Background Information: The HIV Prevention Research Advocacy Fellows Program pairs emerging leaders in advocacy and activism with existing organizations to develop and execute creative, context-specific projects focused on HIV prevention research.
Fellows projects focus primarily on advocacy around biomedical HIV prevention research (such as clinical trials of vaccines, microbicides, pre-exposure prophylaxis) or rollout of male circumcision for HIV prevention. Fellows projects may also focus on “test and treat” or ARV treatment as prevention strategies, which are under active discussion in many contexts. Fellows receive training, financial support, and technical assistance to plan and implement a targeted one-year project within host organizations focused on HIV/AIDS.
About the Advocacy Fellows Program
The overall goal of the Program is to expand and strengthen the capacity of civil society advocates and organisations to monitor, support and help shape biomedical HIV prevention research and rapid rollout of new effective interventions in low- and middle-income countries with HIV burdens.
The Advocacy Fellows Program pairs emerging leaders in advocacy and activism with existing organizations to develop and execute creative, context-specific projects focused on HIV prevention research and implementation of new prevention interventions.
Since 2010, Advocacy Fellows grants have been awarded to 63 Fellows from 12 countries in Africa and Asia.
Host Organisations are organizations willing to support the Fellow’s project and interested in building their capacity in prevention advocacy. They provide a physical space for the Advocacy Fellow to work from, on-site supervision of and support for Fellows’ activities, and the financial infrastructure for administering the Fellow’s grant.
The Fellow’s project is implemented through a close collaboration among the Advocacy Fellow, the Host Organisation and AVAC. The Advocacy Fellow executes the activities and the Host Organisation and AVAC provide the bedrock that the Fellow needs to thrive. Together, this tripartite forms a formidable team that works to achieve the goals of the project.
What the Program Offers
- Full-time compensation for the Fellow, small project budget and technical assistance from AVAC for 12 months.
- Mentoring and capacity building in biomedical HIV prevention research and implementation advocacy from AVAC for both Advocacy Fellows and Host Organisations.
- Connection to a global network of biomedical HIV prevention research advocates including current and former Advocacy Fellows, researchers, civil society leaders and other individuals and/or organisations working in similar fields.
Are you thinking of applying for the Fellows Program? Below are some key thoughts to put in mind:
Think creatively: Think outside the box and propose an advocacy project which will impact your community/country’s goals towards the end of AIDS. What is your issue: development of new prevention tools? Access to existing ones? Policy change? Whatever it is, be creative — and tell us what you want to change!
Be bold: Be ambitious in your proposals. Consider neglected issues or communities. Consider projects which are opportunistic and time sensitive. For example — influencing decision-makers to consider new prevention packages for young women, adolescents, MSM, sex-workers and others over-burdened communities; tackling domestic financing for HIV prevention; targeting national processes (e.g. elections, national strategic plan updates) for policy change that could impact the entire country’s response.
Be informed: Do your homework about your issues — before preparing your application. The most competitive applications have come from applicants who have taken the time to get themselves familiar with the HIV prevention and implementation field. Successful applicants must demonstrate awareness of and willingness to learn about ongoing biomedical prevention research and implementation in their respective countries.
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel: Although we welcome new ideas and new ways to bring the change that’s needed — we also acknowledge that many advocates before us have given a strong foundation. Applicants are encouraged to dig deep and learn from what’s already been done to inform what else needs to be done or done differently.
Use your time wisely: The application form is long and requires a considerable amount of time to complete. Please give yourself enough time to prepare it. We encourage applicants to through the entire application at least once before they start filling it out. Rushed applications — and plagiarized text — are easy to identify!
Who is eligible to apply for to become a Fellow?
The Advocacy Fellows Program seeks the following:
- Emerging or mid-career community leaders and advocates involved or interested in advocacy around HIV prevention research and implementation, particularly the areas described in question (3).
- Individuals with some experience or education in the areas of HIV and AIDS, public health, medicine, international development, women’s rights, communications, or advocacy with key populations, such as sex workers, LGBTQ individuals and drug users.
- Individuals based in low- and middle-income countries with high HIV burdens and where biomedical HIV prevention clinical research is planned or ongoing and/or where there is current work on implementation of new preventions strategies (such as voluntary medical male circumcision, pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP, early treatment and “combination prevention” packages.) Advocates can also develop proposals that seek to catalyze plans and policies in countries where little activity on these issues has happened to date. Please visit www.avac.org/pxrd, www.avac.org/trial-map and specific resources noted in the appendix to identify countries where research and implementation is ongoing or planned.
- Those proficient in the English language. Applications are encouraged from all countries where prevention research is ongoing or rolling out, however the Advocacy Fellow and key staff at his/her Organisation must be able to communicate with AVAC staff in English.
- Demonstrated awareness of and willingness to learn about ongoing prevention research and implementation in their respective countries, although extensive knowledge in biomedical HIV prevention is not required. They must also be able to demonstrate strategic analysis of how Fellows Program activities will relate to local prevention landscapes.
Applications go through a thorough review process, including by an external review panel made up of advocates, researchers, past Fellows and Host Supervisors recommendations. Short-listed applicants are interviewed. Selected Fellows will be notified by the year.
- Applicants must submit the individual and Host Organisation information forms, the essay/short answer questions, the Host Organisation letter of support and the CV/resume by 7 September 2018.
- Short-listed candidates and proposed Host Organisations are contacted for further documentation and interviews that aim to get to know each applicant a little better.
- Successful applicants and Host Organisations are notified by the end of 2018.
For more information and detailed support materials see the 2019 Advocacy Fellowship Application Instructions and Forms at www.avac.org/fellows-application-materials.