Facebook and leading Health Organizations form alliance for advancing health online

Facebook is partnering with leaders from the technology, healthcare, global development and academic sectors to establish the Alliance for Advancing Health Online. This new initiative aims to advance public understanding of how social media and behavioral sciences can be leveraged to improve the health of communities around the world. 

The partners of the Alliance include the Bay Area Global Health Alliance, the CDC Foundation, Facebook, the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, Merck, Sabin Vaccine Institute, the Vaccine Confidence Project at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the World Bank and the World Health Organization. Merck and Facebook are each committing $20 million to this multi-year initiative, which will initially focus on addressing vaccine hesitancy and vaccine equity among underserved communities. 

“Social media is a powerful, constantly evolving tool that is shaping opinions and behaviors across the globe,” said Heidi Larson, PhD, head of the Vaccine Confidence Project at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. “The Alliance will help us build a deeper understanding of the dynamics of health communication online and how the global community can use social media to improve health.”

The Alliance has established the Vaccine Confidence Fund, an independent fund to support research on how social media and online platforms can best support confidence in and access to COVID-19 vaccines around the world, as well as routine immunizations impacted by the pandemic. The goal of this initial research is to produce timely, practical applications, focused on reaching historically underserved communities and those communities particularly at risk in the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Fund will provide grants to researchers and organizations that are exploring how best to use behavioral science, social media and digital platforms to build confidence in and access to vaccines. Global Impact, which will manage this fund on behalf of the Alliance, has issued a request for proposals. Researchers who would like to participate in this effort can apply here

All of the findings generated through this research will be shared quickly, broadly and publicly. To this end, Facebook is awarding grants to the Sabin Vaccine Institute and Bay Area Global Health Alliance who will facilitate a series of community discussions over the coming months. 

Facebook together with partners, have seen promising results from their health work over the past few years. This highlights the Alliance’s opportunity to better understand what’s working, so it can be replicated and scaled.

“The Alliance for Advancing Health Online and the new Vaccine Confidence Fund are important steps forward in leveraging social media for health impact at scale. A recent collaboration between WHO and Facebook demonstrated what this can achieve. WHO’s Science Behind Vaccines campaign ran globally, resonating most among Spanish and Chinese speaking audiences who expressed an increased willingness to get the COVID-19 vaccine by 2.8 and 2.9 percentage points, respectively, across more than 50 million people.” – Andy Pattison, Team Lead, Digital Channels, WHO.

At the same time, we recognize that more research and understanding is needed to replicate and scale the approaches that work, and to learn from those that do not. By bringing together public and private sector partners, we hope the Alliance will accelerate our collective ability to have a lasting positive impact on health behavior through leveraging the unique scale and personalization of digital channels.

www.about.fb.com

Telecel Group launches applications for Africa startups accelerator programme

Technology sectors such as FinTech, InsureTech, AgriTech, eCommerce, HealthTech, and CleanTech are not only solving some of Africa’s most pressing problems, but also contributing significantly to the continent’s economy.

In fact, the so-called Internet economy is set to reach 5.2% of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2025, contributing about $180-billion to the African economy. To develop the potential of startups driving the Internet economy, Telecel Group has opened applications for the ASIP Accelerator Program, powered by Startupbootcamp AfriTech.

 The Program helps startups achieve 18-24 months of growth in just three months. Now, the next generation of early-stage African tech startups disrupting a wide range of industry sectors are being sought.

Ten startups will be selected to participate in the Program that will give them access to expert-led masterclasses covering scaling fundamentals – from the business model canvas, and lean methodology, to fundraising. They will also receive tailored mentorship from carefully selected mentors, will be connected with venture capitalists and angel investors from around the world, get to meet the leading corporates in their industries for pilot projects and partnership opportunities.

The successful startups will receive €15,000 in cash and have access to over €500,000 in exclusive partner deals from leading technology providers such as Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, HubSpot, and SendGrid, amongst others.

The three-month Program will conclude with a digital Demo Day during which startups will present their newly scaled up solutions to hundreds of investors, corporates, mentors and press attendees. Notably, the participants will continue to receive support long after the Program ends via the Alumni Growth Program which offers access to alumni-only events, deals and tailored introductions.

Twenty-nine startups completed the first Startupbootcamp AfriTech Program and 90% of participating startups are still operating and scaling at impressive rates. What’s more, 40% have raised follow-on rounds of funding, with the average increase in valuation being 10x since their Demo Day.

In addition to corporate partner, Telecel Group, Program sponsors include Google Cloud Platform, Amazon Web Services, Hubspot, VC4A and Cloudworx. There are a limited number of slots for additional corporate Founding Partners to join the consortium.

These partners will have the rare opportunity to help determine the key challenge areas that will be the focus of the Program’s startup scouting and sit on the exclusive selection committee that will choose the top 10 startups to participate.

Additionally, they will have the chance to engage in curated pilot and proof of concept projects with select startups to accelerate innovation within their organisations. Corporates that are interested to amplify their internal Innovation Agenda can email afritech@startupbootcamp.org. The completely virtual, Pan-African Program kicks off in July 2021.

Applications are open now and will remain so until 14 May. To apply, or for more information, go to https://bit.ly/SBC-ASIP

www.telecelgroup.com