Request for Proposal for Rapid Size Estimation of Online Population at Risk of HIV

Request for Proposal: HST-NETREACH-003 – A

Request for Proposal for Rapid Size Estimation of Online Population at Risk of HIV


Purpose of Consultancy


Rapid Size Estimation of Online Population at Risk of HIV 


Project Owner


The Humsafar Trust


Rapid Size Estimation Duration


November 2021 – January 2022

Last Date of Submission




  1. About The Humsafar Trust


Founded in April 1994, The Humsafar Trust (HST) is India’s first community-based organization (CBO)of self-identified homosexual men, MSM, Hijras and LBT persons. The HIV interventions of HST aresupported by National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) and Mumbai District AIDS Control Society(MDACS) to provide health services to Men who have sex with men (MSM) and Transgender communities every year through Public Health Care delivery systems and its In-house clinics. HST organizes advocacy workshops for healthcare provides, law enforcement agencies, judiciary, legislators, politicians and political parties, Government bodies, media, student community to sensitize themon Gay, MSM and TG issues. HST also build capacities of Community Based Organizations in 27 Indian states on HIV prevention, treatment, care & support and advocacy forLGBTQ rights, in addition to providing legal support, crisis management, mental health and nutritioncounselling to its communities. Kindly refer to the website more details about the organization.



  1. Background of the RFP


The project NETREACH aims to strengthen the HIV prevention efforts, including access to HIV testing among Key Population (KP) seeking partners and socialising on virtual platforms. Through NETREACH project, population at risk of acquiring HIV-who are on the virtual platforms (dating apps and social media) are to be identified and referred for HIV testing in public and private health facilities. NETREACH focuses to achieve the first 95 targets (95% of people living with HIV are aware of their HIV status) by ensuring services are located where they are needed most.

The Humsafar Trust requests proposal for services of a qualified market research agency, or independent researcher(s)/consultant(s) to conduct the “Rapid Size Estimation of Online Population at Risk of HIV”.The research agencies/consultant(s) are requested to submit a detailed proposal as per the guidelines outlined in this RFP. 

  1. Objective and rationale


Objective: The primary objective of the rapid size estimation is to develop a scientific method to estimate size of the key population at risk of HIV who use online/virtual platforms for socializing or searching for sexual partners. 

Key population:The key populations include MSM, FSW (Female Sex Workers), and Transgender/ Hijra communities and other populations at risk of HIV accessing sexual partners through virtual platforms.

Rationale: The project NETREACH aims to reach populations who are at risk of HIV and who have not been reached by previous and existing HIV intervention program. Currently in India access to internet is growing and people adapt virtual platforms quickly.Dating apps and social media increasingly provide avenues to socialize and seek sexual partners. Therefore, identifying key population groupsusing   various virtual platforms are vital in planning appropriate HIV related service packages for the population 

In this regard, the rapid size estimation exercise is an important component to set the key targets for the project implementation.It is proposed to conduct size estimation of key populations and information of virtual platforms available for intervention. 


  1. Scope of Work


The selected agency/consultant(s) is expected to carry out the rapid size estimation for online population at risk of HIV and provide the following deliverables:


        1. Literature review–Provide a snapshot of existing studies including methods and sampling design used to estimate size of at- risk populations on various dating and social media platforms
        2. Methodologies–An appropriate methodology for online rapid size estimation design,rationale for sampling methods used,data collection strategies and data analysis techniques used, taking into consideration the objectives of the project stated above
        3. Data collection tools and procedures, including data quality assurance strategy
        4. List of popularly used dating sites, social media platforms in India
        5. Estimates of different KP groups using virtual platform who are at risk of HIV 
        6. Estimates of different KP groups by geographical locations such as states and major cities including urban/rural as available
        7. Density mapping in selected locations in consultation with HST
        8. Undertake an online survey to identify the characteristics and high risk behavior of KPs on virtual platform 


        5. Expected outcome 

        Preliminary findings of rapid size estimation processes & outcomes will be discussed with HST, India HIV/AIDS Alliance(PR),NACO, community representatives and other significant stakeholders to verify the accuracy and validity of the findings.The final report of the rapid size estimation will incorporate the clarifications and discussions of the validation meetings of stakeholders as determined by HST. The outline of the final report is as follows: 

        • Executive summary 
        • Background including a snapshot of literature review 
        • Methodology 
        • Findings based on the scope of work
        • Conclusion 
        • Bibliography 
        • Appendix (tools used for data collection, disaggregate size estimation, etc.) also adequately labelled all data collected through this assignment 

        *The above outline is indicative, please add as applicable


        These Terms of Reference may vary to reflect the changing needs of The Global Fund and HST, Alliance India, and NACO. This will be done in consultation with the selected agency/consultant(s). The selected agency/consultant(s) will be expected to work in a flexible and adaptable manner, responding to changing needs, priorities and context.


        6. Safeguards


        Agency/consultant(s)areadvisedtoadheretotheHIVAct2017andespeciallytoconsent&confidentiality and in respecting the human rights of all participants of the rapid size estimation. NETREACH is committed to safeguard community members’ confidentiality, respect foronline spaces and not intrude to cause imbalance (disgrunt) in discussion themes or services emanating from the project. The agency/consultant(s) will ensure non-discriminatory approach in conduct of the rapid size estimation processes and representation in the thematic discussions thereon. Selected agency will adhere to HST data protection policy as well as statutory requirements presently practiced in the development sector. The proprietary of the rapid size estimation is with HST asunder the rules of GFATM and thus the agency/consultant(s)will require to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) that would extend beyond the project period and hand over all data in raw and report forms to HST on completion of the rapid size estimation. The agency/consultant(s) are required to adhere to HST research guidelines as well as norms for engaging with the community.



        7. Activities&timeline


        The rapid size estimation for online population is expected to be completed in approximately 8 weeks including presenting the final findings. The tentative durations at allstagesis given below:


        1. i. Tentative duration for orientation and desk review (1 week)
          ii. Tentative duration for data collection (4 weeks)
          iii. Tentative duration for validation of processes and presentation of top line results and findings (1 week)
          iv. Tentative duration for final comprehensive report after incorporation of comments from the validation meeting (2 week)


        8. Who can apply to this RFP?


        Agency/consultant(s) must demonstrate the following requirements in their application in order to be considered:

      1. v. The agency/consultant(s) is expected to have a minimum of 3 years of experience in conducting high quality research and evaluation of integrated social development projects preferably related to health, HIV/AIDS, women’s rights, and gender equality. Preference will be given to agency/consultant(s) who have worked in the area of size estimation.
        vi. The team lead should have a Post Graduate degree in Social Sciences, Public Health, Health Services Research, Population Studies, Statistics or other related field.
        vii. Excellent spoken and written command in English and Hindi
        viii. Excellent report writing and presentation skills


9. Proposal Submission Guidelines 


The proposal should be submitted in two parts: i)Technical Proposal, and ii)Financial Proposal. The technicalproposal must contain the following:  


Technical Proposal
i. A brief background including relevant past experiences up to three years related to the studies conducted by the agency/consultant(s). Please include name and contact details of past and current clients
ii. Brief introduction about the rapid size estimation
iii. Rapid size estimation methodology including sampling strategies and data collection plan
iv. Quality control mechanisms (at different stages)
v. Data analysis (analysis plan & software to be used)
vi. Outline of the report
vii. Bio-data of key resource person(s) who will be involved in the rapid size estimation
viii. Timeline for rapid size estimation for online population with key deliverables (Annexure 1)
ix. Contact information of two key officials who will manage the rapid size estimation and sign contracts. In case of individual consultant, contact information of one key person is required


Financial Proposal


Provide detailed cost estimates for each of the task envisaged in conducting the rapid size estimation as per Annexure-2.



10. Criteria for selection of an agency


Given below are the criteria for selection:



Selection Criteria



Technical approach and methodology 



Data collection plan 




Quality control mechanisms plan 




Data analysis and report writing plan 




Past experience of the agency/consultant 




Timeline for the study 




Financial proposal 




HST reserves the right to select a short list from the bids received. HST can conduct interview and discuss specific details with agency/consultant(s) who are short-listed. Agencies/Consultants with experience of size estimation in the area of public health would be an added advantage.

11. Right to final negotiations

HST reserves the option to negotiate on the final costs and final scope of work, and also reserves the option to limit or include third parties at HST’s sole and full discretion in such negotiations.


12. Bid submission instructions 

Bid submission 

The Technical bid and Financial bid are to be submitted as two separate PDF documents by email on

The Financial bid must be pdf document password protected and the password for the same must be sharedon Both the bids technical and financial should be sent on the same day.

Email subject line: RFP-HST-NETREACH-003 – A : Rapid Size Estimation of Online Population at Risk of HIV

Proposal’sFile name should have

File 1 – ‘Name of Agency- Technical Proposal’; File 2- ‘Name of Agency- Financial Proposal’

Last Date of Submission

The application must be submitted along with all supportive documents on or before 02nd November 2021


Annexure – 1

Outline of Timeline for the Study* 

(To be completed by the agency)


S. No.


Completion Date




Discussion with HST about the assignment and presentation of detailed methodology including tools to be used for data collection 





Review and finalization of the tools and methodology 





Desk review and data collection 





Data entry       





Data Analysis 





Submission of Topline Findings





Submission of the final clean and labelled data sets





Draft Report Structure and Chapterization Plan





Draft report submission





Review on the first draft





Final report submission 





Submission of other deliverables including raw data 


* Fields mentioned here are only indicative, please add steps as applicable

Annexure 2

Outline for Budget


Proposed Budget Narrative



Unit cost (in Rs.)

No of days

Total Amount (in Rs.)

1. Human Resource





2. Any other cost 










Tax if any





Grand Total