July 18, 2016
Written by By Patrick McCrummen, Senior Director for Partner Engagement and Digital Advocacy, Johnson & Johnson
In the 16 years since we last gathered in Durban for the International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2016), a major game-changer has transformed advocacy and activism: social media has emerged as a prominent and near-ubiquitous tool, offering us all – from midwives to ministers – the ability to elevate voices from across the globe like never before. Now, citizens, alongside prominent leaders, have a platform of their own, giving them the opportunity to become “thought-leaders” by calling attention to the needs of their communities through storytelling.
Johnson & Johnson has seen first-hand the opportunity digital media has brought to share stories for women and girls – the very audience we aim to serve at AIDS 2016. That’s why we partner with organizations like FHI 360 and Girls’ Globe to ensure that in major global “moments,” like AIDS 2016 as well as the recent Women Deliver conference, rich digital experiences are not only part of the conference experience, but also offer a place for action-oriented conversations long after the event has ended.
As we look forward to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and realizing the targets set out in the Global Plan, the lived experiences of women and girls must be front and center of our advocacy effort – and social media can help us achieve just that. Human-centered stories have the power to create the emotional pull needed to drive global policy makers, donors and civil society, to invest in ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030. Digital platforms now allow us to transport compelling stories from one end of the earth to another, shedding light on the experiences and struggles of women and girls that we can no longer ignore.
Essential to Johnson & Johnson’s commitment to #EndHIV4Her is enhancing the social media skills of global health advocates, including the passionate AIDS 2016 community. On Tuesday, July 19, the Digital Champions for HIV and AIDS: How Can You Leverage Social Media for Social Good? workshop will equip young leaders and digitally curious global activists attending AIDS 2016 with the tools needed to become digital “thought leaders” and connect globally with influencers and like minded advocates. They will leave the workshop with an understanding of the full potential their stories have on social media to bring the needs of women and girls to the forefront of global health discussions. Won’t you join us in this digital conversation and lend your own voice to #EndHIVForHer?