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Youth at Risk Project Officer shares insights from the recent AHPA conference

Carley, pictured next to the poster display above, shares insights from her attendance at the recent AHPA 2016 Conference.

I recently attended the Australian Health Promotion Australia (APHA) 2016 conference held in Perth. The conference provides an opportunity for people working in Health Promotion, like myself, to come together and share experiences, successes and challenges in order to become better Health promoters.

One of the highlight themes was improving capacity building across the sector. Capacity building includes tapping into existing resources, skills and experiences that individuals, organisations already have. A lot of presentations had a strong connection back to the importance of partnerships. Many presenters accredited their success in creating sustainable change within a target group, to working with relevant organisations when given the opportunity.

One of the conference highlights was a presentation from the Barkly Arts Centre who developed a project which involved the ‘Media Mob’. The ‘Media Mob’ is a group of young Aboriginal people within the Barkly region. As part of the campaign, the ‘Media Mob’ engaged with community during local events using technology available to them, and created some great media content for health promotion. By utilising the skills and the knowledge of the target group, messages were heard by the right people, and ultimately resulted in creating long term behaviour change within the target population. The work of the Barkly Arts Centre emphasises how crucial it is to engage the target group in the design, implementation and evaluation of projects.

It was also special to be a part of a thirty year Ottawa Charter celebration. The five areas of the charter our work falls under, still remains very relevant in the projects we carry out in 2016. In saying this, it’s important to recognise that the Ottawa Charter is now thirty years old. When planning and implementing projects today, other documents are also considered to remain relevant and effective.

The Keep It Safe Summer (KISS) project was also represented during poster presentations which received plenty of positive comments and questions. KISS provides young people with education, information & resources throughout the summer months around sexual health, alcohol and other drug use. Those representing East Coast organisations were keen to find out how the WA AIDS Council started KISS, and how it has maintained such an awesome project – one of the longest ongoing health promotion projects in Australia.

Overall, hearing real stories from people working at the forefront of health promotion, not just discussing successes but explaining challenges faced, and best ways to move forward, proved very valuable.

I thoroughly enjoyed the conference and look forward to implementing the knowledge gained, into future projects.

Carley is the WA AIDS Council Youth At Risk Project Officer.

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To minimise the impact and further transmission of HIV, other blood borne viruses and sexually transmissible infections. To reduce social, legal and policy barriers which prevent access to health information and effective support and prevention services.