The goal of this programme, which took place between 2011 to 2014, catalysed new leadership in the national and regional HIV responses among young key populations and young people living with HIV in Southeast Asia and the Pacific. We provided small grants to youth-led organisations focused on young people most affected by HIV and ensured grantees had access to the mentorship tools and resources necessary to succeed – to monitor and evaluate their work and to conduct evidence-informed advocacy.
We also worked to capture the knowledge and insights of the grantees on how to best reach the most affected young people in the region and to share that information with others involved in the broader HIV response.Caitlin Chandler, HIV Young Leaders Fund
The first phase of the project focused on community networks in six priority countries – Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines and Papua New Guinea. Our call for proposals resulted in 70 applicants for seven grants – a response which we think demonstrates the commitment and passion of young people in the community. Several steps went into the grant application review process. These are some of them:
- One of the first things we did was to form a community review panel comprised of young people from the region with expertise in HIV to review the applications and help determine the final grantees.
- Many of the panellists had never before been in a position to allocate resources or make recommendations around funding, so we worked to train them in technical proposal review.
- We also held an in-person meeting in Bangkok where the community review panel helped select the final grantees via a group consensus building process.
By placing funding decisions in the hands of young people from Southeast Asia and the Pacific, we made the review process itself an opportunity to build leadership capacity among youth in the region. The process also ensured that young people directly affected by HIV had input into how resources were allocated which, in our opinion, makes for really effective and smart grant making.
The seven round-one grantees were announced in December 2011. In addition to supporting their individual projects, we continued to look for ways to facilitate collaboration and information sharing. These included:
- Soon after the grantees were announced, we held a three-day training meeting where they had an opportunity to share their work plans with each other and look at cross-cutting issues in the region.
- At the workshop, grantees who work in the same country also collaborated to identify national-level advocacy opportunities.
- We have peer mentors who are matched with grantee organisations to provide support. Recognising that there is a language barrier between many of the grantees, one of the peer mentors’ responsibilities is to translate information about the funded project so that it can be shared with other grantees in the region.
- We’re also working with the peer mentors to identify grantee projects for case studies, which will assess lessons learned and provide a mechanism for sharing those lessons with other grantees and the broader HIV community.
- In addition to supporting information sharing among grantees, we’re working to connect them with other important stakeholders in their country’s HIV response, such as, UNAIDS country offices, other youth networks, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, funding organisations, etcetera.
Two additional rounds of grantees were selected and announced in 2012 and 2013.