December 10, 2020
AVAC’s Advocacy Fellows Program is celebrating 10 years of fostering the development and expansion of a network of deeply informed, skilled and courageous HIV prevention advocates. Since its launch in 2009, 77 Fellows from 14 countries have participated in the Fellows program. They have changed policy, championed community perspectives, strengthened healthcare systems, demystified HIV prevention research, and insisted on fairness and transparency, acting locally, regionally and globally.
On the program’s 10th anniversary, we hope you’ll join us in celebrating this milestone. We want to take a moment to share our thanks and our plans for the program’s future.
To the 77 Advocacy Fellows, thank you for your passion, your effort, your accomplishments, and for trusting the program and the team to support you in moving the dial.
To the 67 hosting organizations, thank you for putting faith in the program and offering steadfast support and mentorship to a generation of HIV prevention advocates and activists who are making the world better one advocacy demand at a time.
And thank you to all the stakeholders who have partnered with AVAC Fellows on project after project since 2009.
Fellows Program: Into the next decade
AVAC is proud to share a final report from an independent evaluation of the program, based on interviews and surveys from alumni, hosting organizations and external stakeholders. The evaluation assessed the program’s impact and contributions—both intended and unintended—on the Fellows, the issues they worked on and the communities they serve.
The report found, “The Advocacy Fellows Program is beneficial to participants, and has durable impacts on the Fellow, both personally and professionally. By influencing the Fellow at a personal level, the Fellowship contributes to changes in the HIV landscape at organizational, community and national levels. The Fellowship Program therefore remains relevant in all countries of operation but should take on certain recommendations in order to build on the significant gains already evidenced and increase its effectiveness in each context.” Alumni are leaders and change-agents in all the spaces they work in—influencing processes and policies, ensuring community voices are amplified, and transforming HIV prevention in their communities.
We are excited to build on these recommendations and expand on the success of the program. Alumni and host organizations will join AVAC in a series of working groups in early 2021 to help shape Fellows 2.0.
The Fellows Program has a new look on the AVAC website
To commemorate the program’s 10th anniversary, the Fellows page on AVAC.org has a new look and new resources. Check out the video featuring Fellows Alumni and don’t miss the new section “Where Are They Now?”, showcasing their significant and ongoing contributions in HIV advocacy. Please let us know what you think and help celebrate the Alumni network. Share your thoughts on the Fellows Program with #AVACFellows on social media platforms and @HIVpxresearch on Twitter.
Update on the 2020 Fellows
The 2020 cadre of Fellows began their fellowship year right as the COVID-19 pandemic hit, affecting communities across the world, even as critical issues continued to demand action in HIV prevention. The Fellows adapted and innovated—despite uncertainty, delays and losses—and rose to the challenge. Please read more about the 2020 Fellows and the strides they have been making. In light of these extraordinary times, the 2020 Fellowship year is being extended and the call for the next cadre of Fellows will be announced in 2021.
At AVAC, we know the voices from the first decade of AVAC Fellows, and the ones to come, are crucial. They push the field at large and engage their communities directly. In every corner of the field, they play a leading role in the essential work of accelerating ethical research and equitable access in the context of transparency and accountability so that HIV interventions have real impact by reaching those who need them most.
We hope you’ll join us in celebrating the work of these Fellows and keep watching for the great work to come!