EHRA is looking for a qualified expert to conduct an independent mid-term review of EHRA strategy implementation covering the first two years (2020-2021)

REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS (RFP)

RFP Number EHRA-11-05
RFP Title Mid-term review of EHRA strategy
RFP Closing Date and time: 24:00 EET on January 16, 2022
Proposal Submission Address: info@harmreductioneurasia.org

Background

Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA) is a non-profit public, membership-based organization uniting 324 harm reduction organizations and activists from the CEECA region. Our mission is to actively unite and support communities and civil societies to ensure the rights and freedoms, health, and well-being of people who use psychoactive substances in the CEECA region.

How was the current strategy developed?

The Strategy 2020-2024 was developed by the Steering Committee with active participation of the Secretariat through a participatory approach, involving EHRA members and the Advisory Board, as well as in consultation with regional and international partners. The strategy was finalized at the Steering Committee and the Advisory Board meeting in November 2019 and was adopted by EHRA General Meeting in early 2020. EHRA has a sustainable governance structure and updated Articles of Association and effectively implements regional advocacy projects and initiatives in accordance with strategic goals.

Organizational approach to monitoring and evaluation is outlined in MEL system. At the core of the EHRA MEL lies the theory of change, which reflects the Strategy.

Why should the strategy be reviewed?

Over the past two years (2020-2021) of the strategy’s implementation, the social, political, and financial context has changed dramatically. COVID-19 crisis, geopolitical tensions and conflicts, negative developments in political landscape in Eurasia have made an unprecedented impact on the situation in countries of the region. With social and health care systems temporarily incapacitated in most countries, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and related government responses, people who use drugs are disproportionately affected in access to life-saving harm reduction services, they are at extra risks of stigma and discrimination, abuse and inequality.

COVID-19 crisis also brought up new and emerging risks of shifting away both, domestic and donor’s funding priority, an accelerated donor transitioning away from the region in a post Covid-19 environment, that can lead to declining funding of harm reduction services.

These changes in the external environment at this point, halfway through the Strategy require to assess progress and performance, and if needed to revise tactical objectives of the Strategy along with national and regional intended results.

Objectives of the consultancy:

This assignment has two objectives:

  • to develop a methodology and tools to evaluate mid-term and final progress in delivering the Strategy, in line with EHRA MEL system,
  • to analyse external factors and programmatic progress to propose required revisions for the Strategy.

The assignment includes the following specific tasks:

  • conduct web-based survey among EHRA members,
  • conduct up to 10 semi-structured interviews with the Steering Committee members, the Advisory Board members, pre-selected EHRA members,
  • conduct up to 5 semi-structured interviews with regional and international EHRA partners,
  • prepare a report with progress against the Strategy,
  • prepare recommendations for strategic decision-making on the revisions / updates on tactical objectives where needed.

EHRA Secretariat will act as a reference point and will support a consultant to ensure a seamless process.

The assignment can be completed in Russian or English.

Timeline.

The assignment must be completed no later than 30 April 2022.

Evaluation Criteria

A two-stage procedure will be utilized in evaluating the proposals:

  • evaluation of the previous experience (portfolio) via technical criteria – 80% in total evaluation;
  • comparison of the costs (best value for money) – 20% in total evaluation.

Cost evaluation is only undertaken for technical submissions that score a minimum 80 points out of a maximum of 100 as a requirement to pass the technical evaluation. A proposal which fails to achieve the minimum technical threshold will not be considered further.

To assess submitted applications, the following technical criteria will be used (80%) (maximum possible number of points is 100):

Criteria Points
Proven track record of experience in conducting similar assignments in last

three years (should be clear from LoI and CV)

30 points
Understanding of harm reduction, drug policy, HIV response and/or civil society involvement to advocacy and capacity building in social and public health issues in EURASIA (should be

clear from CV and LoI)

30 points
Good communication skills including experience in interviewing

people and report writing (should be clear from LoI and CV)

25 points
Oral, written and spoken fluency in English OR in Russian 15 points
TOTAL 100 points

Cost proposal (20%): EHRA will allocate same importance to the provided portfolio and recorded experience as to the cost of the services. The cost proposal will be evaluated in terms of best value-for money to EHRA in USD, price and other factors considered

This announcement shall not be construed as a contract or a commitment of any kind. This request for proposals in no way obligates EHRA to award a contract, nor does it commit EHRA to pay any cost incurred in the preparation and submission of the proposals.

How to apply

To be eligible as a EHRA consultant, any organization or individual must comply with the Eurasian Harm Reduction Association Code of Ethics which you can find at the following link: https://harmreductioneurasia.org/ehra-code-of-ethics/

Applicants must submit the following documents:

  • CV , Letter of Interest. The CV and application should clearly reflect the competency of the candidate necessary to complete this task, as well as include the proposed number of working days for each stage, cost and timing of their implementation. An estimated workload of this assignment is no more than 12 consultancy days.

Please submit your proposal to the info@harmreductioneurasia.org .

In the subject line of your e-mail please indicate the RFP number and your name.  Otherwise, the application will not be considered.

General terms

Interested consultants should pay attention to the following conditions:

  • EHRA will sign an agreement with the winner of the competitive selection. The contract will define a detailed work plan and payment terms.
  • EHRA reserves the right (but does not commit itself to obligations) to enter into negotiations with one or more applicants in order to obtain clarifications or additional information, as well as to agree on the timing of work.
  • The winner must confirm his/her daily rate before signing of the agreement.

The results of the stakeholder meeting “How to make effective and efficient online and remote HIV prevention, treatment and care services for key populations”

COVID-19 has had an unprecedented impact on HIV prevention, treatment and support programmes for key populations in the countries of Central, Eastern Europe and Central Asia (CEECA). It has brought with it not only devastating threats, but also new opportunities for innovation and change.  One such innovation has been the introduction of online or remote service delivery.

On 7 September 2021, the Eurasian Regional Consortium  held an online discussion. More than 30 practitioners and experts from NGOs that provide HIV-related health and social services to key populations in Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan and Ukraine together with representatives of technical agencies and specialists from state and municipal health services examined current challenges and priorities for promoting sustainable and quality digital and remote HIV services for key populations in CEECA.

The main objective of the meeting was to create a platform for discussion at regional level, involving practitioners and experts to examine key technical and expert support needs and identify next steps in promoting sustainable and quality digital and remote services for key populations in the countries of the region.

The research team consisting of Anna Tokar, Maria Samko and Marina Kornilova presented the methodology and results of the mapping of existing digital and remote HIV services for key populations in CEECA. A compendium describing best practices based on the mapping study was also shown. The presentation described key barriers, key needs and recommendations for promotion of services.

The results of the study once again confirmed that the transition from the traditional way of delivering services to an online format creates a number of new challenges and needs for both service providers and funders, such as public services and donor organisations. These needs include requirement for additional technical and financial resources, specialist staff skills, data recording, cybersecurity, protection of sensitive data and quality control.

ONLINE CARE: Mapping digital and remote medical and social services for key populations in relation to HIV in the region of Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

The first part focuses on mapping existing practices of online and remote services, identifying the challenges and needs of service providers to effectively implement them

Best practices in the provision of digital and remote medical and social HIV services for key populations in the region of Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

The second part describes the methodology of the most common services currently provided in the countries of the CEECA region.

Practical experiences of remote and online services were presented by organisations from Moldova, Russia and Ukraine. In their presentations, speakers paid special attention to how the process of service delivery was organised, what challenges they faced and how they overcame them, what results have already been achieved.

Nikolay Unguryan presented experience of ‘Humanitarian Action’ web-based outreach in the context of harm reduction and HIV prevention for people who use drugs in Saint-Petersburg, Russia.

Andrey Chernyshev presented experience of ALLIANCE.GLOBAL of rolling out remote services such as community-based HIV, STIs and viral hepatitis testing and counselling, HIV self-testing, provision of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and national awareness campaigns in COVID-19 context in Ukraine.

Ruslan Poverga presented the Positive Initiative’s experience on distribution of prevention materials to key groups through pharmacies and vending machines, and approaches of registering online services in the national database: “RID” in Moldova. 

The participants discussed the existing critical issues regarding the provision of online services in their respective countries and developed a list of key priorities for the next steps to be taken by the key stakeholders for successful promotion and development of quality digital and remote services in the following thematic areas:

Technical solutions and management systems

Limited technical resources, including the availability of modern PCs and tablets, constant access to high-speed mobile internet, were identified as priority issues that hampered the development of online services. Participants felt that investment in hardware should be focused on developing modern web interfaces, mobile applications and software that would facilitate the interaction between service provider and client, adviser workstations should be equipped to help ensure the privacy of both client and adviser, online service record keeping systems and client uniqueness should be automated and synchronised with other service providers, and client confidentiality should be ensured.

The need to address cyber-security issues (including the issue of security of personal data of clients and employees) was raised as a separate issue.

Among the priority issues that need to be addressed at both national and regional levels, participants mentioned the need to develop guidelines and standards for the provision of digital and remote services, which would be based on the existing evidence base, as well as standards and recommendations of key international organizations.

In the context of accounting, planning and cyber security of online services, experts participating in the meeting pointed out that most countries already have databases in which the personal data of online service customers are already stored and recorded on servers, but the problem is that these databases are not compatible with each other or are outdated, making it impossible to share or synchronise them. One technical solution would be to update and interoperate these databases, which would solve the issue of storing personal data on secure servers, record unique clients, plan services more correctly and avoid the need to create new costly databases. Where such databases do not exist in a country, the experience of other countries should be used and regional networks and initiatives could help by documenting evidence-based approaches, best practices, and sharing experiences between countries in this area.

Other priorities for technical solutions and management systems included costing of services, taking into account different approaches and needs of different key groups, as well as a flexible combination of offline and online services.

Monitoring and evaluation

Virtually all organisations record the provision of digital and remote services to some degree, but the lack of a single, generally accepted vision of what a digital and/or remote service is, where and when it begins/stops, including what components it comprises, leads to problems with customer record-keeping.

The lack of a common definition and understanding of a digital/remote service, as well as standards for its provision and a transparent and reliable system for recording digital services, makes it impossible to carry out meaningful quality control and to assess the effectiveness of digital services. For the most part, the quality of digital service delivery is assessed by customer feedback.

Participants highlighted the need to monitor online services separately from other consultations that are conducted offline, including on clients contacts and message recording. One challenging issue where investment and technical assistance is needed is in setting up costly online counselling systems in multiple languages (both national, English, French for migrants).

HIV services need to be integrated into the existing health counselling systems.

At the regional level there is need to develop recommendations or best practices on how to keep records management of digital and remote services and number of clients reached by such services. A client management system for online services should be an important priority for donor organisations and should be discussed openly with all stakeholders.

The role of regional networks and initiatives should be to document and promote best practices in logging and tracking of online services (e.g. terminal and online services tracking, use of online payment terminals, other innovative approaches), as well as to organize exchange of experiences between countries and technical assistance.

Capacity building, supervision and support for social workers providing online services.

The following key priority issues were voiced at the meeting:

  • Lack of skills among staff;
  • Difficulties in adapting staff to the online format;
  • Difficulties with balancing work online and leisure, and, as a consequence, professional burnout;

The following needs were identified as priorities:

  • New staff for organisations (e.g. IT specialist, website administrator, application administrator, chat/forum moderator, content manager/copywriter);
  • new knowledge and skills in computer literacy, working with web-based communication platforms, social networks and messengers, knowledge and use of their functionality in work, online counselling, burnout prevention, cyberbullying prevention and data security
  • skills in developing and implementing procedures and policies to ensure the protection of personal data and confidentiality of both client and service provider when delivering online services.

Vacancy announcement: SENIOR PROGRAM OFFICER (DEADLINE IS EXTENDED UNTIL DECEMBER 1, 2021)

EXPECTED START DATE: ASAP

JOB TYPE: permanent, full time

JOB LOCATION: office-based in Vilnius, Lithuania

COMPENSATION:  Minimum gross salary is 2500 euro (1500 net) and up depending on qualifications and experience.

Job summary

The Senior Program Officer has a set of responsibilities which is divided into two groups: program/project management and the implementation of regional advocacy activities.

In program management the Senior Program Officer, with the support and supervision of the Program Team Lead, is responsible for managing of assigned program components and projects. . This includes project management, supervision of subordinates (if any), daily management of EHRA’s sub-grantees, consultants, evaluation of assigned program components, oversight of budgets, development of relevant knowledge and participation in fundraising.

In developing and implementing regional advocacy activities Senior Program Officer develops and supervises activities on regional and national level and works with Program Team members to provide scientific bases and creative approach in capacity building to EHRA members to ensure effective advocacy for sustainable provision of quality harm reduction services, for protection of human rights and humane drug policy, according to organizational strategy.

QUALIFICATIONS FOR POSITION

  • A strong experience and commitment in provision/management of harm reduction services, human rights, drug policy and civil society and community strengthening in EECA country/ies (minimum of 3-year experience in the field).
  • University degree in management, public health, public administration, social studies, communications or another relevant field.
  • Thorough understanding of project/program management techniques and methods, including budget development and monitoring.
  • Good command of English and Russian both oral and written (knowledge of other languages is a plus).
  • Proficiency with computers, means of telecommunication and communication.
  • Experience and comfort working with diverse communities (people who use drugs, sex workers, LGBTIQ+, people living with HIV etc.).
  • Ability to listen and communicate effectively with people from diverse cultures and backgrounds.
  • Ability to travel abroad for work, occasionally involving weekends and holidays.

Interested candidates should provide:

  • updated CV outlining specific relevant experience
  • two references
  • a short cover letter indicating suitability for the position.

Documents should be sent to: igor@harmreductioneurasia.org until December 1, 2021.

Download full job description HERE

Interviews will be done on a rolling basis.

Only shortlisted applicants will be contacted.

Support. Don’t Punish. 2021

26th June is well known as a global day of action, where activists around the world become part of the “Support. Don’t Punish” campaign, to remind governments to end the “war on drugs” and place health and human rights in the center of drug policy-making processes.

This year is no exception. Community of people who use drugs activists from Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan joined a global campaign that brought together 260 cities from 96 countries. Local actions were supported by the Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA) and the Eurasian Network of People who Use Drugs (ENPUD).

Activists who are truly concerned about the current situation with health, dignity and freedom of people who use drugs in EECA region countries marched in their cities, organized flash mobs, shared their fact-based opinions through social networks and media to draw the attention of the general public and decision-makers to start changing harsh government policies towards people who use drugs. 

Based on their own stories and experiences, activists showed how the state should express support for people in need. Volunteers bought and packed food boxes, personal hygiene kits, medicines and delivered it to those who need it most, who are treated in hospitals or at home and cannot move around on their own. 

The worsening situation with COVID-19 affected the plans in some countries, but it didn’t stop delivering the main message of the campaign – the “war on drugs” is lost, repressions don’t work, it’s time to support, not punish!

ENPUD works to ensure that people don’t become dependent on drugs, and those who get sick stay alive, healthy and free. The living experience in a repressive drug policy environment has taught us a lot about what punishment means.

The value of this year's campaign is that it is open for everyone to participate meaningfully, from concept to its implementation.

Through this campaign, we desire to support community, to give hand of help to people whose lives are affected by economic crisis and by illness and despair, we want to create welcoming meeting and working spaces, we keen to find allies.  This year we decided to support community allies and to award handmade diplomas "Friend of the Community" to two drug treatment doctors from Moldova.

Olga Belyaeva

ENPUD Program Coordinator

Lili Fedorova, chief narcologist of Chisinau, receiving a certificate of merit. Moldova. ©PULS Comunitar

Belarus

In the framework of the campaign in Belarus, activists from the association “Your Chance” have provided (video) financial support to people who are in acute need of such help. Eight people from Minsk, Gomel, Grodno, Mazyr and Barysau who have difficulty moving due to severe leg diseases and cancer received funds to cover transport expenses to OST clinics. This money should be enough until August this year when the Ministry of Health promises to adopt regulations allowing home delivery of OST.

Activists of the association "Your Chance", Belarus. ©yourchance.by.

Georgia

Actions prepared by the association of organizations of people who use drugs “GeNPUD”, were aimed at changing the current repressive drug policy, which contradicts fundamental human rights and focuses on punishment. Actions were also aimed at changing the outdated rules in OST programs, where take-home OST prescription is not available. With the support of the Georgian Harm Reduction Network and Médecins du Monde, France-Georgia “GeNPUD” prepared a petition to Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, and on June 26 they came out to public protest in front of the Georgian State Chancellery in Tbilisi. Outside the capital city in Kutaisi, Ozurgeti and Batumi public protests were organized by “GeNPUD” member organizations – “Rubikon”, “Phoenix 2009” and “Imedi”. Media outlets were invited to the rallies and covered the campaign events.

Other conducted events included a meeting between representatives of “New Vector” and friendly MPs from the “Girchi” party, participation of “GeNPUD” representative in a conference organized by the Center for Mental Health and Drug Abuse Prevention, and release of a short video in which community talks about the problems caused by stigma and discrimination.

Free mobile testing for HIV, viral hepatitis and syphilis in Batumi, Georgia. ©Union "Imedi"
A protest in Tbilisi against repressive drug policies in front of the State Chancellery of Georgia. ©GeNPUD

Kazakhstan

People who use drugs activists in Kazakhstan, from Karaganda, Temirtau, Taraz, Ust-Kamenogorsk, Pavlodar, Almaty, Saran and Balkhash, prepared and published 14 short videos and 7 social media posts, drawing the attention of a wide audience of Internet users.  The content included personal stories, interviews with health professionals and representatives of partner organizations, outreach workers, people who use drugs.

For the first time, we decided to roll out our campaign via Instagram reaching diverse audiences, those people who are far from thinking of drug policy issues or about what kind of support is needed. But these people left positive feedback that it's very right that we talk about important things, they thanked people who wrote posts and recorded videos, for courage, honesty, and fortitude.

Valentina Mankieva

Coordinator of the Campaign in Kazakhstan

Kyrgyzstan

Community activists from Association “Harm Reduction Network” prepared a short video in which people who have suffered from repressive drug policy in Kyrgyzstan and have lost years of their life in prison talk about what “support” means to them and why it is important.

As part of the campaign, volunteers on their own improved the grounds of the Social Hostel “Phoenix” – they built a shelter and assembled two tables and two benches from wooden pallets. The new space will allow organize meetings and trainings for up to 15 people.

Volunteers built a shelter, assembled tables and benches on the grounds of the "Phoenix" Social Hostel in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.​

Moldova

To draw public attention to the problem of people who use drugs in Moldova, including young people, community-led organization “PULS Comunitar”, organized an auto rally and street action in front of Balti City Hall. In meeting with drug treatment specialists, community representatives symbolically handed out diplomas “Friends of the Community” for 2 doctors, as a sign of gratitude for the friendly attitude and support to the community of people who use drugs in Moldova. During the meeting further joint actions to broaden possibilities for the community, to expand the geography of OST programs and to access buprenorphine in all OST sites were discussed. Provision of OST through family doctors, pharmacies, and commercial medical facilities was also discussed.

“PULS Comunitar” managed to establish effective communication with media, thus events were widely covered in local internet sources and social media, and the total coverage reached 8000 people.  

Car rally in Balti to draw attention to the problem of drug addicts in Moldova. ©eSP.md
A street installation, "Would You Punish Them Too?" with posters of famous people who have had drug experiences. Balti, Moldova. ©PULS Comunitar
A street installation, "Would You Punish Them Too?" with posters of famous people who have had drug experiences. Balti, Moldova. ©PULS Comunitar

Russia

The activities in Russia have primarily involved direct and practical aid to those in difficulty.

In Ekaterinburg, food packages were provided to six people who use drugs livingwith HIV and tuberculosis, who were being treated in a tuberculosis hospital, a woman living with HIV who was in an oncological dispensary with inoperable cancer, and a man who needed help after treatment in a psychiatric hospital.

In Perm, a sanitation service was paid to kill cockroaches and bedbugs in the living place to prevent the mother from losing her parental rights due to poor sanitary living conditions of her small child. Another young mother with an infant and no income was paid for visits to child therapist.

I was threatened that they [a child protection service] would take my child away for unsanitary conditions, but no one ever helped me to kill the cockroaches and put things in order. Thank you to everyone who provides this support, who actually helps people like me. Support, but not punishment, this is what gave me the desire and faith to go on living!

Feedback from a client from Perm

In Togliatti, the organization, recognized as a foreign agent, has no funding, but continues to help clients by providing harm reduction services. Ointments, bandages, disinfectant wipes, antiseptics, soap supplies and diapers for the bed-ridden patients were purchased to continue the work of this organization. During the summer, handouts will be distributed to the city’s most needy people who use drugs.

Volunteers in Togliatti collected and delivered medicine, medical and other supplies for those who need it most. ©EHRA

Tajikistan

In the framework of the campaign, the NGO “SPIN Plus” organized a meeting with activists from the community of people who use drugs from Dushanbe, Gissar, Tursunzade, Rudaki and Vahdat, and staff from the Drug Control Agency and personnel of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Tajikistan. The purpose of the meeting was to establish relationships with police officers to protect the rights and interests of the community of people who use drugs. The meeting noted the important role of the community of people who use drugs in providing harm reduction services and in preventing drug use among young people. Participants agreed to meet regularly and work together to implement the President’s Strategy on Prevention and Modern Approaches to Treatment of Drug Dependence.

Other activities included the development of community centre “DROPIN” and conducting training on harm reduction basics for personnel of AIDS Control and Prevention Centre, municipal drug treatment centre, and health centres.

Staff of the city HIV/AIDS prevention and control center, the city drug treatment center, and the city's health centers at the "Spin Plus" training on the basics of harm reduction. Dushanbe, Tajikistan.©Spin Plus

Uzbekistan

On 26th June, a mobilization meeting of two community initiative groups – women who use drugs and Global Fund outreach workers was organized in Tashkent. Participants have shared their personal life stories, as almost everyone had suffered from the repressive drug policy.

Unfortunately, many of those invited to the meeting were not able to attend it due to stricter COVID-19 related quarantine measures and travel restrictions in Uzbekistan. Thus one of the “hot” topics of the meeting was compliance with protective measures in the face of the pandemic.

Educational podcasts to support work of paralegals are on air

To support the work of paralegals and guide them through algorithm of basic legal support provision to key populations in access to HIV services, EHRA jointly with HIV Legal Network have developed a series of podcasts. The key topics of podcasts: HIV cascade and human rights, instruments of paralegals, 7 steps in paralegals’ work, and peculiarities of work with different key populations groups.

The podcasts are available at EHRA educational platform in section of educational materials for paralegals in Russian (for access please register).

The podcasts were produced by EHRA within the project “Overcoming legal barriers for key populations – on the way to 90-90-90” funded by the Elton John AIDS Foundation. The project is aimed at improvement of the effectiveness of HIV continuum of care by overcoming legal barriers for the most vulnerable key populations in selected cities of Georgia, Kazakhstan and Moldova.

 

HERE you can find other EHRA’s educational materials on  protection of human rights and learn about our work n this field.

EXTENDED: Call for Consultancy to analyze the changes in the harm reduction packages and unit costs during transition from international to domestic funding in Ukraine, Moldova, North Macedonia and Kyrgyzstan

The Eurasian Harm Reduction Association is seeking a short-term national consultancy in Ukraine, Moldova, North Macedonia and Kyrgyzstan to analyze the changes in the harm reduction packages and unit costs during transition from international to domestic funding.

Background Information

Despite commitment by governments to continue HIV prevention among key groups, transition has significantly weakened community systems and interrupted services. Available packages and quality of harm reduction services are decreasing even if services are supported. Lack of political support for harm reduction, not only as an HIV prevention measure but as a social service, is one of the main obstacles to sustainable and sufficient funding for quality programmes.[1]

Since harm reduction (HR) programs have been first introduced in the countries the package of provided services changed and varies from country to country. Ukraine, Moldova, North Macedonia and Kyrgyzstan recently started funding the HR services from domestic resources through social-contracting and public procurement.

EHRA is looking for national consultants in Ukraine, Moldova, North Macedonia and Kyrgyzstan to analyze the changes in the harm reduction packages and unit costs during transition from international to government funding.

Objectives of the consultancy:

  • Analyze changes in unit cost per client, list/package of services since HR services were introduced in the country using secondary data (applications to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, budgets or target setting in national documents, national AIDS response strategies, standards/packages of services and/or national unit costs calculations, state procurement tenders and contracts with service providers);
  • Describe the rationale behind the changes in the package and/or unit costs (interviews with 2-3 key national informants involved in decision-making process)
  • Analyze the impact of occurred changes in unit costs and package of HR services on services provision, quality of provided services and client satisfaction with them ( interviews with services providers and community representatives/clients from different cities of the country).

Steps of the consultancy:

  1. Secondary data analysis
  2. Development of questionnaires in consultation with EHRA and national consultants from other 3 countries
  3. Interviews with key informants (the list of informants should be approved by EHRA)
  • 2-3 with national stakeholders involved indecision-making process regarding unit costs, standards and packages of services
  • 5 with harm reduction services providers from different cities of the country
  • 10 with clients of opioid substitution and needle and syringe programs
  1. Prepare draft analytical report based on the collected data
  2. Finalize the report based on EHRA’s feedback

Expected results of the consultancy:

  • Analytical report in Russian or English (up to 30 pages) on how the transition process affects harm reduction packages, unit costs and quality of provided services.
  • Suggested recommendations for donors and governments based on the analyzed data and interviews with key informants
  • Translation of the report into the national language

Proposed timeline: All tasks should be completed by May 31, 2021.

This call for proposals is organized within the  “Thinking outside the box: overcoming challenges in community advocacy for sustainable and high-quality HIV services” project of the Eurasian Regional Consortium financed by the Robert Carr civil society Networks Fund (RCF).

The Eurasian Regional Consortium joins the efforts of Eurasian Coalition on Health, Rights, Gender and Sexual Diversity (ECOM), Eurasian Women’s AIDS Network (EWNA) and Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA) to effectively address the lack of financial sustainability in prevention, treatment, care and support programs for the key populations vulnerable in terms of their rights violation and the risk of HIV.

Selection criteria:

The submitted applications will be evaluated by the selection committee of the Eurasian Harm Reduction Association. The following criteria will be used to evaluate the bids (the maximum possible number of points is 100):

  • Knowledge and understanding of GF funding and national procurement procedures (25 points)
  • Clear understanding of situation with harm reduction funding in the country (25 points)
  • Relevant work experience (analytical reports) (20 points)
  • Established connections with service providers (15 points)
  • Experience in monitoring and evaluation (10 points)
  • Fluent Russian or English (5 points)

EHRA will consider for the contract only applicants that scored at least 80 points out of 100.

This announcement shall not be construed as a contract or a commitment of any kind. This request for proposals in no way obligates EHRA to award a contract, nor does it commit EHRA to pay any cost incurred in the preparation and submission of the proposals.

Terms of payment and other conditions same as a final timeline will be indicated in the agreement which EHRA will sign with the winner.

How to apply

Applicants must submit the following documents to maria@harmreductioneurasia.org, the subject of the letter is “Call UC”,the deadline for submission is before 24:00 EET on March 24, 2021:

  1. CV
  2. Letter of interest with suggested consultancy fee (USD) and number of working days (8 hours/day)
  3. List of potential respondents from organizations providing harm reduction services

[1] https://www.hri.global/files/2020/10/26/Global_State_HRI_2020_2_2_Eurasia_FA_WEB.pdf

Drug policy and harm reduction in Southeast and Central Europe

Have there been any significant developments in the region of Central and Southeast Europe since 2018? Any scale-back or scale-up of harm reduction services? 

There are some improvements in some countries, for example, in Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia. Although governments still allocate very small budgets for harm reduction, at least they are becoming more open, willing to cooperate with the civil society and end this terrible situation after the Global Fund funding ended and other programs collapsed.

There is a new outreach program in Belgrade. The Bosnian government seems to be open to give funding for harm reduction; some money was allocated in Montenegro. The financing in Bulgaria that was stopped due to some bureaucratic problem related to the funding criteria introduced by the government has been resolved to a certain extent now, and the needle exchange program operates again in Sofia, and a new drop-in centre was also opened, which was later closed down.

There is still a shortage of opiate substitution medications in Romania, and the Ministry of Health is very inactive to solve this. Thankfully, there are still available programs even amid the coronavirus pandemic. Organization Carusel has made some significant improvements and recently opened a new shelter.

No real improvements happened in Hungary, apart from a new mobile outreach program in Budapest, called HepaGo, which reaches those areas where needle exchange programs were shut down in 2014. The only problem is that it is financed with international money, which makes it fragile; it’s not sustainable without money from the state. Injecting drug use in Budapest is decreasing, probably because people are switching to smoking synthetic cannabinoids.

More and more people use new psychoactive substances in other Eastern and Central European countries: some of them as the main drug, and some in combination with other substances. I think it is a very significant change for care systems because most of them were primarily constructed to get opiate users into substitution programs. But how do you deal with the treatment of new substances’ users? I’ve heard that rehab programs don’t work for them as well as with opiate users. We probably need to explore these short-term interventions for these users, who are sometimes much younger than heroin users. People still need help, but they need some different approaches.

You said that some governments had become more open to harm reduction. What has changed to make them do that? 

I think the fact that they sit down at the negotiating table is already a good sign. In Belgrade, we presented a study about the clients of a closed needle and syringe program, and the feedback from the government was very positive, they are now more friendly to the civil society and speak with them more actively. They still can’t offer much, but at least they have some budget for harm reduction programs. In most cases, I think this change happens because of the pressure and advocacy by the civil society. But these bureaucratic machines are very slow. After years of advocacy, it gets to the stage when the implementation of programs is in the hands of decision-makers. A few years ago, we formed the Drug Policy Network South East Europe, and it took us two more years until ministries started implementing real measures. 

Are these measures mainly related to the “old harm reduction”, or do they also involve new services, like drug checking or drug consumption rooms? 

Some organisations in Eastern and Central Europe started doing drug checking in nightlife settings and during festivals. In Western Europe, however, liquid chromatography machines are now used in festivals. I think many organisations in our region could also afford them. The real barriers are not financial. Money could be collected through fundraising or crowdsourcing campaigns. There are a lot of wealthy middle-class people going to these festivals. It’s not a big deal to raise the money. I think that the real problems are legal barriers and police practices.

Are these the same barriers for introducing new harm reduction approaches in general? To open drug consumption rooms or change service packages in harm reduction settings? 

In an environment where you don’t even have resources to operate traditional harm reduction services, like needle and syringe programs or opiate substitution, you don’t have funding for anything else. It requires stable, sustainable funding from the government to run these programs. It’s not something you can just start and see what happens. The second issue is the attitude of governments. They don’t want to risk this kind of public controversy. Even in the progressive Czech Republic, conflicts arise with residents who oppose needle and syringe programs. It’s a kind of political risk for leaders in our societies with a lot of conservative-minded people to introduce an innovative program.

You said that because people don’t inject so much, they need different harm reduction. What do you think prevents the existing services from changing their packages?

They are changing. At least in Hungary, they are changing. For example, if there is less demand for needles, they will distribute some other things. At the moment, these are COVID-specific things, like masks, gloves, disinfectants. There is also a demand for social help. Many people are still living with Hepatitis C, and they need help to get into treatment. That’s why we called our new project HepaGo. People who injected drugs before didn’t have access to treatment. This is what this project helps to achieve in collaboration with hepatology doctors.

Psychologists’ help is essential in the case of new psychoactive substances because of psychosis, aggressive behaviour associated with them. Also, most of these people live on the street, and they face a lot of social issues. We should realise that harm reduction is not only about HIV and hepatitis C, but it’s about different kinds of help to people who live on the margins. They need other types of support as well, like helping them to find housing and normalise their social relationships.

You said that some new networks had been formed in the Southern subregion. What kind of networks?

I had in mind the Drug Policy Network South East Europe. They organise conferences for regional harm reduction actors, provide help on the country level, publish reports. It would be useful if people from this and other networks, like the Eurasian Harm Reduction Association, could visit countries to sit down with local politicians, bureaucrats, researchers and civil society. This would provide local NGOs with an opportunity to talk to governments and set agendas. Such a model would be useful in the future after the pandemic is over.

What is the civil society’s role, and what do they advocate for in different countries? 

Budget is still the main issue. It’s a year to year survival for programs, which limits the scope of advocacy because you have to fight for the very resources that enable you to operate. You don’t really have the capacity, energy and staff to fight for other things. The funding for harm reduction in the region is unstable. That is also one of the reasons we don’t have enough innovations or don’t open drug consumption rooms or implement naloxone programs. Governments primarily aim at banning substances and don’t care about providing support to drug users. And I see a lot of uncertainty among service providers in light of these changes in the drug market. The readily available harm reduction models that used to work are not enough.

Who funds the services? Are there governments or other international donors besides the Global Fund that do this in the region?

Most of the funding comes from national or local governments. I don’t know any significant international financing of services coming to the region right now. I know organisations that have conducted successful fundraising or crowdsourcing campaigns. The new drop-in centre in Sofia was opened with the fundraised money. I also know organisations in Hungary that work with marginalised Roma people, not only drug users, who have led some successful crowdsourcing campaigns. It is not a lot of money, not enough to run organisations, especially if they provide lifesaving, public health and social services that the government should fund. Crowdsourcing opportunities won’t substitute the stability of government funding.

Do any organizations advocate for the decriminalization of drug possession, drug use or the human rights of people who use drugs?

There are not that many. There was a decriminalization campaign in Lithuania in 2017, but I don’t remember any others. You need to have liberal or socialist governments to have a successful campaign in this area. I don’t see any countries now where anybody could say that there is at least a 50 per cent chance to lead a successful advocacy campaign in the fields you mention.

But it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it.

You are right; it doesn’t. It doesn’t mean that you should not deal with criminal justice and criminalisation of people, because these are critical issues. I see efforts being made to add alternatives to incarceration systems. In Poland, for example, they are talking about more alternatives and also how to link the criminal justice system to the treatment system.

Would you agree that most organisations in the region primarily work on the provision of services and funding, but not drug policy and advocacy? 

I think some organisations do advocacy on top of providing services, and some don’t even understand why advocacy is crucial in the first place. What they do is not always advocacy—they try to make some behind-the-scenes pacts with governments. Only very few organisations, maybe one third, are brave enough to organise campaigns like Support don’t Punish on the 26 of June. Even when they do, it’s sometimes very weak. In general, advocacy is very weak in the region. Only very few organisations do real advocacy; and mostly on funding and services. They don’t want to take the risk of being political to talk about criminalisation. Harm reduction services are much easier for people to swallow than decriminalisation. It’s not easy for many in the government to understand that these people need help; they should not be punished in the first place. We don’t see much of this attitude in the region.

You said that organisations must be brave to do advocacy. What kind of consequences could they face? Will they lose funding if they speak about decriminalisation, or is there more to it?

That’s the main fear. Most of these organisations are very much dependent on government funding, and they are afraid to lose it. I wouldn’t say that this fear is unfounded in the environment of very scarce resources. Governments tend to support organisations that they find more manageable and conforming to their expectations. That’s why there is a need for bravery to speak up for decriminalisation. You can be labelled a “political civil society”, which in some countries like mine, are called “Soros agents” [the Hungarian-born American billionaire philanthropist George Soros finances many liberal and progressive causes] or be accused of wanting to legalise drugs. I think many service providers want to avoid being labelled as a radical organisation.

But harm reduction is mentioned in policy documents and is featured in national health packages.

Many national drug strategies do mention harm reduction. Some countries mention surprisingly progressive things, for example, in some Balkan countries. I’ve heard that some national drug strategies there have been copy-pasted from EU documents. But it doesn’t mean, of course, that these documents are implemented, despite all these references, existing mechanisms for funding or alternatives to incarceration. They are simply not used. Or if they are, not on the full scale. It is not a priority for governments.

But why do they have all these policies but don’t implement them? 

I think it’s a kind of nature of policymaking: it’s much easier to adopt guidelines and recommendations than implement them. Governments can claim success by issuing a new rule or strategy, tick the box of having a national drug strategy in the form of a comprehensive, balanced document. They can tell the media and people, “We are working on a drug policy, we have a strategy”. But they are not so eager when it comes to allocating resources for their implementation. Monitoring and evaluation are also missing in most countries. In Hungary, four organisations working in rehabilitation, treatment, prevention and harm reduction, united in the Civil Society Forum on Drugs. We did an independent civil society evaluation of the implementation of our national drug strategy and produced a report based on focus group research and interviews with service providers. But governments don’t make any efforts to evaluate their policies.  

Could you identify any good advocacy efforts in the subregion? Also, what do you think works when you speak to governments? 

What works very much depends on the attitude of each particular government. For example, Poland has a very conservative government, but at least they have the National Drug Agency, which kind of counterbalances these conservative tendencies, and they can maintain support for harm reduction programs and civil society. The conferences on drug policies that the Polish Drug Policy Network organised in the previous years in different cities was a beneficial civil society initiative to show that drug policy is not only about national governments. Some issues could be solved on the local level. They also trained a lot of municipal authorities and professionals.

Super conservative governments now rule in many countries, but there are liberal city mayors. When the national government is inaccessible, we can go to city authorities. We have been doing this in Hungary, and a lot has been achieved in local governments. Some of them now support harm reduction. One thing we have learned in the past two or three years is that we should focus more on local policies. Harm reduction was born as a grassroots initiative in European cities: Frankfurt, Zürich and others. It has always been a local thing. Possibly, it won’t work in all the Balkan countries, but it does in Hungary and Slovakia. Bratislava has a new city mayor, and Iveta Chovancova, a former member of the Eurasian Harm Reduction Association’s Steering Committee, now works for the city administration and helps promote harm reduction programs from the inside. The next harm reduction conference will be held in Prague, and I see the city also supports this conference.

Could you talk more about the Roma population and drug use in the region. I understand it’s a big problem.

I wrote an article about this some time ago that sums up the scope for this issue. There are large Roma populations in Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Serbia and Bulgaria. In Hungary, for example, seven percent of the population is Roma. Most of them are likely unemployed and don’t have access to essential services, suffer from segregation in schools and places they live in.

The situation is similar in other countries with large Roma populations. Even though drug policies claim to be colour-blind, but there is racial profiling in the region. When we speak about this, we usually think about the US and Afro Americans and Latino Americans, but we don’t talk about what is happening in our region. We don’t talk about the trauma of people who have a much greater chance to be arrested for drug use and be imprisoned. You can see in many cities across the region that nine out of ten people in needle exchange centres are Roma. We don’t have enough studies and research about this, but Roma constitute a big part of the poor. Sometimes existing programs don’t reach out to these communities because they operate in city centres, while these people live in segregated areas. And if you don’t have culturally appropriate outreach programs to bring help to their part of the city, you don’t even see them. They become completely invisible. I think we need to work more on this. If we researched how much Hep C or HIV affect these populations, we would indeed find that they are disproportionately affected.

What about other groups, like women or young people or men who have sex with men? Are there any specific services for these groups in the region?

I see very few services targeting these populations. The only needle and syringe program for women in Hungary was closed in 2014. The research on women done last year by Zsuzsa Kaló in Hungary found that the country’s treatment system is not friendly to women and don’t always meet their needs, especially if children are involved. Women don’t have a place to leave their children when they go to services. There is also the problem of domestic violence. If their partners are also drug users, women don’t always want to go to the same service. Women are pretty much dependent on their partner for assistance and getting drugs.

Most specific services target sex-workers. They sometimes overlap, of course. Only one program in Hungary provides shelter and services explicitly for pregnant women who use drugs. It’s similar in other countries, I think. The only exception could be migrants and refugees, which is a massive issue in Balkans now. I’ve heard about programs that go to refugee camps for HIV and Hep C testing or reach out to drug users.

What about young people who use drugs? Do any programs address their needs? 

In my experience, most such organisations are set up and operated by young people who are party drug users. Therefore, all their services are linked to the party scene. I don’t see the same for marginalised injecting drug users. Youth organisations are mostly for psychedelic drug users. I have always admired this organisation in Belorussia Legalize Belarus. In a country like Belarus, it’s impressive. These idealistic young people do good things, but they are not harm reduction service providers.

Let’s talk about some specific services, like the opioid agonist treatment (OAT). Are there any problems with take-home dosages, mandatory drug checks? 

In most countries, maybe except the Czech Republic and Slovenia, the main issue has always been accessing services. But with the shrinking number of opiate users in some countries as Hungary, the situation is changing. Still, regulations are very restrictive. Many people are pushed to detox or are not able to access the type of therapy they prefer, e.g., they are forced to take Suboxone when they want methadone or buprenorphine. Sometimes these decisions are not based on the needs of clients but are dictated by agreements between pharmaceutical companies and service providers. Many clients in Hungary were not happy when services switched from pills to liquid methadone.

OAT programs sometimes feel like very rigid systems that are more serving the people who are providing the service rather than those who receive it. Because of these restrictions, some people opt to get a prescription from doctors to buy the therapy they want in pharmacies. But there are not many of them; only those who can afford this. Most still get their treatment from state- or NGO-run programs. I think that the COVID-19 pandemic can change this rigidness, help break down these barriers. We hear that the rules are changing in many countries now, and people are allowed take-home dosages for more extended periods of time.

Is there any difference in terms of quality of services or clients between NGO- and state-run substitution clinics?

Most state-run clinics I have visited in the region are in hospitals. They are approachable for those who live in cities. With NGOs, it’s a mixed picture, but they are less prevalent. For example, in Hungary, I think only one or two NGOs do that. In most other countries, especially in the Balkans, it is still very much doctors in white coats in hospitals.

Do clients prefer NGO-run sites?

I never asked clients this specific question but think that they would much rather go to a drop-in centre rather than to a clinical, sterile, bureaucratic setting that is not user friendly and has this kind of authoritarian atmosphere. A lot of people are queuing in these hospitals, and there are conflicts. The black market for methadone is a considerable problem in many countries. Dealing happens near these large hospitals. We had a lot of reports about people robbed by some violent gangs after leaving a hospital, who take their methadone. I think it is safer and more friendly to have decentralised OAT centres. It would also be great if general practitioners or psychiatrist could prescribe methadone to be obtained in pharmacies.

Why do you think it’s so hard to scale up these services? 

Again, I think it’s more an ideological rather than a financial barrier. Many governments say that there is not enough money. I don’t think it’s the issue. When governments start to prioritise, they always find the money. But these issues are not something that politicians can gain political capital with; they are not popular. They cannot sell it as a political product. It’s similar to renovating prisons. They can say that money is spent to build new jails to put more people into them, but not that the new jails are more humane for inmates.

Why do you think it’s so politicised? We’re speaking about health issues. 

Because drug use is a moral issue, many don’t perceive it as a public health issue like diabetes. Most people still condemn drug use, stigmatise it. I don’t think this attitude would much change if drugs were legalised. This label would remain because people perceive that it is drug users’ fault: You are morally inferior if you use drugs, and you don’t deserve to receive this funding because you are less than me. I am a normal person, pay my taxes, but you don’t. Why do you deserve more? Why shouldn’t we give the money to kindergartens? Alcoholism is perceived as part of our culture, but drugs are viewed as something alien.

What about barriers to services and their quality? 

As I have mentioned, restrictive rules primarily prevent people from being admitted to programmes. Also, people are often prescribed very low doses. And we know that insufficient quantities don’t work. We have been trying to change this in Hungary for a long time without real success. Some responsive doctors prescribe sufficient doses, but most of them are very conservative, with the abstinence-minded mentality, who push people to reduce their dose. Another issue is limited slots for substitution treatment. Of course, it’s different in each country. In Hungary, if hospitals admit more people, they must cover these expenses from their budget, they do not receive this normative fund from the state budget. That’s why there are waiting lists. People must undergo one or two unsuccessful attempts to quit, and only then they are admitted into programs. But it depends on doctors—their attitudes remain the most significant barrier.

What about polydrug use? If you’re a polydrug user, can you enter the program?

It also depends on the doctor. Some programs require urine tests, and you can be kicked out if you use other substances. A good professional with a normal mindset would not kick out someone just because he or she smoked marijuana. It depends on the professionalism and humanity of doctors.

What about the quality of services? How comprehensive are they? 

Most hospitals conduct motivational interviews for people who want to quit and have ties to rehabilitation centres. OAT programs are often accused of being “pill meals.” But it’s not true. Most programs are making serious efforts. I have never seen an OAT that kicks you out because you refuse to go to group meetings or counselling. If clients don’t need this type of personal interaction and just want to pick up their medicine, they can go to a substitution clinic without having interactions with any other services for years. But if you want, there are possibilities.

Are there groups of OAT clients who advocate for the improvement of the quality and coverage of services?

This area is very underdeveloped, and there are very few groups like that. This is one of the critical problems in our region that service providers don’t make much efforts to encourage community involvement. Mostly because it would need additional financial, time and energy investments. You need to have resources and capacities to do this. Advocacy organisations can’t do this alone. But if you are a service provider, I think it could be done with the training of peer leaders. Some young people organisations are working in the field of psychedelics or cannabis, but not with marginalised communities.

Governments don’t adequately implement monitoring mechanisms. The Czech Republic has some kind of quality accreditation for drug prevention programs, but not for harm reduction. I don’t see any significant efforts to monitor and evaluate these programs.

Why do you think there are no working monitoring mechanisms? It would make sense because the governments fund them. 

Countries have different protocols. But again, it requires money to implement them. The first thing governments should recognise is that it’s also their responsibility to ensure that these programs operate according to quality standards. Professional guidelines in Hungary foresee that each harm reduction program needs to employ at least two half-time workers and a professional worker. There are standards for the professional education of these people. But it is not enough to pay their salaries from the funds the government provides to these programs. It’s a contradiction: the professional guidelines say that you need to have this and that, but there are no resources. When governments don’t provide sufficient budgets for these services, they will not pay attention to the quality evaluation because they know that it is impossible to achieve the standards with existing resources. Harm reduction programs are happy if they can produce base salaries for the staff and for the safe disposal of needles, which requires a lot of money. They don’t have money for extra services, like psychologists or gynaecologists. It’s a resource issue.

Can you talk more about the new psychoactive substances and amphetamine-type stimulants?

The primary stimulant in our regions is still amphetamine. But the new psychoactive stimulants are also coming, especially in Poland, Hungary, Romania. In Slovakia and the Czech Republic, pervitin (methamphetamine) prevails. In Hungary, most injecting drug users use cathinone-type new stimulants. The trend of synthetic cannabinoid use can be seen in many countries: in prisons, among homeless or Roma people. Most marginalised groups massively turn to synthetic cannabinoids because they are cheap, readily available, and they just knock you out: you don’t feel the pain and suffering of everyday life. It’s an “ideal” drug for the poor. These new synthetic stimulants and cannabinoids are dealt with separately, not in one group.

And what about overdose prevention and access to naloxone? 

In most countries, naloxone cannot be taken home or distributed because of the protocols allowing only a professional doctor to administer it. It’s only available in emergency units, and nasal naloxone is missing entirely. I don’t see any real efforts to introduce naloxone, maybe only in the Baltics, in Estonia, not in other countries. When we had the heroin crises about ten years ago, service providers advocated for naloxone, but not anymore. I don’t think that it is a part of any advocacy efforts.

What is happening with drug use and harm reduction in prisons? Is there any new research about these issues? 

The prison issue is still a white spot in most countries. No OATs exist in Hungarian prisons. But even in the countries where they do, access to them is very low. Needle exchange is absent entirely. Most prisons don’t address drug issues at all, sometimes provide some counselling, Narcotics Anonymous or something like that. Prisoners increasingly use new psychoactive substances because it’s much easier to smuggle them in and it is much more difficult to test them. Prisoners were banned from receiving postcards in Hungarian prisons because there were many instances when they were soaked in drugs. Letters to prisoners are now xeroxed. Sending tobacco is also not allowed because cigarettes were often infused with cannabinoids. I think that synthetic cannabinoid issue is the biggest problem in prisons where the use of new psychoactive substances is widespread among the population. The rate of people incarcerated because of drug use in our region is not very high, but laws are very restrictive, sentences are disproportionately severe, and alternatives to incarceration are underdeveloped and underused, even if they exist in laws.

Is there a problem with legal help for people who use drugs and interact with law enforcement? 

In some countries, such as Poland, this is a problem of training law enforcement. The legal framework for alternatives exists, but judges and prosecutors don’t use it. I know that the Polish Drug Policy Network has made efforts to train judges and prosecutors. In Hungary, the law allows people to opt for six months in an outpatient program in the case of small amounts. About 90 per cent of people who are sent to this program are occasional cannabis users who don’t need any treatment. Even if one of these alternatives exists, there are no real filters in place, like in Portugal, when only problematic cases are referred to treatment. There is no need to treat those who don’t need this.

My last question is about hepatitis C, HIV and TB treatments. What are the major problems?

After the HIV outbreak in Romania, we didn’t see more outbreaks in the region. Testing and counselling are still very low, especially in some countries like Hungary. Even if people are tested positive, how to ensure that they go to treatment? With the new hepatitis C treatment, there is some money from the big pharmaceutical companies, which is a positive thing. In Slovakia, they gave some money for harm reduction organisations to help drug users to get into hepatitis C treatment. It also later happened in Hungary. The biggest problem is in those countries where there is no harm reduction, or its coverage is limited, like Hungary or the Balkans, where it is hard to get treatment for these people. I wonder how many people, who were infected with Hep C five or six years ago, will develop cirrhosis or even die needlessly when they could otherwise be saved? This is devastating to see.

Grants: Community-led research on client satisfaction with OST services

EHRA invites community-led groups interested in conducting the study on client satisfaction with opioid maintenance treatment based on EHRA’s methodology and in cooperation with professional researchers to submit their project proposals.

Community-led monitoring has a critical role in identifying and effectively addressing issues and bottlenecks in reaching, connecting and retaining people along the prevention and treatment continuums and improving the quality of care. Information gathered within the monitoring can be leveraged by users/communities to help understand, explain, justify and specify within their advocacy the changes that have to be made. The proposed methodology will help assess the quality of services, clients’ perception of OST program and their quality of life.

Two successful candidates will receive 8500 USD on research related activities. Selected candidates will:

  • Work closely with researchers on methodology adaptation to the country context
  • Recruit interviewers and study participants
  • Participate in data analysis and development of the report and recommendations
  • Present the research to the relevant stakeholders

Implementation period:

  • March 1, 2021 – November 30, 2021

This call for proposals is organized within the  “Thinking outside the box: overcoming challenges in community advocacy for sustainable and high-quality HIV services” project of the Eurasian Regional Consortium financed by the Robert Carr civil society Networks Fund (RCF).

The Eurasian Regional Consortium joins the efforts of Eurasian Coalition on Health, Rights, Gender and Sexual Diversity (ECOM), Eurasian Women’s AIDS Network (EWNA) and Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA) to effectively address the lack of financial sustainability in prevention, treatment, care and support programs for the key populations vulnerable in terms of their rights violation and the risk of HIV.

Eligibility criteria:

  • Officially registered community-based organization working in drug policy and harm reduction
  • Initiative group working in drug policy and harm reduction that has financial agent registered in one of the project countries
  • Civil society organization working closely and in the interests of the community of people who use drugs

Selection criteria:

The submitted applications will be evaluated by the selection committee of the Eurasian Harm Reduction Association. The following criteria will be used to evaluate the bids (the maximum possible number of points is 100):

  • Problem statement and understanding the situation with opioid maintenance treatment in country / city (50 points)
  • Experience in community-led research or monitoring (40 points)
  • The group/organization is delegated by, accountable to and/or led by the community of people who use drugs (10 points)

How to apply

Applicants must submit the following documents to maria@harmreductioneurasia.org, the subject of the letter is “Call CLM”, the deadline for submission is before 24:00 EET on February 26, 2021:

  1. Application form
  2. Organizational registration document
  3. Memorandum of cooperation (in case of working through financial agent)

EHRA is looking for a consultant to update „Criminalization Costs“ data

The Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA) as a part of the three years project of the International Harm Reduction Consortium “We Will Not End AIDS Without Harm Reduction” is looking for a consultant to collect and update information on „Criminalization costs“ in 27 countries[1] in CEECA region.

Tasks of the consultant and expected results:

·        To identify list of national focal points in 27 countries, who will support consultant in finding data needed for the update of the „Criminalization costs“.

·        To do a desk review in international and national reports and interviews to receive needed data in each country (with references) on the following indicators:

                           I.          The costs of incarceration:

1.      Number of prisoners

2.      Number of prisoners for drug law offences

3.      Average sentence for drug law offences

4.      HIV prevalence in prisons

5.      OST in prisons (YES/NO)

6.      ART in prisons (YES/NO)

7.      NSP in prisons (YES/NO)

8.      The costs of incarceration (per prisoner/ per year)

                          II.          The costs of health and social services:

1.      Number of PWID in the country

2.      HIV prevalence among PWID

3.      NSP price (per client/ per year)

4.      OST price (per client/ per year)

5.      Unemployment benefit (minimum) (per year or per month)

·        To write short summaries about each country, based on the collected data and prepare it for EHRA website. Example of the summary can be seen here.

Proposed timeline:

All tasks should be completed in the period from 8th March till 30th May, 2021.

Evaluation criteria

The submitted applications will be evaluated by the selection committee of the Eurasian Harm Reduction Association

A two-stage procedure will be utilized in evaluating the proposals:

·        evaluation of the previous experience (portfolio) via technical criteria – 80% in total evaluation

·        comparison of the costs (best value for money) – 20% in total evaluation.

Cost evaluation is only undertaken for technical submissions that score a minimum 70 points out of a maximum of 100 as a requirement to pass the technical evaluation. A proposal which fails to achieve the minimum technical threshold will not be considered further.

To assess submitted applications, the following technical criteria will be used (80%):

·        Experience in carrying out desk researches (data collection) in the harm reduction and drug policy field, develepment of technical reports and documentation on drug use issues (40 points)

·        Wide range of contacts on regional level to identify list of national focal points to collect information (40 points)

·        Literate written English and/or Russian (20 points)

Cost proposal (20%):

EHRA will allocate same importance to the provided portfolio and recorded experience as to the cost of the services. The cost proposal will be evaluated in terms of best value-for money to EHRA in EUR, price and other factors considered.

Condition

This announcement and its attachments shall not be construed as a contract or a commitment of any kind. This request for proposals in no way obligates EHRA to award a contract, nor does it commit EHRA to pay any cost incurred in the preparation and submission of the proposals.

Terms of payment and other conditions same as a final timeline will be indicated in the agreement which EHRA will sign with the winner.

How to apply

The candidates are invited to submit their:

·        CV

·        Letter of interest with the suggested consultancy fee for all work and

·        Suggested national focal points list

by e-mail referenced under title “Criminalization costs consultant” to Eliza Kurcevic at eliza@harmreductioneurasia.org by 23rd February 2021, 24:00 EET.

Results will be announced by 1st March 2021. Each candidate will be contacted individually.

Any questions regarding the participation should be sent to eliza@harmreductioneurasia.org


[1] Countries: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Tajikistan, Ukraine.

TENDER: PROVISION OF GRAPHIC DESIGN AND LAYOUT

EXTENDED! Deadline for submission: March 7, 2021

EHRA is looking for companies, design studios or graphic designing freelancers to develop graphic design layouts and other presentation materials such as brochures, posters, reports, analytical materials, books, briefs and design infographics and illustrations. Most of the EHRA publications are digital, published in Russian and English for different audiences, include text material, tables, illustrative material.

Set of works on development of graphic design layouts and presentation materials consists of:

– development of design concepts, taking into account the requirements of corporate identity (brand book), which includes in particular: the presentation of the plot and stylistic series, options of text material layout, the interaction of text and illustration material, finalizing the approved concept based on the EHRA’s comments;

– preparation of original layouts and digital page making, which includes: graphic design, layout of pages within the approved concept, creation/purchase of rights to illustrative / photo materials, corresponding to the approved concept, preparation of the necessary illustrative material, creation of pictograms, creation of infographics, proof-reading, preparation of digital or printing files.

EHRA’s publications examples here à https://harmreductioneurasia.org/library/

Working conditions:

Distance work using own facilities: computer, stable access to the Internet.

Consultancy agreement without social insurance for one year starting from March 2021.

Requirements for companies:

  • Working experience (at least 1-year, good business reputation in this sector of activity, as well as the necessary manpower and technical resources to fulfill obligations under the contract).
  • A strong portfolio of graphic designing project and layouts;

Requirements for freelancers:

  • At least 1+ year of experience as a graphic designer;
  • A strong portfolio of graphics projects; reports layout in particular;
  • Professional user of design software like Photoshop, Sketch, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign;
  • Good taste;
  • Proven understanding of current visual and social trends reflected in portfolio;
  • Ability to meet deadlines in a high pressure environment;
  • Intermediate or higher level of English and Russian;
  • Good organizational skills, strong attention to detail, strive for perfection.

 Interested participants should provide:

  • Cover letter with described previous work experience in arbitrary form;
  • Updated CV outlining specific relevant experience and skills (for freelancers only);
  • portfolio of works
  • price offer (in EUR) for the following graphic design categories:
  1. Design report layout: A4 format, development of at least 2 variants of cover page, typical text pages, illustration pages, half-title. Creation of the grid, design and layout of 40 pages, drawing of illustrations, purchase of illustrative- and photo-materials with transfer of rights to the EHRA. Finalization (including proofreading in English or Russian) of the concept according to the EHRA’s comments. Use this publication as reference to estimate number of illustrations – https://harmreductioneurasia.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/2020_8_20_EHRA_NPS-Report_Georgia_EN-1.pdf
  2. Design poster: A0 format, development of at least 2 variants of grid, design, and layout, rendering of illustrations, purchase of illustrative material and photo materials with transfer of rights to the EHRA. Finalization of the concept according to the EHRA’s comments.
  3. Design infographic (per one).

NB! If you don’t have a relevant experience in some of the above mention categories, please, skip it and don’t put any cost of that category in the form.

 

Special conditions

Participants should ensure the cost of the work specified in the application for a period of no less than 14 months from the date of the tender.

Based on the results of the tender, the winners will be invited to sign 2-year long contracts. Further work will be carried out according to EHRA request, which will specify the time frame and other specific terms.

Submission of documents for participation in the tender does not impose on EHRA obligations to conclude a contract.

Documents should be sent to:  Igor Gordon igor@harmreductioneurasia.org

Deadline for submission: March 7, 2021