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Aidsfonds seeking Research Partner for the Hands Off II Programme

Aidsfonds seeking Research Partner for the Hands Off II Programme

Deadline: 30 April 2020

Aidsfonds seeks an experienced research partner affiliated with a research institute or university to start with a prospective longitudinal study on the impact and implementation of programming on reducing violence and subsequently reducing new HIV infections.

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Hands Off II programme

Violence is increasingly being recognised as an important risk factor contributing to the spread of HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) worldwide. High rates of violence perpetrated against sex workers have been consistently documented in developing countries. Sex workers exposed to violence were more likely to be infected with HIV and other STIs than those who did not report such experiences. Large-scale research shows that if violence against sex workers is tackled, they can prevent up to 25 percent of new HIV infections.

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The first phase of the Hands Off programme (2014 – 2019) has proven that the Hands Off model, a combination of (i) engagement with police in the HIV response, (ii) crisis response and litigation, and (iii) movement building results in reduced violence against sex workers. The second phase (2019 – 2025) will further build on the Hands Off model and intensify interventions that are proven to lead towards a reduction of violence, as well as pilot new and innovative strategies.

The main goal of the programme is to reduce violence against sex workers at community, national and regional level. In the Hands Off programme the definition of violence used is: any form of abuse, coercion, stigma against a sex worker by a person, group, institution, or government which leads to physical, mental, political, social, cultural or economic harm.

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Hands Off targets female, male and transgender sex workers, meaning those who receive money or goods in exchange for sexual services, and who consciously define those activities as income generating even if they do not consider sex work as their occupation.

Hands Off will contribute to the reduction of violence through four long-term outcomes:

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An empowered and resilient sex worker movement that demands its rights
Increased access to and use of inclusive services for sex workers
A more enabling environment for sex work
Sex workers protected and served by law enforcement.
Hands Off is implemented in South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Hands Off study

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The Hands Off model has proven to be successful in reducing violence against sex workers using qualitative research methods. To provide detailed information on the effectiveness and impact of the Hands Off model, in 2020 a prospective longitudinal study will start over the period of five years. The purpose of the study is to measure the impact of the Hands Off intervention on changes in the level of experienced violence and the number of new HIV infections in sex work communities over time in countries and locations where the Hands Off model is implemented.

The study will be conducted within focus areas in all five programme countries of the Hands Off programme:

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South Africa
Data collection will take place over five years during three key moments:

At the first year of implementation of Hands Off II: July – September 2020
Mid-programme implementation: Jan – March 2023
End of programme: Jan – March 2026.
Research Focus

The study will need to focus on the following topics:

The level of experienced violence of sex workers in year 1, 3 and 5 of Hands Off programme implementation (disaggregated on different forms of violence and gender and age).
The number of HIV infections in sex work communities in year 1, 3 and 5 of Hands Off programme implementation (disaggregated on gender and age).
Patterns and dynamics of changes in the level of experienced violence and the number of new HIV infections reported by sex workers.
Specifically, changes in the level of experienced violence and the number of new HIV infections attributed to Hands Off interventions.
Changes in the context of sex work in the five Hands Off countries over the period of the programme implementation.

The Hands Off programme team is looking for a research partner who will conduct the longitudinal study of the Hands Off programme. Tasks involve:

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Selection of an research methodology responsive to the study purpose.
Obtaining ethical clearance in all five Hands Off programme countries for multiple years.
Desk study on relevant policies, documents and literature available on sex work, HIV and law enforcement in all five Hands Off programme countries.
Obtaining reliable, valid and cross-country comparable data on levels of experienced violence and HIV infection among sex workers during three key moments of programme implementation : year 1 (2020), 3 (2023) and 5 (2025).
Ensuring a representative sample size in each of the Hands Off programme countries based on the total number of sex workers in-country, in coordination with the Hands Off programme partners.
Development of a concise research report after year 1 and 3 reflecting the outcomes of the data collection, including an analysis of the results.
Write a full research report including main findings and analysis of the results of year 1, 3 and 5.
Aidsfonds encourages publication of research articles after approval of the content by the Hands Off programme team.
The Hands Off programme team will review the research tools, reports and analysis. The programme team will provide necessary background information, approve the deliverables and facilitate collaboration with the Hands Off programme partners.

The Hands Off programme partners will be able to support with the research planning and reaching sex workers to participate in the study. They will be involved in the approval process around the selection of sites to monitor over the programme period.

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General requirements include:

Affiliated with / registration at research institute or university
Background in Anthropology, Social science or International development studies
Extensive methodological skills and experience in applying quantitative research methods
Prior experience with longitudinal research on social topics
Prior experience with ethical clearance processes
Proven experience working as part of a research team
Ability the discuss sensitive topics and adapt communication toward sex workers
Excellent written and verbal skills in English language
Experience with data entry in data science tools such as SPSS
Prior experience in the region is an added advantage.
For more information, visit https://aidsfonds.org/news/call-for-proposals-research-partner-for-the-hands-off-ii-programme

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