Aim of the Fellows Program:
The NextGen Fellows Program seeks to build capacity, professional development, mentorship, and networking of promising young professionals to conduct research, policy and advocacy for non-communicable disease prevention and control at national and regional levels (with a current focus on East Africa). It pairs each fellow with a senior research and policy expert in public health to lead individual NCD research or advocacy projects over the course of one year.
For the first cohort of NextGen Fellows, candidates were nominated (by the YP-CDN Executive Director- Jordan Jarvis and RTI Staff - Ishu Kataria) through a competitive selection process from participants of the first NextGen Leaders workshop in September 2016 in Nairobi, Kenya. A survey was developed for both potential mentors as well as fellow candidates that aimed to understand the fellow qualification, interest in 4 proposed project areas, and understanding of qualitative and quantitative research methods, NCD situation in his/her country, health economics, policy advocacy, health communication, WHO essential medicines list and scientific writing. The mentors’ survey outlined their interest in mentoring fellows on 4 project areas as well as their expectation regarding fellow qualifications and understanding on the above-mentioned areas of public health. Based on the survey, fellow interest and mentor interest, three project areas out of four emerged to be of interest for both fellows and mentors:
Advocacy for NCD financing national/subnational (e.g. Kenya in Nairobi County or Uganda/Rwanda/TZ)
NCD investment case: Mapping the NCD funding landscape in their country and developing a policy paper as a means to advocate for increased NCD investment in their region at the national level.
NCD Communications: Designing a digital health communication initiative for NCD prevention and/or awareness.
Based on the project interests and mentors’ expertise, the mentors’ interest was matched with fellow candidates’ capabilities. Each mentor was given a pool of three candidates to review, in order to select one fellow to supervise directly. With a pool of 13 candidates from 6 countries (Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda), the final selection of fellows was made by mentors (RTI staff, CHAI staff and EANCDA staff) following interview screening. Finally, six competent fellows from four countries (Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Ethiopia) were selected by their mentors for the inaugural cohort.
2017-2018 NextGen Fellows