Thematic Window Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision

3ie is pleased to announce seven awards under the Thematic Window for voluntary medical male circumcision.

The awards have been made for implementing pilot interventions and conducting impact evaluations of those interventions to generate robust evidence on what works for increasing the demand for Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision for HIV prevention in Eastern and Southern Africa. 

This is the first time that 3ie is funding pilot interventions alongside impact evaluations. The aim here is to encourage ideas for new programmes that, once studied through rigorous impact evaluation, can add to the broader base of knowledge of what works. 

To read more about the pilot interventions and evaluations being funded, visit the Thematic Window 3 Award Winners page.

3ie has requested revised proposals from three other applicants with promising applications. Grants may be awarded if revised proposals are submitted and scored as acceptable. The thematic window for voluntary medical male circumcision has been designed in coordination with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


It is widely recognized that preventive measures are crucial for addressing the HIV epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa. Three randomised controlled trials and numerous observational studies have shown that male circumcision reduces HIV acquisition by approximately 60 per cent for men, suggesting that efforts to increase male circumcision can play a significant role in the broader picture of HIV prevention.

Several programmes aimed at increasing the prevalence of male circumcision in countries with high rates of HIV/AIDS have been initiated. There are more health care providers and facilities able to provide these services than ever before. Despite this, progress has been modest. Evidence suggests that many of the barriers to increasing male circumcision prevalence may be on the demand side. 

About the call

The call for applications closed in May, 2013.

For more information on this call, please read TW3 Request for Proposals. Questions and answers from potential applicants are posted at TW3 Q&A.

To help inform proposals for TW3, 3ie published a scoping report on Interventions for Increasing the Demand for Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision. The report provides an overview of the interventions implemented in 14 sub-Saharan African countries to increase uptake of medical male circumcision and the available evidence on the effectiveness of these interventions.
Download report

3ie organised a day-long matchmaking event to facilitate engagement between researchers and implementers interested in the thematic window. The event took place on the final day of the Eastern and Southern Regional Meeting on Demand Creation for Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) in Lusaka Zambia from April 3-5, 2013.  Watch a video on 'How to increase the demand for Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision' based on this meeting. 3ie's matchmaking event is featured after frame 8:04 of this video.

Review process

3ie received 20 proposals for this thematic window. Each proposal was reviewed by an internal reviewer, and three external reviewers. The external reviewers for each proposal included an impact evaluation research expert, a representative of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and representatives of agency members of the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.

The reviewers provided scores on aspects of the proposed interventions and the impact evaluations according to a pre-determined set of criteria and weights. The scores were used by the Thematic Window 3 selection panel to determine award winners. 3ie would like to thank the reviewers and the external members of the selection panel.

Final approval of awards is made by the 3ie Board of Commissioners.

Thematic Window 3 panelists and reviewers

3ie recognizes and thanks the following individuals for their work during the scoring and selection process:

Kim Ahanda, Office of HIV/AIDS, US Agency for International Development

Stella O. Babalola, Johns Hopkins Center for Global Health

Robert C. Bailey, School of Public Health, University of Illinois at Chicago

Paulin Basinga, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Parinita Bhattacharjee, University of Manitoba (Based in Nairobi, Kenya)

Naomi Bock, HIV Prevention Branch, Division of Global HIV/AIDS Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Catey Laube MacDonald, U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)

Emmanuel Njeuhmeli, Office of HIV/AIDS / Global Health Bureau, US Agency for International Development

Nancy Padian, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley

Audrey Pettifor, School of Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Daniel C. Rutz, Division of Global HIV/AIDS, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Sema Sgaier, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Anne Thomas, U.S. Department of Defense HIV/AIDS Prevention Program

Joshua O. Yukich, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine

Photo © The SASA

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