About us

Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA) is a non-for-profit public membership-based organisation, registered by the initiative of harm reduction activists and organisations from Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia (CEECA) in 2017.

Association is a membership-based organisation. By September 2018 the Association unites 247 organisational and individual members from the CEECA region.

EHRA is acting as strategic partner and financial agent of Eurasian network of people using drugs (ENPUD).

According to organisational Statute the general assembly of members is the main decision-making body in EHRA. The general assembly of the members are electing members of Steering Committee, which is the collegial management body of the Association. Steering Committee appoints the Executive Director of the Association who leads Secretariat team to implement operational and program activities. Such EHRA’s governance structure guarantees stability and transparency of the organization and allows for constructive dialogue and development of successful projects and activities, which contribute to the fulfilment of EHRA mission and its Strategy.

 

Strategy

EHRA mission is the creation in CEECA region of favorable environment for sustainable harm reduction programs and decent lives of people who use drugs.

EHRA vision is a society where human rights are safeguarded for every individual. We strive for a strong community of people who use drugs supported by civil society to achieve a progressive human rights-based drug policy, sustainable funding and efficiency of harm reduction services based on needs of people who use drugs.

Role of EHRA is to bring in international resources and knowledge, equip CEECA region with expertise and effective practices; we set the regional and national agenda of drug policy and harm reduction with the meaningful involvement of drug users community in national and local stakeholders dialogue. EHRA is attracting region’s attention to the voice of community and needs of people who use drugs for advocacy actions and changing international policy trends.

More on Strategy can be found here

 

 

 

 

 

Governance


EHRA Steering Committee

EHRA Steering Committee is the primary governance and decision-making body of the Association. EHRA Steering Committee is elected by the members of EHRA, and its functions are regulated by the Association’s Statute. Its responsibility is to facilitate the achievement of EHRA mission by developing and implementing policies, strategies and operational principles. The members of the Steering Committee are elected by the general assemblies of the Association members (in-person or through online voting) for three-year terms. The Steering Committee consists of 13 representatives, 11 of whom represent 7 sub-regions of CEECA, and two of whom represent the drug user community.

All members of the Steering Committee expected to be highly professional and experienced specialists in public health, advocacy and human rights, representing local organizations, working on HIV/AIDS, drug policy and harm reduction. The key areas of responsibility of the Steering Committee are as follows:

• to appoint (elect) and recall the Executive Director of the Association from the candidates proposed by the Chair or Co-Chair(-s) of the Steering Committee or through the procedure of public tender;
• to take decisions regarding the establishment of other legal entities or to take decisions to become a member of other legal entities;

• to identify key priorities for the Association in harm reduction, public health, and human rights, providing perspectives from all CEECA sub-regions and key drug user populations;
• to identify key opportunities for the Association to promote harm reduction, public health, and human rights;
• to set the strategic vision and strategic plan for the Association and approve it;
• to monitor the implementation of the strategic plan and carry out its mid-term review;
• to approve or deny new membership applications to join the Association.

As of October 2018, Steering Committee of the Association consists of 13 members:

Marina Chokheli 

Chair of Steering Committee

Coordinator of Harm Reduction and Access to Medicine programs, Open Society Georgia Foundation (OSGF), Georgia

Marina has been working for OSGF since 2010. Marina have been actively engaged in various areas related to public health, harm reduction and access to Medicines: community mobilization; strengthening and capacity building of community organizations and activists, promoting human rights of vulnerable groups (people who use drugs, OST patients, people living with HCV, HIV/AIDS, sex workers, LGBT community); drug policy and promoting humane and efficient law enforcement policies and practices affecting vulnerable groups; advocating, developing and launching of the first National Hepatitis C treatment programs in Prison and for general population in Georgia. Marina’s current professional interests focus on such areas as drug policy, transparent and accountable decision-making in healthcare, budget monitoring, gender-based violence of Women Drug Users, Sex workers, Transgender people, innovative medicines, etc. 

Alexander Levin

Co-Chair

Community of people who use drugs, Russia

Alexander graduated from the Faculty of Journalism of the Moscow State University. Having worked for more than 10 years as a journalist in various Russian media, in 2002 he came to harm reduction. He conducted trainings and was engaged in information work in various international and Russian non-governmental organizations: AFEW, Central and Eastern Europe Harm Reduction Network (now the Eurasian Harm Reduction Association), All-Russian Harm Reduction Network, UNAIDS, etc. After that, in 2007, he was engaged in communications and advocacy in the self-organization of drug users “Kolodets”. In 2007-2008 Alexander managed the development of a manifesto for drug users living in the region of Eastern Europe and Central Asia “Nothing for us without us”, and advocacy manual on the interests of drug users under the same name. He worked in the Andrey Rylkov Foundation (FAR) as an outreach worker in the project “Harm Reduction – Moscow”. Since 2017, Alexander is the information manager of the Eurasian Network of People Who Use Drugs (ENPUD).

Yuliya Georgieva

Co-Chair

Center for Humane Policy, Bulgaria

Yuliya has been involved in harm reduction and drug policy activities in the last 15 years and she believes that this is her professional path and fate. Apart from the work in my home country, she also has some international experience and good view on the international and particularly European developments in the area of harm reduction and drug policy. She is the chair of “Center for humane policy”, the organization which main activities are connected to harm reduction, drug policy and drug-related education. Also Yuliya is the PWUD community representative in the project “FAST-TRACK TB/HIV RESPONSES FOR KEY POPULATIONS IN EECA CITIES” for Sofia. With her partners from PWUD community they have a lot of goals regarding to that project but the most important one is to establish and run effective and strong community organization which is going to work for the interests of PWUD community. She has solid knowledge about at least three important harm reduction target groups: drug users, sex workers and LGBT people – she has worked with the three of them in practice for long time. Yuliya has clear understanding about their needs – as well as of other vulnerable and socially excluded groups – and a clear idea about how the societies should change their attitudes and actions in order to reduce social exclusion and achieve more justice and equality for all.

Jurgita Poskeviciute

Treasurer

Coalition “I Can Live”, Lithuania

Jurgita Poškevičiūtė, MS in Non-Profit Management (New York, USA), has over 20 years of  experience of NGO work in Lithuania and abroad. Currently works as Director of A Coalition „I Can Live“, an association of non-governmental organizations and experts, active in advocacy for evidence-based responses towards drug-dependence issues and drug policy. Jurgita Poskeviciute has a track record of over 12 years working in the field of policy and advocacy for access to services for people who use drugs and/or live with HIV/AIDS, especially harm reduction. This includes wide consultations with all state, municipal and NGO stakeholders, conducting analysis and drafting recommendations to the state agencies on amendments in legal acts on access to services, developing recommendations for national strategic documents on response to HIV and drug use issues. Skilled managing international and local projects and has experience in policy analysis, strategic planning, budget development, NGO board development.

Vitaly Rabinchuk

Community of people who use drugs, Moldova

Since 2003 Vitaly has been engaged in activism, human rights activities, development of the community of people who use drugs in Moldova. Vitaly has expertise in the field of community mobilization, harm reduction, drug policies. He has passed a way from a user of services (1998), a volunteer (2003), an outreach worker (2004) to the project coordinator of Harm Reduction programs (since 2007). In 2014-2017 Vitaly worked as a regional assistant for the development of a community of people who use drugs, in 2015-2016 – as a specialist in organizational development in the Eurasian Network of People Who Use Drugs. Vitaly represents the community of people who use drugs in the Committee of Communities of Vulnerable Groups and Key Affected Populations in the Republic of Moldova. Vitaly is the leader of the national association of people who use drugs, national trainer in Harm Reduction programs in the Republic of Moldova, member of CCM representing the community. Vitaly has experience in conducting research in the areas of surveillance, legislation, monitoring and evaluation, and advocacy. He took an active part in the development of various methodologies and guidelines in the EECA region.

Maxim Malyshev

The Andrey Rylkov Foundation, Russia

Maxim has been working in the field of harm reduction, HIV prevention and social work in general since 2004. He has progressed from being a project volunteer to a staff outreach worker, then to a social worker in palliative care for children to the head of the Harm Reduction – Moscow project. For the last three years he has been focusing on sharing my personal knowledge and experience in social work as well as the lessons learned during the project by holding seminars, training workshops and internships on the basis of Andrey Rylkov Foundation.

Vitaly Lavrik

The All-Ukrainian Association of People with Drug Addiction charitable foundation, Ukraine

Education: Igor Sikorsky Keiv Polytechnic Institute, degree in Medical devices and systems. Vitaly also graduated from the Harm Reduction Academy in July 2016. He started working in harm reduction projects in November 2009 as a pharmacy coordinator in Kiev. Since then he has been a volunteer and an activist in the field of harm reduction and public health and has also worked in several organizations involved in HIV prevention and harm reduction: he was a consultant on HIV/AIDS, drugs and drug policy in the Public Health Alliance (Kiev, Ukraine) in 2017; between 2016 and 2017 Vitaly served as an expert and consultant on HIV and safe behaviour at the Elena Pinchuk ANTI-AIDS Foundation. Currently he works as a moderator and online consultant at the Safe Connection platform (educating teenagers, youth and adults on aspects of living with HIV, drugs, harm reduction programs among vulnerable groups, safe sexual behaviour and a healthy lifestyle). He actively participates in the advocacy for availability of Harm Reduction and ART programs, for treatment and diagnosis of viral hepatitis and TB in Ukraine and in the region of Eastern Europe and Central Asia. He has experience of working as a social worker and a senior social worker for NGOs in Kiev. He is the Regional Representative of the “All-Ukrainian Union of People with Drug Addiction” in the Kiev region. He took part in organising and holding many campaigns in Kiev, including “Support do not punish”, “World Day Against Viral Hepatitis” (2016-2017), as well as in the campaign timed with the International Overdose Awareness Day on August 31, 2017 as well as other events and campaigns at a national, regional and local level in Kiev and Ukraine. He is an active participant in the National Platform of Key Communities (Ukraine), Viltaly helps other activists, NGOs and other organizations in expanding substitution therapy and help build partnerships between NGOs, state institutions and doctors (for example, he helps train family doctors to manage cases of stable patients, hold workshops on STIs, seminars, conferences etc).

Oksana Ibragimova

Kazakhstan Union of People Living with HIV, Kazakhstan

Oksana has worked in harm reduction since 2009. She started as an outreach worker for PWID, distributing syringes, condoms, motivating drug users to get tested for HIV. She landed a job as a social worker in the “Trust Plus” Public Foundation in 2011, where she worked as a peer consultant aiming mainly to help develop adherence to ART and treatment retention. In the same year, a mutual aid group was organized for PLHIV/PWUD. In 2014, Oksana got a job at as an advocacy specialist for the Kazakhstan Union of People Living with HIV under the “Harm Reduction Works – Fund it!” project. She represents the interests of the community of people who use drugs at a national level and participate in all important events as an expert on drug policy.

 

Aibar Sultangaziev

Association “Partner Network”, Kyrgyzstan

Aibar has been working in harm reduction programs since 2005. As the head of the NGO “The Right to Life,” he organized and provided services for people who inject drugs in the Chui region. Since 2009, he has become the head of the “Partner Network” Association, which includes 26 NGOs from all regions of the country, and works mainly with key population groups, including drug users and people living with HIV. The main mission of the Association is to advocate and protect the rights of key population, increase community capacity, ensure the sustainability of programs related to HIV, TB and hepatitis. The Association participated in the development of 2 state programs in the field of HIV, the development and promotion of a number of documents in the field of HIV, including service standards for people who inject drugs, programs of state social procurement in health care, development of country proposals to the Global Fund, and so on. From 2010 to 2016 Aibar was a member of CCM of the Kyrgyz Republic, a member of the EHRN Steering Committee. As an expert, he provided technical assistance for the development of HR programs in Central Asia, conducted an assessment of OST programs in the Kyrgyz Republic and an assessment of HR programs in Uzbekistan.

David Pešek

Drop-in center SANANIM, Czech Republic

David works for long time in SANANIM NGO – one of the largest non-governmental organizations in the Czech Republic that provides complex services for drug users. He works in the field of addictology since 2003. He is manager of drop-in center SANANIM for few years now. He always found very important to incorporate humane approaches toward the work with drug users. David always found important to educate the society and try to destigmatize the community. He is big promoter of Harm Reduction interventions.

Ala Iatco

Union of Organizations Working in the Field of HIV Prevention and Harm Reduction, Moldova

Ala has 18 years of experience in implementing HIV prevention and harm reduction programs in the Republic of Moldova. Since 2000, she has been the head of the Association “Youth for the Right to Life” in Balti, which is known in the country as a promoter of successful practices in prevention work with injecting drug users. In 2004, she actively participated in the creation of a Harm Reduction Network in the country currently known as the Union of Organizations Working in the Field of HIV Prevention and Harm Reduction, holding the position of the President of the Union. Over the years, she has been actively involved in the development of guidelines, instructions and standards regarding the work of harm reduction programs in Moldova. The activity of the Union focuses on promoting sustainability and long-term harm reduction programs and increasing government support. Ala has a Master’s Degree in the field of social security and protection of the population, as well as Master’s in public health management. Along with activities in the civilian sector, she gained academic experience working as a lecturer in the Alecu Russo State University.

Samir Ibiševic

Association PROI, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Leadership and management experience with strong analytical and conceptual skills and proven ability in the development and direction of organizations, programs and processes involving a diverse and complex range of partners and stakeholders.

Proven track of strategic planning, human resource management and budgeting. Substantial experience in designing, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of harm reduction programs.

Since 2001 till today Samir is a Founder and president, Association PROI, since 2016 is a Director at Balkantina d.o.o. Samir has founded NGO which have growth from small grass-root organization to one of the most effective organization in the region. He built up and management of multiethnic team of 30 professionals and launched innovative and effective programs which cover more than 2000 users in different cities on annual basis. Samir launched first in Bosnia: non-religious drug rehab program; pharmacy-based harm reduction program; gender sensitive harm reduction approach; drop-in center approach.

Dominika Jašeková

“Odyseus”, Slovakia

Dominika is Director and outreach worker at the oldest harm reduction organization in Slovakia “Odyseus”, which works with people who use drugs, sex workers and young people who are experimenting with drugs. Dominika studied psychology in Bratislava and Krakow. Dominika represents “Odyseus” in several expert working groups on national and international level. People who use drugs are still strongly stigmatized in Slovakia, therefore breaking down the prejudices and improving the living conditions of people who use drugs is something that makes sense to her every day. Working in “Odyseus”, Dominika focuses on meaningful involvement of people who use drugs.

Advisory Board

The Advisory Board is the collegial oversight body of the Association. The main function of the Advisory Board is to support the Association activities and approaches and help in promotion of the Association’s activities and interests on regional and global level.

The Advisory Board of the Association is composed from leading global experts and honorable leaders in harm reduction, drug policy, human rights and public health. The Advisory Board members bring unique knowledge, skills and authority in global development of harm reduction and drug policy which complements the knowledge and skills of the Steering Committee in order to more effectively govern the organization and implement its activities.

The Board is formed by invitation from the Steering Committee. Every expert is invited to the Board for a 3-year term and works on a voluntary basis.

John-Peter Kools

Chairman of the Board, Harm Reduction International, the Netherlands

  • Senior Adviser on Drug Policy, Trimbos Institute of Mental Health and Addictology,
  • In Harm Reduction – since 1983,
  • Since 1996 has been working in EECA projects,
  • Researcher, scientist, transition and developing economies specialist.

Julia Buxton

Professor of Comparative Politics, School of Public Policy, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary

  • Published expert on the drug trade, has a particular interest in the impact of narcotic drugs and counter narcotics policies on development, peace building, public health, poverty and human rights;
  • Thematic expertise on democratization and transition processes, as well as gender and gender sensitive issues; 
  • Board of Trustees Member at Transform Drug Policy Foundation;
  • Senior Research Fellow at University of Bradford;
  • Lecturer and Senior Lecturer at Kingston University.

Pavel Bem

Member of the Global Commission on drug policy, the Czech Republic

  • The former mayor of Prague, the former member of the Czech Parliament,
  • Practicing psychiatrist, dealing with the problems of drug addicts,
  • One of the founders of the drop-in center in Prague;
  • Long-term supported and advocate of harm reduction services.

Rick Lines

Associate Professor of Criminology and Human Rights, School of Law, Swansea University, UK

  • Author of ‘Drug Control and Human Rights in International Law’ (2017);
  • Co-founder and Chair of the International Centre on Human Rights and Drug Policy at the Human Rights Centre, University of Essex;
  • Senior Research Associate, Global Drug Policy Observatory, Swansea University;
  • Former Executive Director of Harm Reduction International;
  • Past member of the Strategic Advisory Group to the United Nations on HIV and Drug Use, and the Technical Advisory Group to the Global Commission on HIV and the Law.