Support to Grantees

Enabling new leadership in the HIV response requires, in addition to resources, a continued investment in the capacity of youth-led initiatives and organizations to foster new leaders and build a long-term movement. HYLF supports grantees to think strategically and build their organizational capacity so they can amplify their mission.

Grantee Needs Assessment

After grantees are selected, HYLF assesses grantees areas of greatest need. Commonly identified areas of need are: financial management, monitoring and evaluation (M&E), networking, fundraising, technical knowledge and advocacy.

Technical Support Framework

HYLF works to ensure grantees have the appropriate technical assistance and support to carry out their projects and activities, including addressing issues of sustainability. HYLF's support includes:

Peer Support Program

Regional Grantee Trainings

Linking grantees with potential funders, partners and advocacy opportunities

Through this support framework, we are able to provide flexible technical assistance which is adapted to the specific context of a grantees’ country, work and organizational capacity.

1. Peer Support Program

The Peer Support Program (PSP) matches grantee organizations with a peer mentor in the same country. The PSP provides ongoing mentorship in key areas including evaluation, networking and grant reporting. Mentors speak the same language as grantees, and also have backgrounds in youth HIV issues, enabling them to advise on technical challenges grantees face. PSP mentors and grantees communicate regularly to discuss their progress, challenges and successes. PSPs also communicate regularly to the HYLF Secretariat, helping document the successes and challenges of grantees as they are often the first to know what’s happening on the ground. HYLF supports PSP mentors to attend the grantee training and to visit grantees during their grant cycle when possible.

2. Grantee Trainings

HYLF organizes a three day grantee training for new grantees at the start of their grant cycle. For such new groups receiving funding for the first time, an in-person training is critical to ensure they develop skills in project implementation and grant reporting. Through these trainings, HYLF also works to ensure grantees gained a solid understanding of evaluation principles and the importance of gathering data to drive evidence-informed advocacy.

3. Linking grantees with the broader HIV response

HYLF facilitates the transfer of knowledge between grantees and stakeholders at the national, regional and international level. We share grantee best practices, insights and knowledge with the broader HIV response. This gives visibility to the grantees work and also links them with relevant opportunities for learning, partnership, advocacy and funding, including those with its partners and Steering Committee organizations. HYLF also supports grantees by writing recommendation letters to other funders. We have previously supported grantees to attend key conferences and events, including the International AIDS Conference, through nominations and assistance with sponsorship.


HYLF advocates for a more effective and appropriate HIV response to meet the needs of young people most affected by HIV. Often this means advocating for young key affected populations, and supporting partners and grantees in ensuring the realities and rights of young key affected populations (YKAP) are addressed in policy and programs. We currently conduct advocacy through the following platforms:

Facilitating funding for youth-led initiatives

As a youth-led funding initiative, HYLF is in a unique position to influence the donor environment. Through its funder-specific advocacy, HYLF works to help funders understand the benefits of supporting youth-led organizing and advocates with them to re-think their approach towards funding youth-serving organizations that don’t reach most affected young people.

HYLF is currently on the board of Funders Concerned About AIDS (FCAA) and in December 2011 facilitated a dialogue at the FCAA Annual Summit on how to fund a more effective HIV response for young people. HYLF is also a member of the International Human Rights Funding Group and the Funders Network on Population, Reproductive Health and Rights, where we raise relevant issues around young people and HIV. An increasing area of attention for HYLF moving forward will be influencing the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria’s funding streams targeted at young people.

Connecting grassroots groups with regional and global advocacy opportunities

HYLF closely monitors the work of our grantees to identify opportunities to link the work of grantees working at the community level with the ongoing work of HYLF Steering Committee organizations. These organizations are frequently in a position to advocate at the regional or international level through United Nations ECOSOC status, participation on UN inter-agency task teams and other policy and decision making fora.

Advocating for the rights of young key affected populations

Through our proactive engagement with international and regional governance processes as well as civil society initiatives, HYLF promotes and supports a better HIV response for young key affected populations. HYLF participated in the United Nations 2011 High Level Meeting on AIDS, helping to develop youth-specific advocacy messages which highlighted the needs of young key affected populations. HYLF facilitated a session at the pre-HLM Youth Summit, and participated on a donor roundtable side event at Ford Foundation examining the future of HIV funding. Also in 2011, HYLF joined the Steering Group of the Free Space Process, a coalition of global civil society organizations supporting the scale-up and quality improvement of civil society’s response to HIV, which has resulted in the creation of a new fund to support HIV networks.

HIV Young Leaders Fund asks young leaders to make decisions about which youth-led initiatives in their region can best meet the needs of young people affected by HIV.

HYLF convenes a Community Review Panel (CRP) composed of young leaders with country-level experience in youth HIV issues to review grant applications and make grant recommendations. The CRP develops leadership capacity among another group of young people, many of whom have not participated in funding decisions before. The CRP also ensures grants are awarded through an open and transparent peer review of applications. This process is structured to distribute funds rapidly and efficiently, while ensuring affected communities have direct input into how funds are allocated.



 The work must be youth-led. Youth-led means your organization or project is coordinated and governed by young people aged 30 years or younger. Youth-led organizations and youth-led projects (this can be within a larger organization or a new initiative) are eligible for funding. Proposals which clearly demonstrate a team of young people share decision-making responsibilities and leadership will be prioritized.

Registered and non-registered organizations may apply. However, non-registered organizations must have a fiscal sponsor who is registered as a nongovernmental organization. Groups with fiscal sponsors must have a written agreement with their fiscal sponsor outlining the terms of the sponsorship.
We highly encourage applications from groups that are by and for young people most affected by HIV. This includes young people living with HIV, sex workers, people who use drugs, men who have sex with men, transgender people, and women.



 The following groups are not eligible for funding: individuals, for-profit organizations, government institutions, bi-lateral and multi-lateral institutions. Youth-led organizations that have an operating budget of over $100,000 are ineligible. Non-youth-led organizations which have youth-led projects applying and whose annual organization budget exceeds $250,000 are ineligible. In addition, you cannot serve on HYLF’s Community Review Panel and also apply for funding as the leader of a project or organization.