Frontline AIDS Evidence map of community action on HIV, health and rights
Frontline AIDS is a global partnership of nationally based governmental and non-governmental organizations that support community organizations which promote HIV/AIDS issues in developing countries.
With a 27-year history and projects in over 40 countries, Frontline AIDS have accumulated a vast body of evidence on HIV prevention and treatment. It is vital to the organisation that their advocacy reflects the evidence generated and the evolved messages emerging from that evidence. What Frontline AIDS needed was a way of determining which interventions improve the HIV response based on the evidence generated from their work. They began this process by working with an academic partner, the Institute of Development Studies, to collate and critically appraise the body of evidence, classifying the research by type of intervention, outcomes and strength of evidence. With the evidence classified, Frontline AIDS needed a tool that would allow them to easily engage with the data which they could use to undertake evidence-informed decision-making and strategic prioritisation.
How we helped
We began by working closely with the client to draw out and understand their needs. This included establishing what they wanted to use the tool for and why, as well as identifying their intended audiences.
Once we had established understanding of the client’s needs, we needed to understand the potential and the limitations of the data. To do this we engaged with the academic partner, working with them to establish the architecture of the evidence map and acting as a bridge between the academic partner and the client to ensure that the format the data would be shared in would fit the proposed tool.
Following our design, our data visualisation experts turned the data into an interactive evidence map. Armed with an understanding of the client needs and the nature of the data, we were able to design a tool that would work for the client while fitting with the nature of the data provided. The resulting map allowed exploration of the evidence generated by Frontline AIDS and their partners on key HIV, health and human rights interventions and outcomes and illustrated when evidence supported and did not support an intervention as well as indicating the quality of that evidence.
A key specification of the data visualisation map was that it included the latest data, incorporating evidence as it emerged. This meant creating a tool that was easy to update. To account for this, we built the map from a single spreadsheet. This allowed the client to easily edit the spreadsheet, in-house, as new evidence became available.
A key motivation for Frontline AIDS in commissioning the tool was to make their evidence more usable and accessible. To further support this aim, in collaboration with the academic partner we created a user guide. Written in a clear, accessible style, the user guide walked potential users through the tool so they could use it quickly and easily for their desired purpose.
After the map was created, we continued to act as a bridge between the client and the academic partner, translating feedback until the client was 100% happy with the tool.
Results / benefits
The interactive evidence map provided Frontline AIDS with a tool that allows them to easily engage with their data. The tool makes it clear what works and in what context as well as highlighting where there are gaps in the evidence, in turn, facilitating the client to undertake evidence-informed decision-making and strategic prioritisation allowing validation of their approach and identification of potential new directions for research.