Winner Announcement


Winner for the RethinkHIV Grand Challenge is Twistle India

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The Problem

Globally 1.8 million people became newly infected with HIV in 2016, in India as per 2015 estimates 26 out of every 10,000 adults (15-49 years) are estimated to be HIV positive. Some of the primary HIV prevention activities in India are focused on groups called key populations (KP) who have the highest risk of contracting and transmitting HIV. These include Female Sex Workers (FSWs), Men having Sex with Men (MSM), People Who Inject Drugs (PWIDs) and Transgenders (TG). HIV prevention activities have also focused on Bridge Populations, mainly clients or partners of male and female sex workers and are at the risk of contracting HIV, for example, the section of truckers and migrant workers. Both KPs and bridge populations are provided with specialized prevention services and messages through Targeted Interventions (TIs).


The National AIDS Control Program (NACP) has maintained a large focus on physical and site-based intervention i.e. intervention takes places at physical places where key populations and bridge populations (migrants and truck drivers) are available in person. While this may be the most suitable outreach in most cases even today, it is being increasingly observed that there is a trend among interested population to use newer and technology-driven means to access other interested partners for sexual encounters. Increasing number of sexually active populations have taken to these methods quite comfortably, and are not necessarily available on the physical sites for interactions and interventions.  Additionally, there is a gap in knowledge about the nature, risk and vulnerability of the population accessing sexual networks through virtual space. To address this gap, the HIV prevention, care and support program should keep pace with diffusion of technology.  









Grand Challenge

The RETHINK HIV Grand Challenge has been launched with the objective of identifying compelling and unique solutions from agencies, NGOs, for-profit organizations and individuals with technological innovations in the virtual space to reach the unreached high-risk populations with awareness and generating demand for HIV related services. The chosen promising solution will be scaled-up and will have the potential to combat the epidemic and strengthen the national response to HIV and contribute in achieving the set targets for India by 2020.
The RETHINK HIV Grand Challenge will recognize and support innovations in one or more of the following areas:

Program Overview

The RETHINK HIV Grand Challenge seeks the most innovative problem-solvers to provide tech solutions and will help deploy the best idea by providing:

Seed Funding

Grand Challenge will provide seed funds to up to five innovations for a period of six months for piloting and testing validity of the innovation. The total amount available for all the selected innovators (up to five) would be USD $250,000.

Transition to Scale Funding

Most promising solution(s) identified from the seed funding stage will be provided up to USD $250,000 to develop, refine, and rigorously test the impact of innovative solution. Transition to scale funds is subjected to the extension of the LINKAGES project.


Indicators for Success

A successful innovation for RETHINK HIV Grand Challenge will provide:  

Solutions that demonstrates reach and impact 

Solutions that specifies the number of people tested and treated for HIV

Solutions that through a specific algorithm-based denominator validates behavior change

Solutions that are off the beaten track, daring in its premise and should clearly be differentiated from standard practices

Solutions that can have a potential of substantial impact on one or more steps of continuum of HIV services i.e. prevention, care, support and treatment

Solutions to be scalable and have measurement metrics for monitoring and evaluations

Solutions that provide low-cost or highly cost-effective solutions


Selection Process





Stage I – Expression of Interest
All Expressions of Interest for seed funding must be submitted only through the online application platform; submissions will not be accepted via email. To submit the initial Expression of Interest, you must complete all the form fields that includes information about the innovation, the organization that is applying for funding and also upload all the necessary documents on the online application platform.  A review committee will evaluate all applications received from the online platform and shortlist 15 applicants.
Stage II – Request for Proposal (RFP)
The 15 shortlisted applicants will be invited to submit detailed technical and financial proposals, for which an RFP will be shared and a Selection Committee comprising of subject matter experts, key stakeholders, and community representatives will evaluate them. This will lead to shortlisting 10 finalists who will appear before the selection panel for face-to-face assessments.
Stage – III Boot Camp
Our team will conduct an appraisal of the 10 shortlisted innovators to identify and understand their needs, gaps, and challenges. This will assist in preparing a list of key concerns and requirements for assessing technical capability, execution, revenue model, scalability, sustainability, replicability and overall cost-effectiveness. Based on this evaluation, the Mentorship Board at RETHINK HIV Grand Challenge will design and employ a customized capacity building assistance and offer the right mentorship for the semi-finalists. A three-day boot camp will be organized to guide the innovators on the challenges identified during the need assessment. At the end of this stage, in a showcase event, all semi-finalist innovators will have the opportunity to present their mock pitch to the Mentorship Board. They can use this opportunity to get feedback from the board on their respective pitch to address the gaps.
Stage – IV Selection of Final Five
The 10 finalist innovators will present their final pitch to the Selection Committee. Each presentation will be followed by an individual face-to-face interview and based on their overall performance during both, the presentation and interview, each member of the Selection Committee will provide a score along with comments to each innovator. The scores from all Selection Committee members will be compiled, and an average score will be calculated. After a thorough discussion on the review and comments, the Selection Committee will select and shortlist the five most suitable final innovators. These final five finalists will be recognized as RETHINK HIV Grand Challenge innovations and will be supported both, technically and financially.


Phase 1

EOI Advertised

22   Jan 2018


RFP Circulation

22   Mar 2018


Selection of the Finalists

30  Apr - 02   May 2018



Final Pitch to Selection Committee

31   May 2018


15   Mar 2018


EOI Submission Deadline

09   Apr 2018


RFP Submission Deadline

29  - 30   May 2018



Boot Camp

01   Jun 2018


Selection of Final Three

Phase 2

01   Sep 2018


14   - 15   Sep 2018



18   Sep 2018

31  Mar 2019



01  12  May 2019



On-boarding of Finalists 

Kick-off meeting 

Project Implementation

External Evaluation of Innovators

03  Jun 2019


Winner Announced

02   - 13   Sep 2018



16   - 18   Sep 2018



01   - 30   Apr 2019



15  May 2019


Development of the Monitoring framework 

Finalization of the Monitoring Framework 

Development of the Evaluation Framework

Selection Committee Review Meeting 

Latest Updates

Follow this space for all the latest news, notifications on upcoming events, updates and implementation progress of identified innovations related to RETHINK HIV

Selection of Finalists 

FHI 360 compiled and enumerated scoring from all the jury members and after consultation with
NACO selected following applicants as finalist subject to clearance of Pre-award Assessment (PAT). 

One KeyCare Ventures

A retired professional turned management professor, a behavioral psychologist, a gaming fanatic, a social sector enthusiast forms the core of One KeyCare Ventures. Driven by the shared passion for social good, these square pegs in round holes aim to change the social sector landscape by creating innovative technology platforms that overcome the barriers which prevent the availability of many services in healthcare and education sector. enables large-scale chat & voice bot led automation.’s clients represent more than 50% of the Mutual funds’ AUM in India, with significant penetration in categories like life & general insurance, NBFC, healthcare, foreign aid & public health organizations. With a full suite of conversational commerce solutions and proprietary Natural Language Processing algorithms, enables deep deployments across channels for customers helping them automate online sales, customer service, and personalized re-engagement.

Twistle is the easiest and most powerful way to engage with your patients across all clinical specialties, procedures, and chronic conditions. Current online resources are just repositories of knowledge. Twistle’s solution understands that personalized, timely and understandable engagement is the cornerstone of effective behavioral change. Our platform reminds, educates, coaches, assesses and nudges users on their mobile phone in their own language to improve adoption and adherence to protocols.

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RethinkHIV Grand Challenge Winner 2019

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Twistle India

Twistle’s innovation, Love Zodiac, uses a technological approach to engage users in virtual space at risk of contracting HIV.  Twistle registered users onto the Love Zodiac platform. The registered users were sent educational content around HIV/AIDS, thus creating awareness about the need for testing.

The 13-Phase Journey of RethinkHIV Grand Challenge














Phase I – Expression of Interest
A document inviting Expression of Interest (EOI) from individuals and organizations interested in applying for RETHINK HIV Grand Challenge was prepared and published on online and offline media and Expression of Interest (EoI) for applications were invited between 22nd January 2018 to 15th March 2018. During this process, 63 Expressions of Interests (EoIs) were received out which of these, 20 were from not-for-profit organizations, 39 were from for-profit organizations while 4 were from individual innovators. 
Phase II – Shortlisting of EOIs
An evaluation matrix and scoring criteria were developed for the shortlisting of EOIs. The parameters used in the evaluation matrix included an understanding of the problem, innovation, execution plan, and sustained impact. All 63 EoIs were scored by both Taru and FHI 360 teams individually. On the basis of joint scores, top 15 applicants were shortlisted who were then invited to apply via a detailed project proposal for the next level of selection. These 15 shortlisted applicants received a ‘Request for Proposal’ (RFP) package. The Applicants prepared the detailed technical and financial proposal within 15 days of receiving RFP package and submitted these documents to the evaluation team for review.
Phase – III Formation of Selection Committee
A Selection Committee was formed towards the selection process for the RETHINK HIV Grand Challenge which comprised of members from National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), Linkages, FHI360 and Taru Leading Edge as below: Dr. K. S. Sachdeva (DDG NACO), Dr. Bitra George (FHI 360), Ms. Vinita Verma (NACO), G. S. Shreenivas (Linkages), Prakash Kumar (Taru) and Shailesh Vaite (Taru). Dr. Jeeban Baishya from USAID was present during the meeting as an observer.
Phase – IV First Meeting of the Selection Committee
First Meeting of the Selection Committee During the first meeting on 12th and 13th April 2018 of the Selection Committee, it reviewed all the 15-applications received and after reviewing all the technical proposals, the Selection Committee decided upon top 7 applicants which could be potentially shortlisted to go for the next level of the selection process. This was subject to applicants providing satisfactory clarifications sought by the Selection Committee. The Selection Committee decided to invite these 7 applicants for a face to face interaction to understand the proposed innovation in detail and to also clarify some of the doubts and queries the Selection Committee had about the technical and financial proposals.
Phase – V Second Meeting of the Selection Committee
The Second meeting of the Selection Committee took place from 30th April to 2nd May 2018. To assist the Selection Committee in the process, three experts from the fields of Artificial Intelligence (AI), media and communication and business were identified by Taru Leading Edge and invited to join the Selection Committee meeting. The experts included: Mr. Ravi Tiwari from BizAugmentor (Expert on Artificial Intelligence), Mr. Girish Balachandran from On Purpose Communication (Expert on Media and Communications), Mr. Kirti Mishra from Ecociate (Business Specialist).
The 9 shortlisted applicants were requested to participate in a face to face interaction with the selection committee. Each applicant made a presentation elaborating their innovation and technical the financial details. The Selection Committee decided to invite all the 9 applicants to the boot camp to make a final pitch presentation to the jury panel of RETHINK HIV Grand Challenge.
Phase – VI Bootcamp
A boot camp for the top 9 RETHINK HIV Grand Challenge applicants was organized on 29th and 30th May 2018 at Hotel Radisson Blu, Udaipur, Rajasthan. The objectives of the boot camp were two-fold: Help the innovators to create a clear and concise pitch presentation on their innovative solution to be presented to the selection committee and Have a discussion on various aspects of their innovative solution by analyzing alignment with the ecosystem, level of innovation, sustainability, scalability, and institutional capacity.
On the first day of the boot camp, the applicants had a dry run of the pitch presentation which they were planning to make to the final jury of the RETHINK HIV Grand Challenge. Each applicant received detailed feedback and suggestions from the experts and members of NACO, FHI 360 and Taru to improve their pitch presentation. On the second day, the applicants were encouraged to have breakout sessions with the experts to discuss their pitch presentations and incorporate changes and improvements after the one-to-one interaction with the experts.
Phase – VII Formation of Jury for the Selection of Finalists 
A panel was formed to serve as Jury for the selection of finalists of RETHINK HIV Grand Challenge. The members of the Jury included Dr. K. S. Sachdeva (DDG NACO), Dr. Bhawani Singh (Dy. Director-TI, NACO), Mr. Xerxex Sidhwa (USAID), Dr. Meena Srivastava (USAID ), Dr. Bitra George (FHI 360) and G. S. Shreenivas (Linkages).
Phase – VIII Final Pitch Presentation to the Jury
The top 9 applicants of RETHINK HIV Grand Challenge made their final pitch presentation to the jury on 31st May 2018 at Hotel Radisson Blu, Udaipur Rajasthan right after the boot camp. Each applicant made a pitch presentation for 15 minutes which was followed by a 15 minutes Q&A session from the jury members.
The jury members had an internal discussion to deliberate upon the innovation and proposal presented and each jury member provided their scores on a separate scoring sheet which were compiled and enumerated by FHI 360.
Phase – IX Selection of Finalists
The team compiled and enumerated scoring from the jury members and selected the following applicants as finalists: OneKeyCare Ventures Pvt. Ltd., Infinity Internet Pvt. Ltd. ( and Twistle India Pvt. Ltd.
A detailed Pre-Award Assessment review was undertaken and necessary contractual processes were initiated in June 2018.
Phase – X Monitoring of Innovators
Monitoring of these innovators and their pilot projects was crucial as well as a complex process. Each pilot project is unique, required separate monitoring parameters. To ensure that the process was well defined, a Monitoring Framework for each pilot project was developed in consultation with the innovator to track the progress of the implementation and to ensure timely decisions to achieve desired results. A system of monthly monitoring visits was included in the Grand Challenge Monitoring process. During these monitoring visits, review of the implementation progress against the mutually agreed monitoring framework, achievements against contract deliverables, feedback by FHI 360 and Taru, challenges and course corrections, if required, were discussed 
Phase – XI Mentoring of Innovators
RETHINK HIV Grand Challenge is committed to providing the best possible support to all its innovators towards effective implementation of their innovations. Towards this, customized mentoring and technical support was provided to ensure the specific needs of the innovators could be addressed. Needs of each innovator were identified through a Needs Assessment process. and on the basis of which, match-making was done between mentors and innovators; specific mentors were assigned to each innovator towards addressing those needs. Each innovator was assigned one mentor who could advise them on technical aspects of HIV/AIDS and a second mentor was assigned based on the specific need of the innovator which ranged from communication, information dissemination, technology etc.
Phase – XII Evaluation of Innovators
The Evaluation Framework was prepared by Taru and finalized in consultation with FHI 360. Moreover, the Evaluation Framework was also presented to NACO for feedback. The Evaluation Process was undertaken by an Evaluation Committee (External Evaluators on-boarded by Taru to avoid bias) which assessed each of the innovations presented to them as per their specific area of expertise. Evaluation for each innovator was to be based on parameters as listed below, each of which had pre-defined objective(s) that it aimed to achieve.
  1. Project Management
    The primary objectives of this evaluation parameter were towards assessing achievement of pre-agreed goals and milestones as per Contract and Monitoring Plan, assessment of timeliness, quality of deliverables and other relevant project management aspects.
  2. User Feedback
    The primary objective of this evaluation parameter was towards critically assessing the capabilities of the solutions been designed and executed by the three Innovators, specifically in the context of their technological robustness and overall user experience reflecting through the performance metrics measured.
  3. Cost-Benefit Analysis
    The primary objective of this evaluation parameter was towards assessing the sustainability, scalability and replicability aspects of the innovations.
Phase – XIII Final Review by Selection Committee
The Final Review of the Evaluation Process was undertaken by the Selection Committee which, on the basis of their area of expertise, assessed each of the innovations presented to them on an overall basis i.e. project management ease, real-time user feedback and cost-benefit analysis of the innovations through a consultative process. Each of the Innovators and the External Evaluators presented their findings to the Selection Committee in the form a Selection Committee Review Meeting which was conducted on 15th May 2019 at NACO, New Delhi office. This meeting was also attended by other key stakeholders such as NACO, USAID, FHI360, and Taru. On basis of the presentation of findings, the Selection Committee also discussed on key factors such as whether the innovation has solved the RETHINK HIV Grand Challenge problem statement, the potential to scale and whether the innovation can be integrated with other relevant systems and if the innovation fills in the current programmatic gaps. After carefully reviewing and considering all findings presented, the Selection Committee provided their scores to the innovators. The Innovator, with the highest overall score, was declared as the Winner of the Grand Challenge.

Knowledge Resources

National Strategic Plan for HIV/AIDS and STI

Paving Way for an AIDS Free India (2017 – 2024)

A Role for Health Communication

In the Continuum of HIV Care, Treatment, and Prevention

"Weird to have that on Facebook"

Young people's use of social media and the risk of sharing sexual health information

Social network approaches to HIV prevention

Including recruitment, medical care, and medication adherence


Partnership to Catalyse Impact

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in collaboration with the National AIDS Control Organization (NACO), FHI 360 and Taru Leading Edge (TARU) has decided to harness the power of partnerships to launch the RETHINK HIV Grand Challenge in India

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