n 1995, nine HIV treatment activists founded the AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition, now AVAC, to speed the development of preventive HIV vaccines. Within a year, this small group published the first annual Industry Investment in HIV Vaccine Research report and incorporated it as a non-profit organization.
After a decade of pushing key stakeholders for funding and smart decision-making to further AIDS vaccine research and development, and using our proven methods and credibility to respond to initial controversies related to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) research, we expanded our mandate.
We believe that the struggle to end the AIDS epidemic is, above all, a struggle to provide truly effective HIV prevention. This means continued scientific research to develop long-term solutions, such as HIV vaccines and a functional cure.
At the same time, it means gathering the evidence needed to demonstrate the real-world effectiveness of emerging and newly available biomedical prevention tools, including PrEP and microbicides. And it means expanding the delivery of proven prevention options, such as treatment as prevention, female and male condoms, voluntary medical male circumcision, prevention of vertical transmission, and HIV and STI testing. All of these are necessary elements of a comprehensive response to the epidemic.
AVAC’s work cuts across these different prevention approaches. It includes a range of activities aimed at addressing:
Ethical issues, including community involvement in research.
Standards of prevention and care in trials.
The strategic rollout of prevention strategies for those with the highest risk of infection.
Community engagement and research literacy outside the context of a specific clinical trial or intervention.
As AVAC continues to grow, we remain committed to the values on which we were founded. Advocates and community members must continue to play a leading role in defining the HIV research and program agenda. It will take all of us working together to end AIDS.
Informed, impact-driven and focused advocates use evidence-based advocacy to accelerate ethical research and equitable access to HIV prevention options, and their oversight puts decision-makers on notice, furthering accountability so that interventions that work reach those who need them most.
The AVAC Advocacy Fellows Program, launched in 2009, fosters a network of deeply informed, skilled, and confident advocates to strengthen and expand advocacy for HIV prevention locally, regionally, and globally. In the decade since its launch, 77 Advocacy Fellows from 14 countries in Africa and Asia have been through this program.
Overall Goal: The Advocacy Fellows program aims to expand and strengthen the capacity of civil society advocates and organizations to monitor, support, and help shape HIV prevention research and rapid rollout of new effective interventions in low- and middle-income countries with high HIV burdens. The program identifies emerging champions, supports their efforts, helps them to hone their skills, strengthens the capacity of civil society to shape the agenda for HIV prevention research, and influences how fast new interventions move into policy and programs. The Fellows program supports advocacy projects focused on HIV prevention research and implementation in the countries and communities of emerging and mid-career advocates.
Advocacy Fellows are housed by “Host Organisations” who are the fiscal and administrative grant partners. Hosts provide daily supervision to Fellows, ensure their projects are aligned with the organization’s goals, and ensure that their activities and strategies are contextualized in the country/community.
AVAC provides technical and financial support to Fellows—both salary and project budget—for the duration of the Fellow’s year. The Fellows program is implemented through close collaboration among the Advocacy Fellow, the Host Organisation, and AVAC. Read about the program and application process in our information packet.
Theory of Change: The program is guided by the belief that effective, sustainable advocacy grows out of priorities and interests identified by country-level organizations and the individual interests of passionate advocates who are motivated to bring change.
In the ten years of the program, we have seen a majority of Fellows go on to be key players in their communities, countries, and beyond: leading advocacy campaigns and organizations, mobilizing and coordinating coalitions, and being recognized as a community and global health champions. Read more about the Fellows 10-year Evaluation here.
Eligible Countries: African and Asian countries
About the Award: 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.
Application Information Call
Join one of two informational conference calls to learn more about the program. Visit www.timeanddate.com to confirm the time in your time zone.
September 10 at 3 pm SAST/ 4 pm EAT.
September 15 at 3 pm SAST/ 4 pm EAT.
Eligibility: The Advocacy Fellows Program seeks the following:
.Emerging or mid-career community leaders and advocates are 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 are 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.
Number of Awards: Not specified
Value of Award:
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 organizations working in similar fields.
Duration of Program: The Advocacy Fellows Program will run for 18 months, from April 2022 through September 2023.
How to Apply: Applications go through a thorough review process, including an external review panel made up of advocates, researchers, past Fellows, and Host Supervisor’s recommendations. Short-listed applicants are interviewed. Selected Fellows will be notified by the end of November.
AVAC is currently accepting new applications for the next cohort of Fellows! This round of applications will recruit the 12th cadre of Advocacy Fellows. If you are an emerging or mid-career advocate interested in HIV prevention, consider applying today! To learn more about the program, hear from alumni Fellows, review materials, and learn about the application process — click the button below.
Opening Date: 9th September 2021
Closing Date: 12th October 2021