By Laura Foschi, Intern at the Alliance for Health Promotion
On the 16-17 October the 6th Global Forum on Health Promotion was held in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada. The forum brought together approximately 300 participants from civil society, members of government, academia, public health practitioners, emerging leaders in the field of health promotion and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from all over the world. The process leading to the adoption of the PEI Declaration was very participative and interactive. The call to Action has been submitted to the WHO as a poster presentation for the 9th Global Conference on Health Promotion in Shanghai. This will increase the visibility of the work and role of civil society organizations (CSOs) and NGOs in working on Health Promotion in the framework of the SDGs.
As an intern with The Alliance for Health Promotion, it was an enriching experience to observe the expertise of the various members present from all walks of life working collaboratively to produce the PEI Declaration. International and intergenerational exchanges were an important objective of the forum and, from my perspective, the forum organizers were successful in creating many opportunities for participants to share knowledge and experiences whilst contributing to the PEI declaration. When I think back to my experience at the forum the adjectives that come to mind are: thought provoking, inspiring, and overwhelming.
Crafting the PEI Declaration was not an easy undertaking and those in charge of the writing room did a remarkable job in taking into consideration all the contributions from the participants during the two-day event. The Ottawa Charter served as the foundation upon which the PEI declaration was built. Other essential ingredients were passion, devotion, hard-work and outspoken advocacy.
This forum served a vital reminder of our role as health promoters. Some themes and ideas that resonated with me were: providing a platform to have the peoples’ voices heard at various levels and empowering and advancing toward a more holistic approach to health ‘less’ focused on curative care. Additionally, the forum raised issues concerning the push to increase the prominence of health promotion on the political agenda with all it encompasses (e.g. lack of funding for NGOs, awareness raising at a local and global scale, knowledge building, resources allocation). Finally, the forum provided opportunities for networking and partnership opportunities.
I travelled to Charlottetown with only a single suitcase but brought back home a second suitcase full of knowledge and hope for the future growth of health promotion. The leaders of tomorrow envisage a world in which it is possible to build a bridge of knowledge in health promotion and the mentors of today hope to leave the right tools behind for it to be built. As a member of Health Nexus said at the forum, everyone can be a leader in health promotion. Therefore, it is my hope to cultivate the skills, experience, and knowledge necessary to become an emerging leader.
Be a health promotion leader at an individual, collective and global level! Plant your seeds wherever you can and see them blossom.