Breaking Out of the Echo Chambers: Positive Action Challenges


This Challenge is seeking innovative storytelling approaches via digital technology, including but not limited to social media channels, to engage targeted, hard-to-reach groups on issues related to HIV prevention, testing, and/or care.

Full Application Closes: 4 October 2018

Prize amount: $10,000 per prize. Up to 3 prize winners

Read more about the rules and apply via Positive Action Challenges


At the AIDS 2018 Conference, UNAIDS and Positive Action held a symposium with storytellers to explore the questions: how often do you feel the stories you tell or that you hear is like preaching to the converted? How do we address misconceptions about HIV and tackle stigma with people and audiences that are hard to reach?

This Challenge prize seeks to extend this discussion to storytellers that actively target hard-to-reach at-risk groups using innovative and creative approaches on digital technologies.

As digital technologies become more and more ubiquitous across a variety of settings, the potential for digitally-based storytelling to engage people at risk or living with HIV continues to expand. An explosion of social media-based health promotion efforts over the past several years reflect a growing understanding that digitally-based storytelling can play a role in behaviour change. The rise of digitally-based storytelling in the HIV/AIDS response aligns to this trend.[i] For example, social media is an increasingly used tactic to get information related to HIV prevention, treatment and care to people at risk of or living with HIV.[ii]

Some people at risk of or living with HIV utilise digital technologies, but may not be exposed to, or engage with, digitally-based storytelling about HIV prevention, testing, care and/or stigma. There may be a variety of factors as to why these ‘hard-to-reach’ groups are not being reached. One of the reasons may be the ‘echo chamber’ effect. 

Analysis of social media use shows that, on the whole, most users tend to engage most with information that aligns to their existing beliefs and perceptions on the world.[iii][iv] In addition, some social media channels use algorithms to curate content that users are more likely to engage with. This phenomenon has been described as the ‘echo chamber’ effect, wherein users find themselves surrounded, in general, by content from like-minded people and preferred information sources. Read more via Positive Action Challenges

    Click Apply Now to access the PAC Community portal where you can register or log in to start an application. Once registered you can connect with fellow solvers to share ideas, find collaborators and work on applications.
    Submit a Concept Note to provide a summary of your innovation. You can seek input/feedback from other community members or submit right away. Concepts are shortlisted to progress to the next stage by the PAC team based on the challenge criteria.
    The best eligible Concept Notes are invited to submit a Full Application. This stage requires more detail about the development and implementation of your innovation. This is the final stage for applicants before the judging process begins.