Empowering youth voices: the Penta Young Reporters project

15 May, 2024

By Mercy Shibemba, Penta Youth engagement and participation group  

Imagine young people living with HIV empowered to understand and share the latest scientific advancements. That’s the reality Penta’s Young Reporters programme is creating. Launched in 2022 with a bold mission, to democratise science and enhance understanding of HIV research, this initiative isn’t just about spreading knowledge. It empowers young voices to take charge of their health and play a leading role in shaping future research.  

We recognised a significant gap in the scientific world. With most scientific events inaccessible to young people, they miss out on vital discussions and research dissemination. In today’s world, young people increasingly turn to social media for information, but accuracy levels can be a hit or miss. This is where the Young Reporters project steps in. By empowering young people from diverse backgrounds to use social media effectively, we are on a mission to share scientifically accurate, youth-friendly health information globally. 

Our journey began with three passionate young people from Brazil, India and South Africa. Each one, no older than 19, was selected for their enthusiasm for sharing HIV science and their lived experiences. Through comprehensive training and mentorship by a media agency and health research partners, these young reporters are armed with the knowledge and skills to convert complex research findings into digestible content, especially across popular social media platforms. The programme continues to grow, and next year, three more Young Reporters will be trained, coming from Thailand, Uganda and the UK.   

Esther (a pseudonym), one of our participants, beautifully summarises the project’s impact: “Being part of the Young Reporters project has been transformative. It has helped me to understand the science of HIV and given me the confidence to share this with my peers who are growing up with HIV.” 

Learn more about Penta Young Reporters.