Internship in Portugal, 2017

December 2017. Organization and conducting of the internships for community leaders in Portugal with a practical goal to check how decriminalization policies work through commissions to curb substance abuse. 

SICAD is General Directorate for Intervention on Addictive Behaviors and Dependencies to promote the reduction of use of psychoactive substances, the prevention of addictive behaviors in Portugal.

Here are the first, second and third parts of discussion on how Portuguese drug policy experts create the national plan, combine the resources from different ways and support practical decriminalization, but they are staying away from de-jure decriminalization of all drugs.

Videos are available in Russian and English.

Posted by Olga Byelyayeva on 2017 m. gruodžio 14 d., ketvirtadienis

Part 2 SICAD Drug Policy in Portuguese

Posted by Olga Byelyayeva on 2017 m. gruodžio 14 d., ketvirtadienis

Часть 3

Posted by Olga Byelyayeva on 2017 m. gruodžio 14 d., ketvirtadienis

Thank you for support to EHRA in 2017!


Now when we are full of holiday excitement, the only feeling which EHRA team has towards our partners is deep gratefulness for your support! Being registered in spring and having started active operations in September, we already have a lot to be proud of.

By the end of the year Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA) unites 185 members from all CEECA countries.  For the Association, the main task is to build proper governance processes to involve members into content discussion and decision making.

On 27th of November the first General Meeting of EHRA members was successfully completed. As a result, we have the Steering Committee representing all sub-regions, supported by all voting EHRA members. The in-person Steering Committee meeting will be held in February 2018.

The Statute of EHRA was updated by the decision of the General Meeting, and now the governance structure includes in line with the General and Regional Meetings and the Steering Committee, an Advisory Board and a Treasurer to ensure the transparency and sustainability of the organisation.

The General Meeting also approved EHRA strategic framework for 2018-2019. Full scale strategic planning process is planned for the second part of 2019. Mission of EHRA is defined as the creation of favourable environment for sustainable harm reduction programs and decent lives of people who use drugs in CEECA region.

We have ambitious strategic objectives:

SO1: To ensure sustainability and efficiency of harm reduction services in CEECA region;

SO2: To advocate for non-punitive drug policies in CEECA region based on public health and human rights;

SO3: To develop leadership and expertise of civil society and people who use drugs in monitoring of drug policies, financing, access and quality of harm reduction services in CEECA region;

SO4: To strengthen organizational governance and operational systems, program efficiency and financial sustainability of EHRA.

EHRA is now implementing 9 advocacy, regional coordination and community capacity projects with a 1,5 mln Euro budget, 450K of which were received in 2017. We are grateful to our partners from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, AFEW International, Open Society Foundations, Robert Carr civil society Networks Fund, Rights Reporter Foundation, International Network of People Who Use Drugs, Levi Strauss Foundation, who have supported building capacities of the Association and helped to start-up the operations and program activities in a rather crisis situation.

During this period EHRA has already supported 8 drug users community groups and civil society organisations through small grants program. We are proud to support work of DUNews, unique video advocacy initiative. For regional community of people who use drugs, a study-tour visit to Porto to examine effective alternatives to punishment and to discuss drug policy reforms in EECA countries organised by EHRA, was a very important step in learning and joining efforts.

For the Association, it is strategically important to provide platform for joint advocacy efforts of different civil society organizations and regional communities aimed at ensuring sustainable funding of services for drug users. Since December 2017 EHRA has started to work as a Regional CRG platform to coordinate technical support for communities in the region. We have already played an active role as regional civil society representatives in the Senior Level Policy Dialogue “Addressing HIV and TB Challenges: from Donor Support to Sustainable Health Systems”, conducted under the auspices of the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, and participate in the work of the EU Civil society forum on HIV, TB, Hepatitis core group.

Since November we already have a fully functioning office with necessary equipment and 13 full-time Secretariat staff members. Operational procedures, accounting system and all documents are already in place.

These all have become possible only because of cooperation and active work of the Steering Committee members, Secretariat staff who worked for two months as volunteers to start EHRA operation, and thanks to support of civil society colleagues and partners all around the Globe. This year has proved that we are very strong and together we can overcome any challenges.

The EHRA Steering Committee and Secretariat team are ready for 2018 in full power! We are working to ensure a voice of the CEECA region in AIDS2018 in Amsterdam is heard. We are looking forward to work together with key regional community networks in joint advocacy efforts and capacity building initiatives.

Looking forward to our bright partnerships in 2018!

Happy holidays!

EHRA Steering Committee and Secretariat

EECA Regional Communities Consortium is created

A Memorandum to create an EECA Regional Communities Consortium has been signed on December 20, 2017 in Kyiv, Ukraine. The goal of the Consortium is to unite the efforts of key populations networks of Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) in developing a long-term multi-country program on increasing efficiency and sustainability of national HIV strategies in the region.

The Consortium members believe that strategic and sufficient national funding international cooperation and meaningful participation of key communities are laying the ground for effective national responses to the HIV epidemic in EECA. Main joint priorities for communities are ensuring of HIV prevention and treatment sustainability and quality combined with reduction of prices of HIV drugs.

The Consortium members plan to approach the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria for financial support for a multi-country program.

The Regional Communities Consortium consists of following key communities’ networks:

–          Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA),

–          Eurasian Coalition on Male Health (ECOM),

–          Eurasian Network of People Using Drugs (ENPUD),

–          Eurasian Women’s Network on AIDS (EWNA),

–          Sex Workers’ Rights Advocacy Network (SWAN).

Harm Reduction Beyond Numbers

Author: Péter Sárosi, Drugreporter

How cultural attitudes, the political environment, and donor expectations shape harm reduction – and how they can divert it from its original mission as a movement.

We have been producing movies about drug policies since 2007. Through all these years, we have been traveling a lot across the world, visiting harm reduction sites and interviewing hundreds of harm reduction activists, professionals, and decision makers in various countries.

It is easy to make premature judgments about harm reduction in a country. I always have my own preconception about it before actually traveling there, based on articles and reports I have read. Most of the time, I have to admit that the reality is much more complex than my expectations. My experience tells me that sometimes countries labelled as retrograde in terms of drug policy and harm reduction can amaze you with vivid, vibrant local harm reduction scenes. And countries praised for their progressive drug policies can equally disappoint you with their rigid, medicalised systems.

Sometimes you learn the most cutting edge lessons about harm reduction and human rights among the people living in disadvantaged countries. A mistake often made is that the experience of these people is underestimated, and only success stories are highlighted and celebrated by reports from international organisations. Exchanging experiences and knowledge among decision makers and harm reduction professionals working in similar, difficult environments is often as useful as presenting best practices from Western countries. Lack of measurable success in changing policies is not necessarily a sign of the failure of advocacy efforts.

Harm reduction is of the people, for the people, and by the people. Assessing scientific data about trends of infections or access to services is necessary when measuring the social impact of harm reduction as a set of interventions. But statistical data in itself is far from sufficient to have a real insight into how harm reduction works as a movement, how is it embedded into the local political and cultural context, and how it affects the lives of individuals and communities.

We can identify some main factors shaping and framing harm reduction. These structural factors are actually not so different from those shaping the individual drug experience. Since the 1960s it has been a commonly accepted wisdom that the drug experience depends on three factors: set (the mindset of the drug user), setting (the physical and social environment), and dose (of the substance used). Similarly, three factors can largely determine harm reduction in a country:

1) Cultural environment – Social attitudes to drug use, historical development of the drug treatment system, education and attitudes of public health and social professionals, the influence of abstinence-culture, and the role of religion and church.

2) Political environment – State of democracy, freedom of association & power of civil society, type of government, the state of development of the welfare state, drug laws, law enforcement practices, public health regulations, and the external influence of neighbouring countries.

3) Funding environment – Who is funding harm reduction, what is the framework of the funding, what are the donors’ expectations about supported activities, how the money is distributed.

Western European cities are the best propagated examples of how we can reverse drug related death and disease by investing in harm reduction. Services are well funded by the government, well connected, and coordinated to municipal health, social and criminal justice systems. The political and cultural environment is tolerant or supportive. However, city leaders often embraced harm reduction from a cosmetic point of view: to get rid of street nuisance and bad press coverage. In developed countries high-tech, well-funded services often work without real mobilisation and involvement from drug user communities. The best services are sometimes not only the well funded services – but those operated by NGOs investing a lot of time and energy into advocacy, community mobilising, and peer involvement.

Harm reduction has been mainstreamed in much of Western Europe. It is business as usual, operated by technocrats or public health officials paid by the government, working according to official standards. If you attend a harm reduction conference in Europe you will meet social workers, public health pundits, and law enforcement officials discussing research findings, grant systems, and professional protocols. The contrast is stark if you attend a harm reduction conference in the US, where harm reduction is still an underground movement challenging the status quo of the mainstream abstinence culture and tough-on-drugs policies. Funding is unstable, whilst federal funding for needle exchange was banned until recently. You will see way more rebels and punks at these events who discuss social justice and structural racism. While harm reduction is – sometimes grudgingly – accepted by even social conservatives in Western Europe, it is more like a Leftish guerrilla movement in the US, driven by drug user activists and radical social workers. The opiate overdose epidemic has been recently helping harm reduction become part of the mainstream – at a terrible cost in human lives and suffering.

In most Eastern European and Asian countries you often see broken down hospitals, burnt out and underpaid health professionals, and understaffed and under-equipped services. HIV infection and overdose death rates can be rampant. Criminal laws are repressive. Drug users are often coerced into so-called treatment programs. In this hostile environment, harm reduction could only lay down roots with the help of international donors, such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Its positive impact is tremendous in reducing new infections and scaling up HIV treatment and prevention among the so-called key populations. Without the support of the Global Fund, these communities would have no voice and no future.

However, harm reduction dependent mostly on international donors is like a plant nurtured indoors by artificial light, with no deep roots in the cultural and political soil of the hosting society. Whilst the funding environment is favourable it may flourish. But as soon as it is deprived from international support and is exposed to the harsh outdoor environment, its fragility will be revealed. This happened when the Global Fund changed its funding policy after the financial crisis and many countries lost their eligibility. This resulted in the sudden collapse of many community-based harm reduction services and the further marginalisation of injecting drug users. Many people died as a consequence. Service providers tend to follow the flow of the money. Many abandoned harm reduction services and chose a different survival strategy. It soon appeared that by only focusing on funding services without investment into public education and community advocacy, international donors could not make harm reduction sustainable.

Donors do not only fund and shape harm reduction – they can also distort it.

For example, they often put harm reduction in the framework of HIV prevention and thus into the realm of public health interventions. National donors often subordinate harm reduction to treatment and prevention. These reductionist interpretations of harm reduction as a set of public health interventions are devoid of many other important dimensions of psychoactive substance use. For example, the social dimensions of poverty, exclusion, institutional racism and segregation, homelessness, and unemployment. Or the legal-political dimension of repressive criminal laws that are pushing substances and people who use them underground. To address these systemic factors harm reduction must go beyond public health interventions and mobilise marginalised communities against repressive and exclusive government policies and laws. Criminal justice reform must be an essential part of harm reduction – but it has not been on the agenda of many harm reduction organisations.

Second, putting harm reduction into the context of HIV prevention reduces its focus to only injecting drug use. While injecting drug users are far more marginalised than any other groups of drug users, harm reduction as a philosophy and practice must go beyond injecting use and transform the way we perceive drug use in general. It should include pragmatic and compassionate programs to reduce the harm of recreational drug use as well, for example in a party setting – even if it has nothing to do with HIV prevention directly. The vast majority of drug users are non-injecting recreational drug users, reaching them is not only important to avoid accidents, but can do a lot to promote the acceptance of harm reduction as a guiding principle among the general population. In countries where harm reduction is dependent on Global Fund, programs supporting party-going young people are underfunded and scarce. When streets were swamped with new psychoactive drugs, and new patterns of drug use and distribution started to trend among young people, programs designed to serve opiate injectors could not cope with these problems.

Third, big donors shape their grantees in their own image. It is very easy for NGOs competing for limited resources to lose sight of their mission and to follow the expectations of the donors in order to secure funding. But donor expectations about ideas, supported activities, regions and groups do not shape how NGOs and community groups work alone. To apply for grants, to manage grants, and to report to the donors requires huge investment in time and human resources. The bureaucratic processes required by donors change the perception of time, staff, services – and in the end, the mission of the organisation. Many grantees realise that for the donor it is not the real social impact that matters but organisational stability in managing and reporting grants. Community activists often transform into technocrats who lose the connection to the communities they serve. When activists speak a language full of jargon and acronyms only the selected few understand, their arguments do not appeal to the general public or to hostile neighbourhoods.

National and international donors must learn the lesson and invest more into community organising, public education, and advocacy to change social attitudes and policies about people who use drugs. Without transforming the set and setting, that is, the cultural and the political environment, harm reduction is vulnerable and cannot adapt to new challenges. Where harm reduction is not well embedded into and accepted by society, and not well connected to the community, sudden changes in the political environment can lead to collapsing services even in countries where national funding for services is available, as exemplified by my own country, Hungary.

Rigid rules by international donors about governance and co-funding favour big organisations based in wealthy countries over community activists living and working in repressive environments. These rigid rules do not guarantee the social impact of grants. Investment into people rather than just organisations, services, and projects can do. Sometimes the best ideas and initiatives come from grassroots activists and community groups without well established governance structures. Instead of requiring grantees to transform into grant processing companies, obsessed with Western-type management methods completely alien from community activists working on the ground, new flexible rules and modes of funding should be developed. Forging synergies among social movements is also important – they cannot win in isolation. They can learn a lot from each other about innovative advocacy methods to mainstream their messages. Only together they can fight austerity measures, rising right-wing populism, and the new authoritarian crackdown on civil society. In the end, the success of harm reduction as a movement depends on the larger context of social justice movements, the state of democracy, and the existence of a strong civil society.

Source: Drugreporter

Healthcare for people who use drugs in Europe

Author: Yuliia Holub

Today and tomorrow, EHRA representatives work actively as the members of core group of EU HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis and Tuberculosis Civil Society Forum (CSF) in Luxembourg and during the plenary meeting.

CSF (on European level) is a providing platform for mutual learning and strategic thinking to improve policies and their implementation by stimulating the exchange of knowledge and knowhow between CSF members and the European Commission. What’s more, it helps in strengthening the advocacy for the rights of the key communities living or affected by these infections by addressing short-comings in the response to the epidemics, sharing knowledge and consensus building on standards to address critical and sensitive issues and contributing to European level policy and program development.

At the meeting, and in the work of the CSF for the next 6 months, for EHRA it is important to ensure effective joint advocacy for sustainable funding of harm reduction services in European countries, members of EU as well as candidates and neighbouring countries. In the situation when on EU level the general approach is “health is member state competence”, there are not enough opportunities for the regional advocacy exist. But we want to be sure, that we did everything to influence governments of European countries to make HIV, TB and hep C services available for people, who use drugs and other vulnerable groups.

Pilot OST Programs in Kazakhstan – How to Avoid Being Thrown Overboard

Author: Dasha Matyushina, Drug Policy and Human Rights Advisor, EHRA

In my almost twenty years of working in harm reduction I have visited many opioid substitution therapy sites in different countries. One of the first programs I was lucky to see was an OST site in New York. A likeable doctor was enthusiastically telling me about his patients – some of them were allowed to collect a two-week methadone supply because “they worked so hard and could not spare the time to come for therapy more often”. That very week I happened to visit another OST site in New York. I saw a huge queue to an armoured window where methadone was dispensed and a uniformed man with arms at the ready standing behind the queuing people. I just could not grasp the existence of two such absolutely different sites in one city.

Since then I have seen dozens of OST sites and talked to hundreds of their clients. The sites were more or less different but the talks I had all seemed an extension to my very first conversation with a girl client of a New York OST site from so long ago. I came from Russia, the country where OST was non-existent at the time, where people could only hope it would be available at some point, so it was really weird to hear people complaining – like, “I am a regular here but sick of this bloody methadone, no adequate care here, the drug quality is not as it used to be, the opening times suck and they don´t treat us as human beings here”…So I no longer idealized those programs and saw not only their value but also the restrictions they impose on people with opioid addictions.

On my way to Pavlodar I did not expect to see an exemplary OST site – I am aware of the challenges such programs face in Kazakhstan and how hard it was to open and keep sustaining OST sites there. I also know what a „pilot OST site“ really means: minimum clients, maximum rules.

Oxana from the Foundation “Ty ne odin” (“You are not Alone”) and I came to an opioid substitution therapy site at 9 o´clock in the morning.  There was a constant flow of people, some stopped to chat with me at the entrance, some passed by with a nod to an acquaintance and paid me no attention, some went away and came back with a coffee. There were too many names to remember. At some point there were only about ten of us left – men and women of different ages, some were with kids in buggies, some people were in wheelchairs themselves. They were talking about how much their lives had changed with the introduction of OST. They were sharing their problems – impossible to go visit people in other cities, hospitals still did not have methadone on stock and one had to come here by taxi practically from intensive care to get some. However, that conversation was different from everything I had heard from hundreds of other OST clients before.  These people were absolutely convinced of the necessity of this site, they were in dire need of it and ready to fight for it at all cost. They, the patients, were defending their doctors, explaining to me how vulnerable health care workers were in the face of all sorts of monitoring raids. They knew the OST program inside out – what funding sources covered which costs and which options they would have if the Global Fund withdrew the funding. They know everything because it is their program.

Pavlodar OST site is on the ground floor of the local narcology clinic and occupies a tiny room with a small anteroom with benches for clients to sit and chat. It´s a multi-storied building, the rest of it, as I am told, belongs to an in-patient facility for compulsory treatment. There are about seventy OST clients. Methadone doses are high – 70, 80, 100 mg and more. The same room is used for HIV and TB patients who come for ART and TB treatment. Almost all of the clients either work or study. Most of them have families.

The clients say that not a single program participant “gets extra high” – that would be a breach of the rules and several such slips result in exclusion from the program. The frequent checkups prove – the people on therapy have indeed stopped using street drugs. I must say it is very impressive – the hard proof that OST works towards full abstinence. But what happens to those clients who could not for one reason or another stop using drugs completely or resumed their consumption? If they are excluded from the OST program, do they have a chance to continue on ART or TB treatment? If OST did not succeed in helping them, does it mean they are simply thrown “overboard”, again?

The Pavlodar OST program as well as most other OST programs in EECA and in many other parts of the world is a high threshold program.  This means strict admission criteria – one should prove that other addiction therapies failed to work for them many times, bring official confirmation of being infected/non-infected by HIV, hepatitis etc. This means frequent and unannounced urine tests for presence of drugs – and if they prove positive the clients will either be forced to attend additional therapies aimed to stop their drug consumption altogether (this is what they do in the USA and Canada) or they are excluded from the program for “breaking the rules”.

Clients who „break the rules“ may be facing serious, overwhelming problems such as depression, home violence, a life crisis, bad social factors. Such people should have access to low threshold OST programs, so they can go on receiving methadone, ART and TB therapy. Such programs are increasingly popular in Canada, they put forward fewer demands „on admission“, there is no queuing and no waiting lists, more tolerance to relapses. Testing for drugs is done less frequently and the clients are informed beforehand. If the client is found using drugs, no reprisals follow. And such programs that do not aim to stop people from consuming drugs help saving lives, too – and to improve the quality of life as well. A recent Canadian study showed that despite the absence of sanctions in such low threshold programs one sees a steady decline in the usage of street opioids  and stimulants. The clients feel supported and see they can be accepted as they are today. Their social environment is gradually changing, bringing changes in their lives as well.

There are no low threshold programs in Kazakhstan to date. They may come. However, the number one priority at the moment is to keep what we already have, which means to get the state allocate funding to the existing high threshold programs. Otherwise hundreds of people and their families will be thrown overboard.

Community, Rights & Gender Technical Assistance Program

The Community, Rights and Gender (CRG) Technical Assistance Program provides support to civil society and community organizations to meaningfully engage in the Global Fund model, including during:

  • Country dialogue
  • Funding request development
  • Grant-making
  • Grant implementation

Under this program, national civil society and community organizations can apply for technical assistance in a range of areas, such as:

  • Situational analysis and planning
  • Participation in country dialogue
  • Program design
  • Oversight and monitoring of grant implementation
  • Engagement in sustainability and transition strategy development

Some examples of technical assistance requests include:

  • Support to design, plan and implement a consultation process to identify key population priorities for HIV funding request development
  • Designing and budgeting for community systems strengthening programs as part of the grant-making process
  • Facilitating a funding request review among youth organizations to identify gaps and propose appropriate interventions for inclusion
  • Proactive, peer-led community engagement support to civil society and community in sustainability and transition planning

Technical assistance is provided by nongovernmental organizations – including key population networks, universities and civil society organizations – that were selected through an open tender process for their demonstrated skills and capacities on community, rights and gender competencies.

  • CRG Technical Assistance Program Providers List
    download in English

The program currently does not support:

  • Strengthening Country Coordinating Mechanisms
  • Long-term capacity building of civil society organizations
  • Funding request writing

Organizations can request CRG technical assistance at any time throughout the funding cycle.

To learn more about CRG technical assistance, download these resources:

Requests should be submitted using the form and should be sent via email to

The CRG Technical Assistance Program is one part of a US$15 million Global Fund Board-approved strategic initiative that runs through December 2019. The strategic initiative aims to ensure that all people who are affected by the three diseases can play a meaningful role in Global Fund processes and ensure that grants reflect their needs.

Source: The Global Fund

Sustainability and integration of HIV and TB services for vulnerable people in Europe is in focus

Author: Yuliia Holub

In 2014, WHO diagnosed in European region 80% more new HIV cases than ten years earlier. The Eastern part of the region has the fastest growing HIV data and the second lowest treatment access in the world. As well as the highest rates of the global multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) (about 20%) and drug resistance among treated TB cases. Having emerging HIV and TB situation in European countries, problem of sustainable funding of the response. In the response of the transitioning to domestic funding of the HIV and TB services in European region and accenting attention on the possibilities integrate them in universal health coverage , on 12-13 December 2017, the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union is launching a high-level dialogue – “Addressing HIV and TB Challenges: from Donor Support to Sustainable Health Systems”.

During the two-day event, representatives of international and state institutions, civil society, NGOs, technical agencies and donors will discuss current challenges and opportunities in the European Union and neighboring countries for successful integrating TB and HIV services into national and European health systems. Besides, the participants will get possibility discuss practical and effective access to health care, especially for key affected populations.

Being involved in the organising the event, Eurasian harm reduction association is keen to discuss burning issues of the sustainable domestic funding for harm reduction services and its integration into health and social care systems with high level decision makers, regional experts and colleagues from regional community networks.

“In fact we already know what need to be done for effective response on HIV and TB among people using drugs. All standards are developed, trained social workers are in place. We do have money. Unfortunately millions of taxpayer resources are spend now for caching drug users by police and keeping them in prison, which only cause social and health problems but not solving anything. So where is the key obstacle for being effective in epidemic response? In political will, but more correctly – in political sabotage. With several miracle exceptions, decision makers do not hear our arguments for effective programs.

But we will not stop our pushing for prioritisation of services for communities. We need to mobilise communities on municipal and city level for active advocacy for the sustainable services” – says on the first plenary of the meeting Anna Dovbakh, the Executive Director of Eurasian Harm Reduction Association.

In the result of the meeting “Addressing HIV and TB Challenges: from Donor Support to Sustainable Health Systems” there will be outcome document with recommendations on integration of HIV and TB response in national health systems especially focused on sustainable financing of services for vulnerable groups in European Union and neighboring countries.

Regional Platform for Communication and Coordination begins its work in EECA region as part of the Global Fund’s CRG Strategic Initiative

Author: Yuliia Holub

Eurasian Harm Reduction Association was selected as a New Host of the Regional civil society and community coordination and communication Platform in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. 

The Regional Platforms for Communication and Coordination were established in 6 regions of the world by the Global Fund within its Community, Rights and Gender Special Initiative (CRG-SI) which was implemented throughout 2014-2016. In November 2016 the Global Fund Board approved $ 15 million to continue with the implementation of the CRG SI throughout the 2017-2019 funding cycle. As before CRG SI will be implemented via three mutually reinforcing components: (1) Short-Term Technical Assistance Program, (2) Long-Term Capacity Development and Meaningful Engagement of Key and Vulnerable Populations and (3) the Regional Platforms for Communication and Coordination. At the end of 2017 six civil society organizations were selected by the Global Fund to host the platforms and the region of Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) has got a new host: the Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA).

The regional platforms for communication and coordination are expected to have a key role in engaging civil society organizations and community networks in Global Fund processes. They are responsible to foster regional dialogue, exchange knowledge and good practices among civil society actors and networks, as well as to disseminating information on technical assistance opportunities across civil society and community groups across all countries where the Global Fund has grants and/or countries under Global Fund multi-country grants.

To progress towards these goals, during the next 2,5 years the EHRA in its role as a regional platform will be aiming to achieve the following objectives in EECA region:

Objective 1. Further the meaningful engagement of civil society and community groups through regular bi-directional communication and provision of accurate and accessible information to enhance the knowledge and participation of these actors in Global Fund related processes.

Objective 2. Improve the overall impact of Global Fund programs and interventions, and disease responses more globally through strengthened engagement of civil society and communities affected by HIV, tuberculosis and malaria.

Objective 3. Expand access to technical assistance for civil society and community groups through greater coordination with the CRG Strategic Initiative short-term TA component, as well as key national, regional and global technical assistance partners.

Objective 4. Support strategic civil society and community capacity development initiatives through fostering spaces for engagement and collective participation in key decision-making processes, in particular as they relate to community, rights and gender.

More specifically the EECA Regional Platform activities in next 2.5 years will include a number of national workshops for civil society and community organizations involved into the implementation of the Global Fund grants as sub-recipients or sub-sub-recipients; regional workshop for CCM members from EECA countries – representatives of civil society sector; support for NGOs and CBOs in development of the quality TA requests for the CRG Technical Assistance; improvement of access to the Global Fund related information through webinars, info notes, coordination calls; and other activities.

“Meaningful involvement of communities and civil society into the Global Fund related processes in the region, especially those focused on transition to national funding of services –  is crucial to guarantee that those components of HIV\TB response of a high priority for KAPs are not lost within the transition and their sustainability is ensured”, says Anna Dovbakh, the Executive Director of the Eurasian Harm Reduction Association. “As a hosting organization of the EECA Regional Platform we will work to help community leaders to become key actors in the process of effective transitioning in the region”.

 Within the implementation of this project EHRA is planning to work closely with other key regional organizations and community networks in EECA. In particular EHRA will be aiming to develop a closer communication and cooperation with those organizations being selected as CRG Technical Support Providers in the region to allow timely provision of peer-to-peer technical assistance on human rights, gender, community systems strengthening.

You may follow us on a Platform’s Facebook Page as well as join the EECA Regional Platform Facebook group. The Web-site of the Regional Platform will be re-launched soon, and this will be announced separately.

Any questions regarding the work of the Regional Platform or how to apply for the Global Fund’s Community, Rights and Gender Technical Assistance you may address to Ivan Varentsov, EHRA Sustainability & Transition Advisor: 

EHRA announces Regional meeting to elect Steering Committee members

Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA) announces the convocation of the members’ meetings from the particular regions: Baltic states, Central Europe, South-Eastern Europe, Belarus-Ukraine-Moldova and Central Asia.

We invite all EHRA members from the above-mentioned regions to submit applications to become a member of the Steering Committee until 1 January 2018.

A list of Steering Committee members subject to rotation:

1. Agita Seja (Baltic states)

2. Peter Sarosi (Central Europe)

3. Yuliya Georgieva (South-Eastern Europe)

4. Liudmila Trukhan (Belarus-Ukraine-Moldova)

5. Aibar Sultangaziev (Central Asia)

Candidates should:

  1. Be a member of EHRA.
  2. Demonstrate readiness and ability to work responsibly and actively as a Steering Committee member.
  3. To reside within a region participating in the current elections.
  4. To avoid a potential conflict of interests, candidates cannot be representatives of Association’s donor organizations.

From 10 to 24 January, 2018 will be online voting to elect Steering Committee members in these five regions. And 25 January, 2018 EHRA will announce results.

If you have any questions, please address to Secretary of the Regional meetings Eliza Kurcevic, on e-mail: