The Challenge

The Coalition for Children Affected by AIDS has partnered with ViiV Healthcare’s Positive Action Challenges to launch a new effort to reach all children.

Can you show one or more evidence-based interventions that demonstrate how social protection supports HIVs testing, treatment and care for children in low and middle-income countries?

We are eager to receive already proven evidence.  This includes evidence from existing or concluded programmes led by CBOs, government providers and NGOs, as well as scientific research that has already taken place. Please note, this does not include new or intended programming or scientific research, but rather innovations that have already shown results. Special consideration will also be given to innovation with children and caregivers experiencing extreme vulnerability and exclusion.

Challenge is now closed for new applications

The Issue

Millions of children are out of the reach of HIV testing, treatment and care services. They are either too poor, too stigmatised or too far away to access or to benefit from the HIV response. The HIV sector has acknowledged that achieving the ‘last mile’ of the Fast-Track targets will require new approaches that remove the social and economic barriers between vulnerable children and their caregivers and HIV services.[1] For this, the HIV sector and broader social and economic sectors must work together so that all children – including those experiencing vulnerability and exclusion – can access and benefit from biomedical support.

Social protection is vital in this regard. However, while it is understood that social protection schemes can reduce the risk of contracting HIV (UNAIDS, 2018), there is limited evidence on how social protection can protect and support vulnerable children and adolescents in testing, treatment and care.

The lack of documented evidence is holding back investment in solutions that work. In some ways, work on the ground is far ahead of that at the global level. Anecdotal evidence suggests that communities have long been providing children and their families with a range of social and economic services alongside HIV interventions. However, without the funds available community-based organisations have not been able to document or share these innovations. Meanwhile, there are several scientific research data sets on children and communities affected by HIV and AIDS that have not, thus far, been analysed with this lens. Without these innovations documented, global policy, programming and funding decision-makers remain unaware of them and unable to deliver them at scale.

This prize seeks to address this evidence gap. It will provide the scientific findings and case studies to help drive greater attention towards integrated programming. The results will be promoted in a range of strategic global and regional policy, funding and programming fora, with the intent of generating change for children.

The Prize

  • Winners will be awarded up to $5,000 USD to produce EITHER a scientific article OR a case study.
  • Scientific articles will be submitted for publication in a 2019 special issue of Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies.
  • Case studies will be published in a range of global advocacy materials and on the Coalition for Children Affected by AIDS website.
  • Winners with the most compelling evidence will be supported to present their work at key global events.

The prize will be judged by a global panel of scientific and programmatic experts, including community-based organisations themselves.

More information available on the Positive Action Challenge website.


  • show: produce a compelling, data-driven presentation. The format of the presentation can take the form of EITHER a scientific article for an academic journal OR as a case study (narrative or video).
  • children: aged 18 years or younger.
  • social protection: UNAIDS defines social protection as “schemes that reduce gender and income inequalities and social exclusion, all of which increase the risk of contracting HIV. They also make it easier for people to access HIV and other health services, and can cushion the social and economic impact of HIV on households and individuals. Social protection diminishes the risk of HIV infection, increases adherence to HIV and tuberculosis treatment and fosters resilience… Social protection is more than cash and social transfers such as food and vouchers. It encompasses economic support, social health insurance, employment assistance and social care to reduce poverty, inequality, exclusions and barriers to accessing social and medical services[2].” This Positive Action Challenge includes all categories of instruments as classified by the Joint Statement on Social Protection[3]:
  • Social transfers: regular, predictable transfers (cash or in kind, including fee waivers) from governments and community entities to individuals or households that can reduce child poverty and vulnerability, help ensure children’s access to basic social services, and reduce the risk of child exploitation and abuse;
  • Social insurance: that supports access to health care for children, as well as services to support communities and other risk-pooling mechanisms, preferably with contribution payment exemptions for the poor, that reach all households and individuals, including children;
  • Social services: family and community services to support families and promote youth and adult employment; alternative care for children outside family environments; additional support to include vulnerable or excluded children in education; and social welfare services including family support, child protection services and assistance in accessing other services and entitlements;
  • Policies, legislation and regulations: that protect families’ access to resources, promote employment and support them in their childcare role, including ensuring access for poor people to basic social services, maternity and paternity leave, inheritance rights and antidiscrimination legislation.

[1] UNAIDS (2018) Families at the Centre: How a family-centred care can help reach people being left behind by the HIV response. UNAIDS: Switzerland


[3] 2009 Joint Statement on Advancing Child Sensitive Social Protection co-authored by DFID, HelpAge International, Hope & Homes for Children, Institute of Development Studies, International Labour Organization, Overseas Development Institute, Save the Children UK, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank