New model of funding for Rapid Response Fund (RRF)

CHRR (RRF recipient) train volunteers living at the Dzaleka refugee camp in Malawi on LGBTI rights to help reduce incidences of violence and discrimination.

Key information

  • Organisation: Frontline AIDS
  • Country: Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Namibia
  • Region: Eastern and Southern Africa, Western and Central Africa
  • Stage of innovation: Stage 3. Pilot
  • Start date: November 2021
  • End date: January 2023
  • Type of innovation: Systemic innovation: new or improved way for parts of the public sector to operate and interact with stakeholders
  • Budget: 140,000 USD  (onward granting to partners)
  • Funder: Multiple donors

Summary of intervention

Key populations – lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people (LGBT+), sex workers, people living with HIV (PLHIV), adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) and people who use drugs (PWUD) – often face human rights-related violations and need urgent protection, advocacy, and other services. The Frontline AIDS RRF was set up to respond to these needs as they arose. Between 2016 and 2011, the RRF distributed $4.4m in over 500 small, emergency grants. The focus was on stigma, discrimination and violence; grants funded, for example, temporary relocation of human rights defenders and community members.​ During COVID-19, the RRF was vital in keeping civil society organisations open and active. At a time when human rights violations escalated, RRF grants kept a significant number of individuals in better health, fed, off the streets and alive.

Six years on, Frontline AIDS recognised a need to rethink the model, to decentralise decision-making; ​work more quickly, effectively and safely; ​link emergency response with work for structural change; refine the added value of Frontline AIDS in emergency responses to HIV-related human rights barriers, and​ improve intersectionality/ eligibility across key population organisations​ and networks. The new model is strengthening local community-led mechanisms to respond to HIV-related human rights emergencies in the short and longer term. This is being piloted in a number of countries where emergency responses are integrated into programmatic and advocacy work. Key population-led organisations will be prepared to respond rapidly to stigma, discrimination and violence against marginalised people, and also to respond to opportunities to address structural barriers which prevent access to HIV/AIDS services.


The model is being adapted to enable more systemic and structural change which will provide sustainable change for key populations. Key population networks will be equipped to assist members in strengthening core systems, processes, and accountability structures. ​Donors will recognise the need to integrate emergency response funding into HIV-related human rights programming.

For more information, visit the Rapid Response Fund webpage