From 19 to 23 November, with support from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer, the Knowledge Hub for Legal Challenges to WHO FCTC implementation, held its inaugural Alumni Workshop in Melbourne, Australia.
In collaboration with World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Offices, participants from 19 WHO FCTC parties were selected to return for the Alumni Workshop to build upon the momentum, skills and knowledge gained through the initial three-week Intensive Course and post-Course support.
Through the Intensive Course, the McCabe Centre has trained over 150 government lawyers and policymakers from low-and middle-income countries in the effective use of law to prevent cancer and other non-communicable diseases (NCDs). The training places an emphasis on coherent and mutually supportive practices and policies across health, trade, investment, sustainable development, and human rights, including effective implementation of the WHO FCTC.
The aim of the Alumni Workshop was to share significant updates in the role of law in NCD prevention, international trade and investment law, human rights and sustainable development; to foster the development of alumni networks; to facilitate information sharing by alumni on successes and challenges encountered since the Intensive Course; and to nurture the leadership skills of alumni.
Stories of successes and challenges were shared by Alumni who have effected legal and policy changes to protect and improve public health outcomes in their countries. For example, in Samoa, amendments to strengthen the Tobacco Control Bill have been passed; and in Kenya, alumni have been invited as experts to assist the WHO to train government officials in law and NCDs.
Caroline, a lecturer at the Kenyatta University, School of Law, said that, “After the McCabe Centre Intensive Course, I’ve been supporting WHO in training in Africa and I was also part of the group this year that developed the enforcement and implementation handbook for the Africa region.”
“It opens up your mind and things are clearer, and when things are clearer you are able to deliver better to the people you are training, so it is more palatable to them. You are also able to contextualise it based on what is happening domestically in the individual countries or in Africa.
“The training was really beneficial to me as an individual, and also to the region, because the region can now utilise my knowledge to help train government officials in different countries,” said Caroline.
During the Workshop important feedback from alumni on their interest and priorities in engaging with the McCabe Centre Alumni Network was gathered and will be used to inform the Alumni Engagement Strategy, which is currently under development and will be launched in 2019.