the solution. Specifically, the engagement strategy with this target group of adolescents should involve an emphasis on one or more of the following priorities:
Healthy living, including nutrition and fitness
Opportunities for meaningful engagement in community and society to improve health
Other activities to enhance overall development and life-course of young people
Technological and systems innovation for engaging young people
One of the key focus areas of Fondation Botnar’s strategy is the emphasis regarding the creation, building and strengthening of multi-stakeholder partnerships. These need to include the private sector, public sector and civil society working together across sectors to contribute to healthy, equitable and sustainable cities that lead through impact and change to improve the health and wellbeing of adolescents.
Two types of applicants will be eligible to submit projects for awards:
Those composed of a fully functioning consortium with a platform already driving an urban adolescent health and wellbeing agenda. Botnar funding will support in scaling up promising practices and enhancing the existing work of the consortium.
Those composed of emerging consortiums lead by independent local champions who want to build a platform to promote an urban adolescent health and wellbeing platform.
Successful applications will be competing for funding of a maximum amount of 800,000 Swiss francs (CHF) for three-year projects. Funding requests should be consistent with the scope of the project, articulating succinctly the area of focus to address adolescent health and wellbeing, and number of implementing partners.
Applicants can find all the necessary information in the downloadable documents below. The deadline for applications is August 19, 2018 at 23:59 GMT.
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The Challenge document can be downloaded in pdf format here.
Fondation Botnar is a philanthropic foundation established with the core purpose to support children’s basic needs throughout the world. It was founded in Basel, Switzerland in 2003 to continue the philanthropic work of the Botnar family. Fondation Botnar’s mission is to improve the survival, development, and well- being of children and adolescents in growing secondary cities with high potential. The organisation’s primary sectoral focus areas include health, nutrition, and education which will be the overarching themes of the Challenge. The Theory of Action includes advancing, innovation, and transformation through leveraging artificial intelligence and digital solutions and sustainable entrepreneurship.
Fondation Botnar has identified a “social ecological approach” as fundamental to its strategy: considering the individual in the context of her/his family, living in a specific geographic community, which is shaped by local, regional and global policies and programs in the multiple sectors affecting the social, economic, political, built and physical environments that can support or prevent sustainable improvements in the health and wellbeing of people living in secondary cities. This approach is well aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for advancing equitable economic and social development which will be particularly influential in shaping the national programs and policies of LMICs in the next years. Further, the approach supports and promotes the United Nation’s urban global framework, the New Urban Agenda’s principle of social inclusion and the Agenda 2030 philosophy of “Leaving No One Behind.”
The Healthy Cities for Adolescents Challenge is managed by the International Society for Urban Health. The International Society for Urban Health (ISUH) is committed to facilitating critical thinking and innovative action on urban health. The ISUH was founded by The New York Academy of Medicine in 2002 and has become the only global organisation solely focused on advancing urban health by addressing its broader determinants. Through its annual conferences and collaborative activities, the ISUH serves as a platform for interdisciplinary academic experts—researchers and educators--, program leaders and policy makers from multiple sectors in government and the private sector—NGOs and business – to learn from each other and advance evidence and action that improves urban health.