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Regional FGD Consultant (KPRA) – Terms of Reference

Consultancy: International/ Regional FGD Consultant – Design Focus Group Discussion on current HIV and health policies, programs and services for transgender people and mapping of transgender organizations in Indonesia, Nepal, Thailand and Vietnam  

Project: Key Population Research and Advocacy (KPRA)

Organization: Asia Pacific Transgender Network

Location: Home-based

Contract Length: Sep – Dec 2018

Duration: 12 days

Application Deadline:


Recent reports and research studies offer a glimpse into the lived experiences of trans people worldwide.  Together they paint a picture of stigma, prejudice and discrimination, as well as, for many, harassment, abuse and violence. The impact is that trans people are often edged out onto the margins of society where they experience poor health and wellbeing outcomes. Available data consistently show that HIV disproportionately affects trans women with a pooled prevalence of 17.7 percent between 2000 and 2011 across low- and middle-income countries. Worldwide trans people are 49 times more likely to acquire HIV than the general adult population. Barriers to HIV prevention, treatment and care services, as well as to other healthcare services, aggravate poor health and wellbeing outcomes for trans people.

Asia is home to perhaps 60% of the world’s trans population, and despite this, relatively little primary research data exists in regard to factors impacting trans people’s access to HIV and other healthcare. Much of the available literature is in the form of UN agency and NGO reports that rely heavily on meetings with activists, and case reports. Even with nearly 10-years of Global Fund involvement and support for HIV and TB, very little information exists on how the transgender community accesses prevention and treatment services. In most cases, transgender women are considered under the men who have sex with men (MSM) or sex workers risk group

The proposed research aims to provide important information on HIV and other healthcare for transgender and gender diverse people, the barriers to accessing services, and the ways in which those barriers can be removed through community engagement and empowerment. It is based on the seven research priorities identified in the 2012 UNDP/APTN Lost in Transition Report and recently reaffirmed in the Barriers to Bridges meeting proceedings. The seven priorities include:

  1. Ending the invisibility of trans people and developing research that is tailored to trans persons as specific population, and spotlight the needs of sub-communities such as youth, elderly, rural and trans men;
  2. Utilising trans people as research partners;
  3. Documenting and understanding more fully the HIV vulnerabilities of transgender people, as well as sources of resilience;
  4. Empowering transgender communities through their CBOs and NGOs;
  5. Promoting trans positive attitudes and practices among those who with transgender persons;
  6. Getting health information into the hands of transgender persons and their organizations; and
  7. Promoting trans-competent, comprehensive and accessible healthcare (including for HIV services).

The APTN KPRA is designed as community-driven and community-inclusive, and documents not only the barriers posed by specific HIV and other healthcare policies and practices but also the behaviors of healthcare providers and services-led by transgender persons. The research is intended to serve as a springboard for advocacy on community-led services. Four countries- Indonesia, Nepal, Thailand and Vietnam- have been included in the research study that begins with a preparatory phase of mapping existing literature (published and unpublished) on HIV and other healthcare services (STI, SRH) available for transgender persons, and transgender organizations providing or facilitating HIV prevention and treatment services. Working with national partners, the research will map out community groups, venues, and services.

Phase two of the research will focus on developing the study protocol, tools (including questionnaires), sampling frame, and research methodology. Research methodologies involved should include Focus Group Discussion (FGD), key informant interviews, and a community-based survey. The sampling technique for the community-based survey should be robust. The research tools will be shared with national partners through a regional training. National partners will be responsible for data collection and data input. The information will be given to APTN for further analysis and the findings shared with national partners for advocacy plans.

The objective of APTN’s research is to:

  • To understand current availability of HIV and related health services for transgender persons and potential obstacles to accessing services
  • To understand the role of transgender organizations and other organizations providing HIV and related health services for transgender persons

As part of the APTN’s KPRA study, the Regional Focus Group Discussion consultant research is exclusively for developing the Focus Group Discussion and report in 4 countries, Indonesia, Nepal, Thailand and Vietnam. The aim of the FGD is to build better transgender programming that will address barriers and also build the capacity of transgender people in evidence-based advocacy, social mobilization, collaboration and coordination with other key populations in Asia to facilitate and advocate for accessible and quality trans appropriate and competent services from health care providers.

Tasks and Responsibilities

  • Designing methodological approach to FGD and providing guidance to facilitating focus group discussions with APTN and its SSR (National Partners) in Indonesia, Nepal, Thailand and Vietnam across Asia that addresses trans rights and access to health to gain qualitative input on  specific HIV and other healthcare policies and practices but also the behaviors of healthcare providers and services-led by transgender persons; understand current availability of HIV and related health services for transgender persons and potential obstacles to accessing services; and understand the role of transgender organizations and other organizations providing HIV and related health services for transgender persons
  • Prepare FGD guidance document for in-country partners (SSR);
  • Provide technical support/ troubleshooting in FGD implementation to 4 implementing country;
  • Prepare outline report structure for National FGD consultants;
  • Review National FDG notes and determine relevance to include in Regional FGD report
  • Develop and submit final Regional report on results of the FGDs, and present findings to APTN and its partners


  • FGD Methodology developed and approved.
  • Set of questions for FGD must include collection of qualitative information on availability, accessibility and quality of HIV and related services for transgender persons with clearly identified gaps in services. It should also contain a directory of transgender organizations and others who are providing HIV and related health services for transgender persons in each country.
  • Facilitation guide for National FGD Consultant and APTN SSR
  • Develop structure of National FGD Report Four separate country reports (7 to 10 pages maximum)
  • One regional FGD report (15-25 pages maximum) synthesizing information and case studies from the national FGD reports to guide and inform policy and programming.
  • Final report including a set of recommendations produced to strengthen the influence and impact of CSOs and trans’s organizations to contribute to increasing access to trans-competent health care

Profile and Competencies


  • Proven experience conducting field based research i.e. FGDs;
  • Ability to build a team at short notice;
  • Ability to work remotely across different time zones;
  • Strong analytical skills, and an ability to distill key messages;
  • Excellent writing skills;
  • Demonstrated integrity;
  • Rapid turnaround time;
  • Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability;

The consultant will have access to communicate to APTN four countries (Indonesia, Nepal, Thailand, and Vietnam) SSRs and will have support from APTN and its SSRs for the project. The consultant should have knowledge of HIV and health related services. Familiarity with Global Fund programming is a plus. The consultant should have:

  • Strong research and analytical skills
  • Display cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability
  • Integrity, professionalism and respect for diversity
  • Excellent organizational and planning skills
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills with demonstrated ability to work with gender and sexual minorities
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced, diverse cultural environment and work effectively in remote teams
  • Ability to deliver outcomes in timely manner within tight deadlines

Required Skills and Experience
Qualifications ExperienceAt least 7 years working in the development sector on issues related to trans HIV health and other health care needs;Hands-on field research experience;Excellent knowledge of the regional trans movement, political and development context;Prior experience working with international/ regional and national organisations;Experience working on trans health issues in other country contexts and an ability to draw on relevant points of reference/relevance to Indonesia, Nepal, Thailand and Vietnam contextFluency in English and competency in writing reports, and competency in a second regional language is a plus

Proposal review/ Scoring criteria

S. N.Major topicScore weightage
1Project background 10%
2Experience working in the region5%
3Experience working with Community15%
4Project management10%
6Documentation & Reporting15%
7Monitoring and supervision plan5%
8Work plan5%

How to Apply

Interested candidates should submit a cover letter and CV, a technical and financial proposal (daily rate of USD450).

Send to:

Please indicate ‘KPRA Regional Focus Group Discussion Consultant’ in the subject of email.

Transgender Persons from Asia and the Pacific are highly encouraged to apply.

Only shortlisted candidates will be notified.

About APTN and the KPRA Project

The Asia Pacific Transgender Network, launched in 2009, is the regional network advocating for the health, legal and social rights of transgender women and men in the region and globally. To build a robust, resilient and self-reliant trans movement, APTN implements programmes and initiatives at both country and regional levels for transgender and gender diverse people as well as policymakers, health care practitioners and providers, international agencies, and donors. APTN’s role as the regional convening platform on critical issues such as entrenched stigma and discrimination affecting transgender and gender diverse communities, and its groundbreaking publications on health and legal gender recognition, have helped to guide social policy reform and advance human rights for transgender persons in many countries in the region and globally.  APTN recognizes the importance of HIV in the lives of transgender people, and advocates for the urgent need for improved access and appropriate prevention, treatment and care services for HIV and co-infections as well as sexually transmitted illnesses. [APTN’s Secretariat is based in Bangkok and currently has five staff members.]

The Key Population Research and Advocacy (KPRA) Project aims to advance the role of community in accessing HIV services for key populations. APTN, along with other regional community networks of key populations, is a sub-recipient of a regional Global Fund grant awarded to Save the Children, Nepal (Project Management Unit). APTN is responsible for research activities in four countries—Indonesia, Nepal, Thailand and Vietnam—on barriers to accessing HIV and health care services in transgender and gender diverse communities, and the way in which those barriers can be removed through community engagement and empowerment. APTN’s research under the KPRA Project is for nine months with possibility of extension for additional year on coordination of advocacy activities.

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