Call for Innovative Research on Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights

Region: East and Southern Africa.
Application deadline: July 30, 2021

Context and Background

The Regional Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) Fund is a regional funding mechanism that was set up in 2010 by Hivos Southern Africa and Ford Foundation to strengthen regional work on SRHR. The Fund was established in recognition of the critical need for a strategic regional response to collectively address the myriad of SRHR issues in Southern Africa with particular attention to young people and adolescents as well as to provide an opportunity for donors to coordinate their support to SRHR in the region.  In 2017, the Fund secured additional funding from the Embassy of Sweden in Lusaka through its Regional SRHR team to enable the Fund to expand the breadth and focus of its work. The fund is currently focusing on strengthening the capacity of youth-led and youth-focused organisations to effectively advocate for their SRHR needs.

With the aim of building of a body of knowledge and evidence that would inform future programming and interventions. The Special Initiatives Fund (SIF) is one of the critical components of the Regional SRHR fund. This Fund seeks to respond to the broader SRHR agenda by ensuring a quick and easy response to immediate and urgent needs related to emerging SRHR issues in the region. It is for this that Hivos through its SIF is issuing a call for research.

Research focus areas:

The proposed research should focus on any or a combination of the following areas;

  1. Current Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (ASRHR) issues/needs of the most vulnerable groups in the region including but not limited to LGBTI youth, Young people affected by displacement and migration, Young people living with disability, Young people living with HIV/AIDS, Young people in conflict and humanitarian settings.
  2. Emerging and Topical Adolescent SRHR issues such as Age of Consent to services and others that would advance and promote Adolescent SRHR advocacy or awareness raising in one of the focus countries or region

What is expected after the research paper?

  • Results for the research paper to be used for advocacy and awareness raising in response to an emerging ASRHR issue in the project focus country/region
  • Results of the topical issue researched should be able to advance an SRHR issue in the project focus country/region
  • Results of the study should stimulate further research on the topical issue identified
  • Research findings obtained from the study should be able to stimulate/change policies/laws on ASRHR narrative
  • Findings should contribute to strategic response on ASRHR and social justice concerns at either community, national or regional level

The Expression of Interest

Interested applicants should submit an expression of interest as one document which includes:

  • A cover letter
  • A brief concept note (please refer to guidelines below)
  • Budget proposal
  • Workplan/Schedule of activities
  • Curriculum vitae of principal investigator.

Geographic focus area

The proposed research must focus on at least one of the following countries; Kenya, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Tanzania and South Africa. Research focusing on more than one country from the list will be accepted.

Who is eligible to apply?

Individuals consultants, consultant groups or agencies, organizations working on SRHR and academic bodies are all eligible to apply for this call.

Writing your concept note:

Your grant research concept note should not be more than 5 pages and should address the following questions:

  • Issue/need: What situation, issue, or concerns in your context warrant the research?
  • Research Questions: What research questions are you asking and investigating on adolescent SRHR?
  • Statement of Significance: How does this project contribute to the larger ASRHR knowledge base? Intended use of the findings of the proposed research?
  • Research Design/Description of the Study: How will you conduct the study?  Data collection methods, sampling criteria, and analysis procedures
  • Statement of Ethics: How you will account for the ethical demands that may arise during the inquiry process, including ethical clearance
  • Dissemination Plan:  How will you disseminate your findings?
  • Timeline:When does the study begin and end? When will each key milestone be accomplished


Successful researchers are required to implement their research between 1st September, 2021 and 15 November, 2021. All research activities and reporting must be completed before the agreed date.

30 July 2021 Deadline for applications
2 August 2021 Preliminary review of applications
5 August 2021 Technical evaluation of proposals
9 August 2021 Final evaluation and selection of successful Proposals
16 August 2021 Applicants are notified of the Selection  Committee’s decision
16 – 31 August 2021 Contracting of Successful Applicants
1 September 2021 Research commences
25 November 2021 Final reports due


Requirements, Knowledge and Expertise

  • The researcher/principal investigator should have a minimum of a Master’s Degree in public health, development studies, demography & statistics or other related field.
  • Experience in working with marginalised and priority populations
  • Experience in conducting research in public health with a focus on adolescents and youths will be an added advantage
  • Research team/individual should have proven experience and expertise in both quantitative and qualitative methods and proven experience of successfully undertaking research
  • The researcher/s should have proven experience of using different data collection methods and tools (online data collection mechanisms)
  • Broad experience in conducting large survey fieldwork (data collection, validation, entry, analysis and report writing)

Submission and Evaluation of the concept note

All interested parties should respond to the call by 30th July 2021. The concept note and other accompanying documents should be sent to with the title SIF Call for Research 2021 in the subject line. Only Shortlisted applicants will be contacted.

Applications will be evaluated using a weighted scoring approach, as specified below:

Quality of proposed research design and methodology
– Demonstrating a strong understanding of the analytical / contextual / logistical issues relevant for the study
Innovativeness of the proposed research
– Demonstrate innovation, creativity and distinctiveness in ideas to be researched on
Use of research findings
– The researcher should demonstrate how research findings will be used
in the context of ASRHR, ability to attend to ASRHR issues
affecting adolescents
– Relevant expertise, experience, understanding and ability to address the selected research focus areas
– Cost and value for money