3ie ~ International Initiative for Impact Evaluation

skip to content

Thematic Window HIV Self-Testing

3ie requested proposals from organisations to implement pilot interventions to introduce the use of HIV oral self-tests in the Republic of Kenya and conduct impact evaluations of those innovative programmes.

This request for proposals (RFP) is part of phase 2 of this grant window. Under phase 1, 3ie commissioned formative research studies to define the local environment surrounding HIV self-testing. These reports are available to download here.

The pilot programmes must be interventions meant to use HIV oral self-tests to increase testing rates generally and/or increase the frequency of testing among targeted populations. The impact evaluations of the pilot programmes funded under this grant window will produce robust and actionable evidence on how to safely and effectively promote HIV oral self-testing as an additional HIV testing option in the Republic of Kenya.

For more information and instructions on how to apply, please download the   Request for proposals (335.8 KB)

This call is now closed. The deadline for submitting applications was 7 July 2014.

The deadline for questions regarding this RFP was 3 June 2014. For some frequently asked questions read the  FAQ document (144.5 KB)

The answers to the submitted questions are published in the  TW2 Q&A document (149.1 KB)

At a glance

  • 3ie expected to fund two to three grants of about US$300,000. Each grant will fund one project, and each project will combine both the implementation of the intervention and the conduct of the impact evaluation.
  • The call was open to organisations implementing HIV and AIDS programmes in Kenya. For-profit organisations were also eligible to apply.
  • Each proposal must be submitted by a single organisation that may include others as sub-grantees or sub-contractors. Organisations may submit more than proposal.
  • While grant money can be used to fund the implementation, it is expected that most of the intervention will be funded using other resources. 3ie grant funding will be used for the impact evaluation and for adjustments or additions to current programming to facilitate the impact evaluation.
  • A team applying for a grant may include multiple organisations e.g., one organisation that will implement the pilot programme and one organization that will conduct the impact evaluation. But a single organisation must apply for the grant as the prime grantee and then issue sub-awards to other team members.
  • A single organisation may apply to implement both the programme and the impact evaluation, but will need to describe the steps taken for maintaining independence in their proposal.
  • All draft final reports are due no later than 31 December 2015.

How to apply

For instructions on how to apply, please read the Request for proposals  and visit the How to Apply page to download requisite documents for your application.

Any questions about this window or call for proposals should be sent to tw2@3ieimpact.org

About 3ie’s Thematic Window 2 on HIV self-testing

Although HIV self-tests may be a useful tool for encouraging individuals to know their status, little is known about potential users, methods of delivery, and linkage to care. Critically, more knowledge about potential social harms is vital for policymakers and health-care providers seeking to make self-tests available as a method to address the HIV and AIDS epidemic. 3ie is funding research on HIV self-testing under two separate phases—Phase 1, which will fund formative research and Phase 2, which will fund pilot interventions and their impact evaluations.

3ie identified a number of key questions related to HIV self-tests by reviewing self-testing and rapid diagnostic testing literature and by meeting with key stakeholders in Kenya. 3ie and Kenya’s National AIDS and STI Control Programme (NASCOP) selected six of these questions in a request for applications, with the intention of funding at least one project addressing each question. This was under Phase 1 of 3ie Thematic Window 2 on HIV self- testing. The call was open to organisations implementing HIV and AIDS programmes in Kenya.

  • Question 1: Is the use of the oral self-test in real-life situations in Kenya accurate (including both sensitivity and specificity)?
  • Question 2: How should oral self-tests be packaged and labelled?
  • Question 3: Who is likely to seek oral self-testing? What are the incentives of different types of individuals to self-test? What messaging and other methods might be effective for increasing the acceptability and demand for self-tests, particularly among groups that self-testing might want to target?
  • Question 4: What are likely to be the most effective and efficient outlets and/or networks for distributing self-tests to potential users? What programme design features might be specific to different distribution outlets?
  • Question 5: What methods are likely to be effective for ensuring counselling and linkage to care for those using self-tests?
  • Question 6: What are the potential social harms from the availability and use of self-tests? How might risks, such as self-tests administered to others by coercion, be avoided?

Six awards were made under Phase 1 of 3ie’s Thematic Window 2 on HIV Self-Testing to conduct formative research related to the design, implementation, and evaluation of interventions using HIV oral self-tests in the Republic of Kenya.

To read more about the formative research funded under Phase 1 of 3ie’s Thematic Window 2 on HIV Self- Testing, visit the Thematic Window 2 Phase I Award Winners page.

Phase 1 of Thematic Window 2 has been coordinated with NASCOP and with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


The Kenyan government is a strong proponent of innovative methods for HIV prevention and treatment. The government has successfully implemented home-based HIV testing, and they are interested in research that will provide insights for the design of a HIV self-testing programme. With their experience and knowledge of HIV prevention programmes and the Kenyan context, NASCOP was a prime partner for this grant window.

HIV testing in Kenya has increased over the last 5 years.The 2012 Kenya AIDS Indicator Survey reported that the percentage of people aged 15-64 who have ever been tested for HIV increased from 34 per cent in 2007 to 72 per cent (80 per cent for women, 63 per cent for men) in 2012, yet only 47 per cent of HIV positive individuals know their status (NASCOP, 2012). While different approaches including voluntary counselling and testing, provider-initiated counselling and testing, mobile testing, and home-based testing have been used to increase the uptake of HIV testing, coverage is still below the 80 per cent goal and many HIV positive individuals are still unaware of their HIV status. If HIV oral self-testing can overcome some of the barriers to seeking HIV testing, it could provide an option that could complement existing approaches.