Professor Lucie Cluver

Lucie Cluver is a Professor of Child and Family Social Work, in the Centre for Evidence-Based Social Intervention in the Department of Social Policy and Intervention, and an Honorary Professor in Psychiatry and Mental Health at the University of Cape Town. She works closely with the South African government, UNDP, USAID-PEPFAR, UNICEF, UNAIDS, Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children, the World Health Organisation and with other international agencies, to provide evidence that can improve the lives of children and adolescents in Sub-Saharan Africa.

PI Professor Cluver has an exceptional track record of impact, and in the past three years has been awarded the European Union Horizon 2020 Impact Award in 2019, the UNICEF Women Leaders in the HIV response for Children in 2018 and the ESRC Outstanding International Impact Prize in 2017. In 2019 she was recognised as one of UKRI’s 15 Women with Impact in Research. 

Lucie is lucky to work with an incredible and dedicated team of PhD students, postdoctoral researchers, and colleagues. Together they lead large-scale longitudinal surveys and randomised controlled trials of interventions, combined with participatory qualitative research.

From 2019, Lucie is the Principal Investigator for the UKRI GCRF Accelerating Achievement for Africa's Adolescents Hub. Find out more here. During COVID-19 Lucie and Jamie Lachman led the COVID-19 Emergency Parenting Response. We worked with WHO, UNICEF, the Global Partnership to End Violence against Children, UNODC, CDC and USAID to develop evidence-based resources for everyone struggling to look after their children in lockdowns and school closures. The resources have reached over 195 million people in 198 countries and territories, and have been used by 34 governments in their national COVID responses. To find the open-source resources in over 100 languages go to 


The UKRI GCRF Accelerate Hub

The goal of this new research programme is to promote success for Africa’s adolescents, and the children of adolescent parents. The Hub works in 34 countries across Africa to identify effective services with synergies across multiple Sustainable Development Goals: ‘Accelerators’. It responds to requests from policymakers for evidence that helps them to make the best, cost-effective policies for their adolescents. Partners include the African Union Development Agency, UNDP, UNICEF, WHO, UNFPA, UNAIDS, & UN Women, regional NGOs providing direct services, and is led by 11 African and 3 UK research institutions. It works closely with adolescents themselves as co-leaders in design and impact. The Hub has a particular focus on capacity-sharing for early-career African academics (co-Directors Prof Lorraine Sherr, Prof Chris Desmond).   

Supporting parents and preventing violence against children

Lucie co-leads the Parenting for Lifelong Health (PLH) Initiative – a collaboration between the World Health Organisation, UNICEF and academics to provide evidence-based non-commercialised child violence prevention programmes for LMIC. Since 2012, the PLH team has developed and tested programmes in randomised controlled trials in Southern Africa, Eastern Europe, the Philippines and Thailand. Since 2018 these programmes are They are now being scaled up in 25 countries across Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, India and Latin America, and are available free on the WHO website. The PLH team is now working with implementing partners to pool data collected routinely across these locations so that we can better understand programme delivery and effectiveness at scale (co-leads Prof Cathy Ward, Prof Frances Gardner, Prof Mark Tomlinson, Dr Daniel Oliver, Dr Jamie Lachman, Dr Inge Wessels).

Preventing violence during COVID-19

Lucie Cluver's group leads a coalition of WHO, UNICEF, the Global Partnership to End Violence, USAID and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in co-developed open-source COVID-19 parenting resources, condensing evidence from our multiple RCTs of child abuse prevention programmes in Africa, Asia and Europe, which were started with ERC-supported PACCASA and continued with CAPITA and HEY BABY. Worksheets were endorsed by all collaborating agencies, and released onto the WHO and UNICEF COVID-19 websites, alongside a letter in The Lancet. In 7 weeks these child abuse prevention resources reached 34 million families in 178 countries. They have been translated into 100+ languages and disseminated by governments including Bangladesh, Brazil, Cambodia, Colombia, France, Germany, Iceland, India, Kenya, Malaysia, Montenegro, Paraguay, Philippines, South Africa, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Uganda, Vanuatu, and Vietnam. Social media includes reach to 12 million people through WHO’s WhatsApp system. 

Cash plus care for adolescents in Africa

Working with a dedicated team in close collaboration with policymakers, Lucie has pioneered research on ‘cash plus care’ – examining the impacts of social protection and psychosocial care on adolescent health. This has led to UNAIDS and UNICEF guidance and delivery of cash + care programs to an estimated 2.5 million children and adolescents in Southern and Eastern Africa (with Prof Mark Orkin, Prof Lorraine Sherr, Dr Mark Boyes, Dr Franziska Meinck).

Supporting success for adolescents living with HIV (Mzantsi Wakho) and young parents (HEY BABY)

With Dr Elona Toska (University of Cape Town), Lucie co-leads the first community-based large panel of HIV-positive adolescents and community controls, including 1500 adolescents in South Africa over four years, and integrating qualitative research led by Dr Rebecca Hodes (University of Cape Town).

Also with Dr Elona Toska, Lucie co-leads the first known longitudinal study in Africa to assess pathways to resilience amongst adolescent parent families living with and without HIV. This ongoing study includes 1,000+ adolescent parents and child dyads.

Previous work

Lucie has led major longitudinal studies: the ‘Young Carers Study’ (2008-2012, with Dr Mark Boyes) was the world’s largest study of risk and resilience amongst AIDS-affected children, including 6000 children with longitudinal follow-up in South Africa, the ‘Orphan Resilience Study’ (2005-2009 with Prof Frances Gardner) followed 1000 children over four years to identify impacts of orphanhood.


The team’s work has won a number of awards, including a European Union Horizon 2020 Impact Award, European Union Council Conference Social Sciences and Humanities Impact Award (2019), ESRC Oxford University Excellence in Impact Award (2018), ESRC's Outstanding International Impact Prize (2017), the Philip Leverhulme Prize (2015), the International AIDS Society Young Investigator Award (2014), and the Discovery Clinical Excellence Award (2013). Prof Cluver was included in UKRI’s ‘Women with Impact’ (2019) and in UNICEF’s ‘Women at the heart of the HIV response for Children’ (2018).

Working together and promoting early-career authorship, they have published over 150 papers in peer-reviewed journals including the Lancet Child and Adolescent Health, the Lancet Global Health, BMJ Global Health, AIDS, JAIDS, J Child Psychiatry and Psychology, Social Science and Medicine, AIDS Care and Prevention Science.

This research has been generously supported by:

UKRI Global Challenges Research Fund, Medical Research Council (MRC), UK Department for International Development (DFID), UK Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) National Institutes of Health Research (NIHR), the Oak Foundation, European Research Council (ERC), the Nuffield Foundation, Research England, Janssen Pharmaceutica N.V., part of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Leverhulme Trust, Evidence for HIV Prevention in Southern Africa (EHPSA), a UK aid programme managed by Mott MacDonald, the National Research Foundation (South Africa), UNICEF, USAID-PEPFAR, Ilifa Labantwana, the Claude Leon Foundation, the National Department of Social Development South Africa, the World Health Organisation (WHO), the John Fell Fund, University of Oxford’s ESRC Impact Acceleration Account, Regional Inter-Agency Task Team for Children Affective by AIDS – Eastern and Southern Africa (RIATT-ESA), Gates Foundation, Wellspring Advisors, The Wellcome Trust, ELMA philanthropies, Rockefeller Foundation, HEARD at UKZN, the International AIDS Society through the CIPHER grant, FHI360, the University of Oxford’s’ Clarendon Scholarship Fund, HelpAge, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency,  South African National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund , UNFPA South Africa, The LEGO Foundation, COVID 19 Research Response Fund. Medical Sciences, HEFCE-GCRF Support Fund.

Selected publications

Cluver, L, Lachman, J, Sherr, L, Wessels, I, Krug, E, Rakotomalala, S, Blight, S, Hillis, S, Bachman, G, Green, O, Butchart, A, Tomlinson, M, Ward, C, Doubt, J, McDonald, K (2020) Parenting in a time of COVID-19. The Lancet. (letter) 

Toska, E, Cluver, L, Laurenzi, C, Zhou, S, Langwenya, N, Wittesaele, C, Sherr, L (in press) Reproductive aspirations, contraception use and dual protection among adolescent girls and young women: the effect of motherhood and HIV status. Journal of the International AIDS Society.

Sherr, L, Cluver, L, Desmond, C, Toska, E, Aber, L, Dhaliwal, M, Webb. D, Dugbazah, J (in press) A new vehicle to accelerate the UN Sustainable Development Goals’. Lancet Global Health (commentary). 

Steinert, J, Cluver, L et al (in press) Opening the Black Box: A Mixed-Methods Investigation of Social and Psychological Mechanisms Underlying Changes in Financial Behaviour. Journal of Development Studies.  

Cluver, L, Orkin, M, Campeau, L, Toska, E, Sherr, L, Webb, D, Carlqvist, A (2019) Improving lives by accelerating progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals for adolescents living with HIV: a prospective analysis. The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health. 3: 245-54.

Toska, E, Campeau, L, Cluver, L, Orkin, FM, Berezin, M, Sherr, L (2019) Dreams of an AIDS-free generation: Which supportive factors delay onset of adolescent sexual HIV-risk behaviours in South Africa. Journal of the International AIDS Society, 22 18-19.

Casale, M., Cluver, L., Pantelic, M., Toska, E., & Boyes, M. (2019). Suicidal thoughts and behaviour among South African adolescents living with HIV: can social support buffer the impact of stigma? Journal of Affective Disorders, 245, 82-90. Doi: 10.1016/J.JAD.2018.10.102 

Haghighat, R, Cluver, L, Bungane, N, Toska, E (2018) 90-90-48 The reality of viral suppression among ART-initiated adolescents in South Africa. Journal of the International AIDS society.21. 144-144.

Cluver, L., Meinck, F., Steinert, J., Shenderovich, Y., Doubt, J., Romero, R., Gardner, F. (2018) Parenting for Lifelong Health: A pragmatic cluster randomised controlled trial of a non-commercialised parenting programme for adolescents and their families in South Africa. BMJ Global Health, 3:e000539 PMID:29564157

Cluver, L., Pantelic, M., Orkin, M., Toska, E., Medley, S., & Sherr, L. (2018). Sustainable Survival for adolescents living with HIV: do SDG‐aligned provisions reduce potential mortality risk? Journal of the International AIDS Society, 21(1, Suppl.):e25056 

Cluver, L., Pantelic, M., Toska, E., Orkin, M., Casale, M., Bungane, N., & Sherr, L. (2018). STACKing the odds for adolescent survival: Health service factors associated with retention in care and adherence amongst adolescents living with HIV in South Africa. Journal of the International AIDS Society, 21, e25176. PMID:30240121.

Cluver, L., Meinck, F., Toska, E., Orkin, F., M., Hodes, R., & Sherr, L. (2018). Multitype violence exposures and adolescent antiretroviral nonadherence in South Africa. AIDS, 32(8), 975-983  

Steinert, J., Cluver, L., Meinck, F., Doubt, J., & Vollmer, S. (2018). Household economic strengthening through financial and psychosocial programming: Evidence from a field experiment in South Africa. Journal of Development Economics, 134, 443-466. 

Oliveras, C., Cluver, L., Bernays, S., & Armstrong, A. (2018). Nothing About Us Without RIGHTS-Meaningful Engagement of Children and Youth: From Research Prioritization to Clinical Trials, Implementation Science, and Policy. Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, 78(1, Suppl.), S27-S31   

Cluver, L., Meinck, F., Toska, E., Orkin, F. M. Hodes, R. Sherr, L. (2018). Violence exposure and adolescent antiretroviral non-adherence in South Africa. AIDS. 

Cluver, L, Pantelic, M, Orkin, M, Toska, E, Medley, S, Sherr, L (2018) Sustainable Survival: Which SDGs protect against mortality risk for adolescents living with HIV? Journal of the International AIDS Society.

Cluver, L., Pantelic, M., Orkin, M., Toska, E., Medley, S., & Sherr, L. (2018). Sustainable Survival for adolescents living with HIV: do SDG-aligned provisions reduce potential mortality risk?. Journal of the International AIDS Society, 21 Suppl 1. doi:10.1002/jia2.25056

Cluver LD, Meinck F, Steinert JI, et al. Parenting for Lifelong Health: a pragmatic cluster randomised controlled trial of a non-commercialised parenting programme for adolescents and their families in South Africa. BMJ Glob Heal 2018;3.

Cluver, L., Meinck, F., Steinert, J., Shenderovich, Y., Doubt, J., Herrero Romero, R., . . . Gardner, F. (n.d.). Parenting for Lifelong Health: A pragmatic cluster randomised controlled trial of a non-commercialised parenting programme for adolescents and their families in South Africa. BMJ Global Health.

Cluver, L., & Sherr, L. (2017). Integrating disclosure support into family HIV care.. The Lancet. HIV, 4(12), e534-e535. doi:10.1016/s2352-3018(17)30153-4

Cluver, L. D., Lachman, J. M., Ward, C. L., Gardner, F., Peterson, T., Hutchings, J. M., . . . Redfern, A. A. (2017). Development of a Parenting Support Program to Prevent Abuse of Adolescents in South Africa: Findings From a Pilot Pre-Post Study. Research on Social Work Practice, 27(7), 758-766. doi:10.1177/1049731516628647

Cluver, L. D., Orkin, F. M., Yakubovich, A. R., & Sherr, L. (2016). Combination Social Protection for Reducing HIV-Risk Behavior Among Adolescents in South Africa.. Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes (1999), 72(1), 96-104. doi:10.1097/qai.0000000000000938

Cluver, L. D., Lachman, J. M., Ward, C. L., Gardner, F., Peterson, T., Hutchings, J. M., . . . Redfern, A. A. (2017). Development of a Parenting Support Program to Prevent Abuse of Adolescents in South Africa. Research on Social Work Practice, 27(7), 758-766. doi:10.1177/1049731516628647

Cluver, L, Orkin, M, Boyes, M, Yakubovich, A, Sherr, L (2016) Can Social Protection Improve Sustainable Development Goals for Adolescent Health?. PLOSOne. 11(10): e0164808 

Cluver, L, Meinck, F, Shenderovich, Y, Ward, C, Herrero Romero, R, Redfern, A, Lombard, C, Doubt, J, Steinert, J, Catanho, R, Wittesaele, C, De Stone, S, Salah, N, Mpimpilashe, P, Lachman, J, Loening, H, Gardner, F, Blanc, D, Nocuza, M, Lechowicz, M (2016). A parenting programme to prevent abuse of adolescents in South Africa: a study protocol for a pragmatic cluster randomized controlled trial. Trials. 17. 328.

Cluver, L, Meinck, F, Yakubovich, A, Doubt, J, et al (2016). Reducing child abuse amongst adolescents in low- and middle-income countries: A pre-post trial in South Africa. BMC Public Health. 13;16(1):567 
Cluver, L, Orkin, M, Yakubovich, A, Sherr, L (2016). Combination social protection for reducing HIV-risk behaviour amongst adolescents in South Africa. JAIDS. 72: 96-104    

Cluver, L, Orkin, M, Meinck, F, Boyes, M and Sherr, L (2016). Structural drivers and social protection: Mechanisms of HIV-risk and HIV-prevention for South African adolescents. Journal of the International AIDS Society (JIAS). 19. 2064-6.    

Cluver, L, Toska, E, Orkin, M, Yakubovich, A, Hodes, R, Sherr, L (2016). Achieving equity in HIV-treatment outcomes: Can social protection improve adolescent ART-adherence in South Africa? AIDS Care Equity Special Issue. Suppl  2 73-82

Cluver, L, Hodes, R, Toska, E, Kidia, K, Orkin, M, Sherr, L, Meinck, F (2015). ‘HIV is like a tsotsi. ARVs are your guns’: Associations between HIV-disclosure and adherence to antiretroviral treatment among adolescents in South Africa. AIDS. 29. Suppl 1. S57-65. 

Cluver, L, Orkin, M, Boyes, Ma, Sherr, L (2014) Cash plus care: social protection cumulatively mitigates HIV-risk behaviour among adolescents in South Africa. AIDS. S389-97

Cluver, L, Boyes, Ma, Orkin, M, Pantelic, Mc, Molwena, T & Sherr, L (2013) Child-focused state cash transfers and adolescent HIV-infection risks: A prospective multi-site study in South Africa. The Lancet: Global Health. 1. E362-70

Cluver, L, Orkin, M, Boyes, Ma, Sherr, L, Nikelo, J & Makhasi, D (2013). Pathways from parental AIDS to child psychological, educational and sexual risk: Developing an empirically-based interactive theoretical model. Social Science and Medicine, 87. 185-193

Cluver, L, Orkin, M, Boyes, Ma & Gardner, F (2012) ‘AIDS-orphanhood and caregiver HIV/AIDS sickness status: effects on psychological symptoms in South African youth’ Journal of Pediatric Psychology

Cluver, L, Orkin, M, Boyes,a M & Gardner, F (2012) Persisting mental health problems among AIDS-orphaned children in South Africa. Journal of Child Psychiatry & Psychology. 53 (4) 363-370.

Cluver, L, Orkin, M, Boyes, Ma, Gardner, F, & Meinck, Fc (2011) ‘Transactional Sex amongst AIDS-orphaned and AIDS-Affected Adolescents Predicted by Abuse and Extreme Poverty’. JAIDS 58 (3) 336-43   

Cluver, L, Bowes, L & Gardner, F (2010) Risk & protective factors for bullying victimisation amongst AIDS-affected & vulnerable children in S.Africa. Child Abuse & Neglect, 34 793-803 

Cluver, L, Gardner, F & Operario, D (2007). Psychological distress amongst AIDS-orphaned children in urban South Africa Journal of Child Psychiatry & Psychology & Allied Disciplines 48(8) 755-763

Oxford Research Archive

Lucie Cluver - CV (August 2021)

Current projects

For information about new project 'Hey Baby', please go here.

Completed projects
Previous students

Lucie's previous DPhil students have gone on to be successful in academia, policy and practice:

•    Caroline Kuo is Associate Professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences (Research), Senior Advisor on Diversity at Brown University
•    Tyler Lane is a Senior Research Fellow at Cancer Council Victoria
•    Franziska Meinck is a lecturer in the School of Social and Political Science at the University of Edinburgh
•    Beth Vale is a lecturer in Anthropology at the University of Witwatersrand
•    Jamie Lachman is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Evidence-Based Interventions at Oxford
•    Elona Toska is a Senior Researcher at the University of Cape Town
•    Roxanna Haghighat is a medical student at Harvard University, USA
•    Sasheenie Moodley is a medical student at Emory University, USA
•    Janina Steinert is Professor of Global Health at Technischen Universität München

•    Victor Orozco is a Senior Economist at the World Bank



Lucie is interested in supervising students who are absolutely dedicated to improving outcomes for children and young people in Africa. She is not interested in research without real impact. A really good grasp of statistics and teamwork are essential. She especially welcomes students from the African region.

Current students