Our voices have power.

But so often, it is not our words that tell the story.

But they are our stories. And it is time to revive our narrative and reclaim our space.

A cornerstone of the African Alliance’s strategy is to amplify the voices of those often overlooked and marginalised in traditional civil society practices. We seek to ensure that diverse African perspectives are not just heard, but that Africans who contribute to knowledge generation, particularly for the development or advancement of global public goods, like vaccines, receive equitable benefits from these technologies.


During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, voices from the global north dominated the narrative of how the pandemic was being experienced and should be responded to. Yet, due to their non-traditional approaches, community activists undertaking innovative health justice work during the pandemic received little to no mainstream media and academic coverage.


We believe it is critical to amplify African stories to better inform how we respond to pandemics across the continent in the future.

The ISOJI Project

To do this, the African Alliance has designed the ISOJI project. This experimental story-telling approach aims to bring the current narratives around health inequality and pandemic response to life by spotlighting the voices of community educators and public health advocates working on and interested in Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response (PPPR) in the majority world (global south).


Working with a cohort of African community educators and public health advocates, we will partner them with academics based in the Global North to develop and showcase a series of case studies of health justice innovations for publication and dissemination.


At the end of this process, the finalised papers will be owned by community educators and public health advocates as the writers and custodians of their narratives. The publication of these papers will be spotlighted in a special edition publication under the African Alliance.


Community-based contributions to PPPR are so frequently disregarded – despite recognition and ample evidence that, without them, communities may react with distrust, fear, and non-compliance with global authority or state-mandated pandemic control measures.


There is an urgent need to learn from the recent COVID-19 pandemic experience – to ensure the inequity of access to life-saving medicines and technologies is not repeated.


However, more academic voices and research are being prioritised over community-based research and voices when it comes to learning about PPPR.


Many ‘participatory research’ processes are still extractive, reduced to collated summaries that lose the experience and nuance, or when the final output is published, the only name on that publication is the academic or project lead.

The publishing processes– like journals, conference papers, or op-eds – can be alienating and challenging for many community members to access, you often need someone to navigate that space to cut through the process jargon, let alone the ability to write confidently and get your perspective across.


Worst still, peer review processes can be very challenging and off-putting, as the blind reviewer aspect often allows commentators to troll authors without repercussion.

How will ISOJI help?

We want to hear your stories of the COVID-19 pandemic and how you and your organisation innovated to bring about meaningful change in the face of so many restrictions. How did you still manage to help your communities?


We will work with you to develop these stories – through dedicated writing support and coaching – and then pair you with an academic to get these stories published in a special edition journal to showcase your stories and contribute to a community-led body of knowledge about PPPR.


Isoji seeks to walk the talk of decolonising research, where academic partners practice humility, partnering with community activists to learn about their experiences and support them in a meaningful way to tell their stories.

Application Process

Just fill out the form by the end of April 2024.


We will review all the profiles and stories and shortlist by the end of May 2024.


A call for academic partners will go out at the end of April, and then those selected will go through a matching process.


Selection will be finalised by end-May, and an orientation will occur in early June.

What do I get out of it?

  1. All community participants will receive a small stipend for their participation.
  2. The process will be documented on the African Alliance website, including profiles of all participants, and in a final process report.
  3. You will receive dedicated support to develop your stories – these can be used to support your programmes, advocacy and funding applications.
  4. You will work with an academic supported by the African Alliance, to develop your story into a series of papers published in a journal to contribute to the knowledge base on community engagement in PPPR.

Please direct all queries to Francesca Alice (Research) at