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Reaching All Children
Harnessing social protection to enable vulnerable children
access HIV testing, treatment and care

Are you already providing social protection alongside HIV testing, treatment and care for children (ages 0-18) in low or middle-income countries?

Or, have you researched the impacts of social protection on HIV among children in low or middle-income countries? Did the intervention result in more uptake of HIV services for children?

If so:
Can you document an intervention that demonstrates how social protection supports HIV testing, treatment and care for children in low or middle-income countries? 

This Challenge is now closed for new applications. 



In partnership with
The Coalition for Children Affected by AIDS

The Coalition for Children Affected by AIDS is a unique group of global donors, UN agencies, NGOs and independent experts working together to help children survive and thrive. This includes children and adolescents (aged 0-18 years) infected with HIV and AIDS; those at risk of infection; and children affected by the social and economic impacts of others close to them living with HIV.

Learn more about the Coalition and follow their Twitter handle.


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 HIV services.[1]

Social protection is vital in this regard. ‘Social protection’ includes cash and social transfers, such as food and vouchers, as well as other forms of economic support, social health insurance, employment assistance and social care to reduce poverty, inequality, exclusions and barriers to accessing social and medical services (see full definition below).

While it is understood that social protection can reduce the risk of contracting HIV (UNAIDS, 2018), there is limited evidence on how it 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. 

Anecdotal evidence suggests that work on the ground is far ahead of that at the global level.  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 Challenge seeks to address the evidence gap. It will provide the scientific findings and programmatic 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..





If you are a programme implementor: describe how you have already used social protection to improve HIV testing, treatment and care amongst children in low and middle-income countries, and the results achieved?

If you are a researcher: describe what scientific evidence you have to demonstrate the impact of social protection on HIV testing, treatment and care amongst children affected by HIV and AIDS.

Special consideration will be given to applicants who show impact amongst the most marginalised or excluded children, such as the children of key populations, children with disabilities, those living in extreme poverty or rural isolation, or those facing discrimination based on their ethnicity.

Can you document an intervention that
demonstrates how social protection supports
HIV testing, treatment and care for children in low or middle-income countries?

Please note: this Challenge funds existing interventions only. No new projects will be accepted.


There are three aspects to this prize:
+ Winners will be awarded $5,000 USD to write up their evidence into EITHER a scientific article OR a case study.
+ These will be published in a 2019 special issue of Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies and / or in a range of online and print advocacy materials developed with The Coalition for Children Affected by AIDS.
+ Selected winners will be sponsored to present and key global events targeting policy makers and funders, such as the Funders Concerned about AIDS Summit in Washington DC.


This Challenge seeks to surface already proven interventions or evidence: 
+ Only EXISTING or COMPLETED projects are eligible to apply. This includes existing or concluded programmes led by CBOs, government providers and NGOs, as well as scientific research that has already taken place.
+ This DOES NOT include new or intended programming or scientific research. 


+ document: 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


In evaluating entries and determining winners of the challenge prizes, the Judges will apply the following core criteria. In addition to these criteria, entries must specifically show that they reduce stigma and discrimination faced by key populations in healthcare settings. Please see the details tab for information on this challenge.

  • People Centred: Entries may focus on a process, technology or other method but the ultimate benefit must be measurable in terms of impact on people’s lives. Must ensure privacy, demonstrate an ability to not perpetuate stigma and discrimination associated with HIV and enhance active community participation in solution development.
  • Replicable: Entries can be replicated and adapted by others at low cost to ensure broader implementation and uptake as quickly as possible in similar settings.
  • Scalable: Entries must demonstrate how they can be scaled beyond pilot programmes to large scale responses that can be implemented at greater/national scale.
  • Affordable: Entries must demonstrate affordability (low-cost or no-cost to the end users) within resource limited settings or other similar settings as detailed in the individual challenges.
  • Sustainable: Entries must demonstrate how they are implementable in the longer term (beyond the lifecycle of prize funding) using the resources that already exist or which can be incremental to existing service delivery.
  • Achieving substantive change: Successful entries are expected to change the thoughts, processes and other barriers that prevent people living in resource limited settings from receiving the best care possible within the resources (financial and other) available, demonstrating a clear benefit to the people and systems targeted.



Past Executive Director, International AIDS Society, Geneva; IAS non-voting Governing Council member; IAS non-voting Executive Committee officer.


Senior Programme Manager, International Development and UK Prizes, Centre for Challenge Prizes, Nesta, London.


Divison Chief: Applied Innovation, U.S. Global Development Lab, USAID

This Challenge is now closed for new applications. 


    Click Apply Now to access the PAC Community portal where you can register or log in to start an application. Once registered you can connect with fellow solvers to share ideas, find collaborators and work on applications.
    Submit a Concept Note to provide a summary of your innovation. You can seek input/feedback from other community members or submit right away. Concepts are shortlisted to progress to the next stage by the PAC team based on the challenge criteria.
    The best eligible Concept Notes are invited to submit a Full Application. This stage requires more detail about the development and implementation of your innovation. This is the final stage for applicants before the judging process begins.

For more detail, see How it Works.