Young Enablers: School student public health and communication training program

The Young Enablers Project seeks to introduce a group of adolescents to the world of health research and non-communicable chronic diseases. The aim is to train them in the use of communication tools so they can share their experiences with their peers, using their own codes to pass on the messages of health researchers and professionals who are not always able to communicate effectively with adolescents.


The aim is to develop and reinforce the skills of young students in Lima’s public schools in the construction and dissemination of messages related to the prevention of non-communicable chronic diseases among their peers, through innovative communication methods.


The project was carried out throughout 2011. In the first phase of this project three public schools in northern Lima (Independencia) were selected, along with three schools in southern Lima (Villa El Salvador) and three in eastern Lima (Ate-Vitarte). A total of 45 male and female high school students were invited; five from each one of the nine high schools.

The students were divided into teams and in over 16 sessions held by healthcare and communication professionals with a frequency of once a week, they learned about non-communicable chronic diseases, health research and how to design communication campaigns.

All of the teams decided to work on campaigns focused on one single subject: the promotion of healthy eating habits and reduction of the consumption of foods high in fat and sugar, such as sodas. Each team chose a communication format for the dissemination of their messages, including audiovisual communication, radio and graphic material.

Seven teams completed the process of implementing campaigns in their respective high schools. The young enablers were accompanied by a team of communicators, who participated in the design, production and implementation of their campaigns.


  • Thirty of the 45 students completed the process of designing and implementing the campaigns.
  • The seven campaigns reached about 1200 students and consisted of videos, posters, radio programs, video forums, healthy food fairs, presentations in classrooms and playgrounds.
  • The campaigns were focused on improving the eating habits of schoolchildren, with special emphasis on the negative effects of sodas and fast food, as well as on giving healthy alternatives.
  • The project introduced the young enablers to the process of health research, improving their communication skills and increasing their knowledge and awareness of chronic diseases.
  • The participants expressed their considerable interest in communication sciences and health. They were also able to use the information received in their daily lives and initial changes were produced in the schools involved.
  • In an independent evaluation, the young enablers expressed a high level of satisfaction regarding the experience.


Francisco Diez Canseco


 Lima, Peru

 Lima, Peru


Wellcome Trust


2011, 12 months

Research team

Jaime Miranda MD, MSc, PhD, FFPH, Francisco Diez Canseco, BA, MPH, Mey Lin Chiang, BA, Yulissa Boeren, BA.