Share experience, spread ideas, and take action to keep vaccination going during the pandemic.
Apply now to join the COVID-19 Scholar Peer Hub
The COVID-19 pandemic is moving fast. We need to go faster to do better.
In our daily work, we face challenges. We do our best to figure out how to overcome them.
Every day, we need to solve problems to keep vaccination services open and safe during the pandemic.
By joining the COVID-19 Scholar Peer Hub, you will tap into the collective know-how of more than 15,000 immunization professionals from 90 countries.
Request your invitation to the Global Launch Event
COVID-19 Peer Hub Launch Event
Join over 15,000 immunization professionals from more than 90 countries working around the clock to keep immunization going.
We first request your permission to send you email. Please look for this message and click on the link it contains.
What is the COVID-19 Scholar Peer Hub?
The COVID-19 Scholar Peer Hub is a new programme to support immunization professionals during the pandemic.
It builds on the Scholar platform, a global network of 15,000 immunization professionals who have worked together since 2016.
The goal is to contribute to strengthened skills and motivation required to implement country COVID-19 plans of action by connecting staff across system levels and borders.
Who should apply?
The Call for applications is open to all country-based immunization professionals who need to maintain services, prepare recovery and catch-up, and relaunch campaigns during the pandemic.
Immunization staff at national and sub-national levels are especially encouraged to apply.
Applications from non-immunization health staff involved in the COVID-19 response will also be considered.
We know that you are short on time.
The Peer Hub is about giving and receiving support, when you need it.
- There are no superfluous or time-consuming tasks.
- Everything we do is focused on strengthening the response to the pandemic.
All activities in the Peer Hub are intended to support the work that you are being asked to deliver by your Ministry of Health or in line with your country's goals, providing you with rapid access to:
- The best available global knowledge and practice.
- A support network of peers (immunization staff from all over the world) who are also under pressure.
- Tools to help you find what you need, when you need it.
How can the Peer Hub help me?
- Develop practical ways to solve the problems and challenges you are facing to maintain, recover, and improve immunization services during the pandemic.
- Get access to the Ideas Engine: Quickly access the ideas and experiences of immunization staff fighting COVID-19 in over 90 countries.
- Connect with immunization innovators to quickly find the most useful new tools and services that can help you adapt and respond to the pandemic.
- Apply the “data for action” approach for data-driven continuous quality improvement as part of health system strengthening at all levels, starting where you work.
What you get when you join the COVID-19 Peer Hub
Quickly access the ideas and experiences of immunization staff fighting to maintain, recover, and improve immunization services during the pandemic, in over 90 countries
Peer Hub exercises
Develop action planning and work with others to quickly map out what you need to do and how you are going to do it.
A launch pad for turning your plan into action.
How can the Ideas Engine help me?
Sharing ideas and practices is usually limited to workplace colleagues and top-down sharing of recommendations, guidelines, and plans.
The Ideas Engine can empower you to:
- Quickly look up ideas and experiences from all over the world;
- Share your own ideas and experiences; and
- Connect with individuals who originated the ideas to learn from them.
The ideas and experiences shared will be focused on the ongoing work you are being asked to face the challenges resulting from the pandemic.
How can the Peer Hub exercises help me?
Exercise 1. Action planning
Participants identify a significant challenge that they are facing, in the context of their country’s COVID-19 and immunization plans.
This challenge should be one that is related to their work duties.
- Review their Ministry of Health plans and identify WHO guidelines and other resources relevant to their challenge.
- Identify data collected by EPI that may be used to monitor progress in relation to their challenge.
- Focus on actionable, relevant recommendations to strengthen ongoing work.
Participants will then peer review plans developed by other participants and receive feedback to improve on their own plan.
We will then launch the Impact Accelerator to kickstart execution of these plans.
Exercise 2. Communication, negotiation, and community engagement
The COVID-19 pandemic appears to be accelerating the worst manifestations of vaccine hesitancy, already declared a global threat. Building on the Foundation’s experience with the Norwegian Red Cross, ICRC, and IFRC in the Health Care in Danger project, this second exercise will seek to address the broad continuum of issues from vaccine hesitancy by caregivers to physical violence targeting immunization staff and services.
In order to offer a practical approach, The Geneva Learning Foundation is partnering with experienced humanitarian negotiators who have developed a structured approach to transfer their skills.
In this second exercise, we will focus on:
- identifying and sharing the most effective practices used by immunization staff to engage individuals and communities; and
- adapting frontline negotiation tools and techniques used in humanitarian negotiation.
In order to be considered for the Peer Hub, we will ask you to honor the following commitments.
Our commitment to confidentiality
We trust each other in order to share and learn together.
By applying for the peer hub, you commit to respecting confidentiality under “Chatham House Rules”. This means that you will not name individuals, organizations, or countries when sharing information from the peer hub.
We also expect you to respect and abide by any restrictions and requirements from your employer or government.
1. The Immunization Scholar Pledge for Impact
I am committed to work for a world where everyone, everywhere, fully benefits from vaccines to improve health and wellbeing.
As a Scholar, I hereby solemnly pledge to:
- Work with others to transform projects led by Scholars into action and results that will improve immunization outcomes.
- To share my success as well as my challenges by reporting on a regular basis on my progress toward implementation.
- Support fellow Scholars in doing the same, while upholding the highest standard of integrity and behavior.
I make this pledge for the health of children and families in my country and everywhere.
2. Your commitment to progress in the fight against COVID-19 and the fight against all vaccine-preventable diseases
Currently, there is no vaccine for COVID-19 and there is no knowledge as to when one will be available.
Vaccines save lives. We can be proud of our work every day. More children in more countries are now protected against more vaccine-preventable diseases than at any point in history. Due to COVID-19 this immense progress is now under threat, risking the resurgence of diseases like measles and polio. At least 80 million children are at risk of vaccine-preventable diseases as COVID-19 disrupts vaccination efforts.
It would not be right for the fight against one disease to come at the expense of long-term progress in the fight against other diseases.
Not only will maintaining immunization programmes prevent more outbreaks, it will also preserve the infrastructure needed to roll out an eventual COVID-19 vaccine on a global scale.
3. Your commitment during the COVID-19 pandemic
As a health professional serving public health during the COVID-19 pandemic, I make the commitment to:
- Restore and sustain the immunization system in my country by using approaches that respect the principle of do-no-harm and limit transmission of COVID-19 while providing quality immunization services.
- Ensure that immunization delivery strategies are adapted where need be and are conducted under safe conditions, without undue harm to health workers, caregivers and the community.
- Ensure that quality data is collected at my level according to national policies and is used to inform decision-making at all levels and strengthen health systems.
- Implement effective communication strategies and engage with communities to allay concerns, enhance community linkages and re-establish or reinforce community demand for vaccination.
- Fight rumors, misinformation, conspiracy theories in all their forms and make it a duty to be informed only by reliable sources.
- Support each other to maintain safe services and restart immunization activities as soon as possible if circumstances require us to temporarily pause some activities.
I will contribute to the global effort until all people receive the vaccines they need, when they need them in spite of COVID-19.
I make this commitment for the health and safety of myself, my colleagues, and of all those I am called to serve.
Applicants are responsible for ensuring that they are able to meet the following requirements.
- Information technology: Participants need to have access to a reliable Internet connection and a standards-based browser less than two years old (Firefox, Safari, or Chrome). Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge users will be asked to use a standards-based browser. Mobile-only users will need to use Mobile Chrome in desktop mode for some activities.
- Internet: Specific guidance will be provided to those who have bandwidth limitations, intermittent access, or may suffer from disruption of their connection to the Internet.
- Languages: Activities are offered in English and French. Participants are encouraged to schedule extra time if they are not fully proficient writing in one of these languages.
Upon successful completion of each Peer Hub Component, you will receive a certificate of participation for this Component from The Geneva Learning Foundation. These components include:
- Completion of exercises
- Contribution to the Ideas Engine
- Attendance in global and country meetings
- Reporting your progress on a regular basis
Research and evaluation
TGLF will review projects and other data generated by participants. We may use these data in communication, advocacy, capacity building, and research. Applicants will be asked for their consent to participate in research by the Geneva Learning Foundation and its research partners to evaluate the efficacy of this learning initiative. Participation in this research is completely voluntary, and you may stop taking part at any time. In cases where learners do not consent, no learner data will be collected. Participation or non-participation will have no effect on assessment of your performance in the peer hub or your present or future relationship with the Geneva Learning Foundation or its Partners.
How we built the COVID-19 Scholar Peer Hub
Starting in March 2020, we saw that many in the global community of immunization Scholars were being drawn into the response to the pandemic.
- Everyone working in immunization was already being affected.
- In consultation with our Teach to Reach International Advisory Board, we called on Scholars to support sharing of experience between health workers and with partners about the impact and their response to COVID. This revealed a need to expand peer support, to complement the necessary initial responses focused on technical guidance.
- In April 2020, The Geneva Learning Foundation (TGLF) and the World Health Organization surveyed the 15,000 immunization staff that TGLF has previously supported, finding that over two-thirds were already being affected by COVID-19.
- Starting in April 2020, we invited you to share how you were being affected by COVID-19 – and to understand how to better support each other.
- These were not technical meeting to provide information or guidance, but moments to come together to support each other and share observations of the impact COVID is having in our lives and work.
A group of more than 600 Scholars then met regularly to build the Peer Hub.
Teach to Reach International Advisory Board
The COVID-19 Scholar Peer Hub has been developed in consultation with the Teach to Reach international advisory board composed of distinguished learning scientists and immunization leaders.
- Blanche-Philomene Anya World Health Organization (WHO)
- Jhilmil Bahl World Health Organization (WHO)
- Hassan Ben Bachire Cameroon EPI Manager
- Franck Hilaire BETE Bénin EPI Manager & Scholar Country Team Leader
- Joseph Biey WHO IST Ouagadougou
- George Bonsu Ghana EPI Manager (retired)
- Alan Brooks Bridges to Development
- Patricia Charlton The Geneva Learning Foundation
- Bill Cope University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
- Felicity Cutts London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (retired)
- Julie Dirksen Usable Learning
- François Gasse Independent consultant
- Khurram Hassan The Geneva Learning Foundation
- David Koffi ADS Conseil
- Godwin Mindra UNICEF
- Dramane Palenfo AMP
- Chilunga Puta BID Network
- Tove Ryman Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
- George Siemens University of Texas at Austin
- Riswana Soundardjee GAVI
- Denise Traicoff U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
- Karen Watkins The University of Georgia at Athens
- Laurie Werner PATH
- Chizoba Wonodi John Hopkins University
What’s next for Teach to Reach?
- Teach to Reach Level 2 certification has been postponed to allow closer collaboration with our partners.
- The top Level 1 completers have been invited to create the Global Council of Learning Leaders for Immunization.
- The Impact Accelerator launch pad will be open to both COVID-19 peer hub participants and Teach to Reach participants.
About The Geneva Learning Foundation
The Geneva Learning Foundation is a Swiss non-profit with the mission to develop, trial, and scale up new ways to lead change to tackle the challenges that threaten our societies.
The COVID-19 Scholar Peer Hub was developed by the Foundation’s Teach to Reach programme and is launched with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF).