The Botnar Healthy Cities for Adolescents Challenge

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. 

Despite young adolescents (aged 10-14) often being invisible in discourse and data, they are often the most effective agents of change within their own lives, their families, and their communities. UNICEF defines this group as social actors who need to be engaged and empowered 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. 

The Challenge

In 2018, Fondation Botnar opened a call for proposals for The Botnar Healthy Cities for Adolescents Challenge focusing on young people in Ecuador, Colombia, Senegal, Ghana, and two states in India - Rajasthan and Odisha. Our 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 focus 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 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. 

After a thorough review of the high quality applications received, the challenge is now closed and the following finalists have been selected:

  • “Fort pour le Futur”: Improving adolescent nutrition, health and wellbeing in Thiès y Nutrition International, Senegal
  • Innovative Adolescent Health Interventions in the Socio-demographically Diverse City of Tamale for Attaining the Sustainable Development Goals in Ghana by The Regional Institute for Population Studies, University of Ghana, Ghana
  • Football & Entrepreneurship for Life by Impact Hub Candidate Medellin, Colombia
  • My Community is My School by Coschool, Colombia
  • Safe Active Routes for Adolescents by Despacio, Colombia

For more information on the finalists and thier projects visit the link below.

International Society for Urban Health 
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.