Andrey Rylkov Founation will be able to continue its harm reduction work with the help of the ViiV Healthcare’s Positive Action Harm Reduction HIV Challenge Award

Starting November 1, 2020 Andrey Rylkov Foundation for Health and Social Justice (ARF) will be able to continue its harm reduction services in Moscow through the Positive Action Harm Reduction HIV Challenge award by ViiV Healthcare.

While funding for HIV prevention work in key populations became almost impossible to secure either through international or domestic sources, we are happy that we will be able to continue our work. ARF received the Positive Action Challenge Grand Award in the amount of 75 000 GBP in June 2020. The decision to award ARF was announced at a Virtual AIDS-2020 Conference the same month. Positive Action Challenges seek to find innovative solutions to a particular issue or challenge. The Harm Reduction Challenge sought innovative ideas for community or peer-led initiatives or programmes that provide comprehensive, innovative and accessible harm reduction services at the community level for people who inject drugs.

Winners of the Positive Action Harm Reduction Challenge enact community or peer-led approaches to non-stigmatising, inclusive and comprehensive harm reduction and HIV care. Approaches like these help to meaninfully engage and involve people who inject drugs and help to address the rising HIV epidemic in the community,“ said Jennifer Carpenter, ViiV Healthcare Positive Action Breakthrough Manager.

The award will help ARF cover core harm reduction services to people who inject drugs on the streets of Moscow and keep exploring ways to improve key populations access to HIV prevention and treatment by placing more focus on mental health support, with a specific objectives to:

  • continue ARF daily outreach work on the streets of Moscow providing comprehensive services on HIV, HCV, overdose prevention, human rights redress, legal aid and mental health support;
  • ensure the accessibility of PWID to case management on the issues of health and rights;
  • expand the access of HIV-positive people to ARV treatment by improving mental health support systems;
  • develop and pilot the monitoring and evaluation system that would integrate the health and human rights indicators.

The Andrey Rylkov Foundation is a grass-roots organization based in Moscow working since 2009. Our mission is to promote and develop humane drug policy based on tolerance, protection of health, dignity and human rights. In advancing its mission, ARF engages in 5 key strategies:

  • direct service provision on the streets, including health and legal aid;
  • advocacy and public campaigns;
  • human rights monitoring and documentation;
  • strategic litigation;
  • PWUD community systems strengthening

While the award will help to cover essential services and staff, ARF donor funding for harm reduction has decreased by 40% in 2021. We are compensating with the ever growing contribution of our amazing volunteers network and through crowdfunding. We therefore use this opportunity to thank once again our volunteers and supporters for providing key support to our activities which becomes even more essential in these challenging times. 

How to exhibit about harm reduction at music festival

Harm reduction at music festivals – it is not a new practice for Europe. However, here, in CEECA region, we are just making first steps towards implementation of such practices in condition of criminalization of drug possession and distribution. This year at one of the small festivals in Lithuania, our team joined the initiative and now we are ready to share a few impressions. “Say know” instead of “say no” to drugs was our motto during the YAGA festival, which took place on August 6-10 in Lithuania.

The participants of the festival, regardless of whether they use psychoactive substances or not, were very interested in any information on how to protect themselves and others in different situations related to the consumption and different sexual practices.  What do we need to know to reduce the risk or harm from substance use?

– You need to know what you use. With legal substances, the quality of the product has been tested and licensed by the government. In the case of illegal substances, you can not trust what drug dealers say. Drug testing is a key approach to harm reduction. It would be ideal to analyze the content of different substances in a drug, but so far only a couple of countries in Europe have offered such testing . In the context of the festival, it is possible to carry out reagent tests, when a person can test by himself or herself whether the substance declared by the seller is in a tablet or powder, some tests also make it possible to determine the purity of the substance. After taking several tests, a person will be able to find out if there are any other substances in the tablets.

– You need to know the health risks and consequences of using psychoactive substances in different ways and know remember reduction measures to prevent the risks. EHRA team at the exhibition of harm reduction tools showed visitors what items can help to reduce the health risks of smoking, oral, injected, or rectal use.

– You need to know how to prevent overdose or how to make human life safer in the event of an overdose. And while the use of naloxone is recommended for opioid drugs, there are no such simple overdose prevention methods for stimulants.  

What is important is that the team has agreed in advance with the festival organizers, local authorities, the police, and medical services on all harm reduction activities. Any talk about drugs, peer counseling, or a seminar on drugs initially frightens the organizers, as if the conversation itself was propaganda for use. In Lithuania, the Be safe lab project has been running for several years now at the most popular music festivals, in cooperation with the Drug, Tobacco, and alcohol control department and the Coalition “I can live”. Thanks to this project, festival participants have access to information about the harm caused by different substances, especially if they are mixed, and have an opportunity to receive professional medical (psychological and drug treatment) assistance in case of problems. Such partnership facilitated our activity at the festival.

Information about the safe combination of drugs, harm reduction measures for different ways of use, reducing the risk of overdose, and assistance with the unpleasant consequences of drug use (what is called a bad trip, when psychosis, paranoid conditions, etc.) – these topics mostly were in demand among festival participants. It was important that professional help and support in case of problems related to the use of this drug was available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week right at the festival. Our partners from Demetra during the festival provided the opportunity for those wishing to be tested for HIV, as well as free consultations on safe sex and receive condoms and lubricants.

One of popular spots in the festival camp was EHRA’s equipment exhibition “HARM REDUCTION TOOLS”. The wooden stand demonstrated different examples of the tools used to reduce harm was placed with short explanation – for what drug is it used and what health harm it could prevent. Different drug use equipment like smoking kits, snorting kits, booty bumping, tools for oral administration of drugs, injecting equipment, reagents for the drug checking were presented. 

In total, around 15-20 different tools from traditional needles and syringes, condoms and lubricants to overdose preventing medication such as nasal naloxone, other tools of safety such as tests for drug checking and gelatine capsules. During several hours per day one of the EHRA volunteers guided festival participants on what was presented on the stand as well as provided with additional explanation on harm reduction approaches and tools used all around the globe and in Lithuania.

The idea with harm reduction exhibition worked out well, a lot of people came to the stand, listened to the "lecturer", asked questions and took reagent tests and gelatine capsules. People said that they feel "enlightened" and that this project is very useful and important. Our colleagues from Demetra and Be Safe Lab also learned a lot and proposed to repeat this exhibition at future events.
Maria Plotko
Senior Program Officer, exhibition co-creator

Also this year EHRA team organized a seminar “Sex, Drugs and Harm Reduction” to tell festival visitors more about harm reduction, safe use of psychoactive substances and about protection in “chemsex”.

The last but, not least initiative was the distribution of reagent tests for those who wanted to check psychoactive substances. This action was important in term of local approach to the harm reduction as in Lithuania on-site drug checking is not allowed (criminalized).

Despite the late hour quite big group of people came to the workshop on Sex, Drugs and Harm reduction there was a problem with loud music and no lightning but people stayed anyway, surprisingly asked a lot of questions about naloxone
Maria Plotko
Senior Program Officer, exhibition co-creator

Harm reduction during music festivals and events, introduction of harm reduction tools for non-injection use into harm reduction programs, integration of substance testing in CEECA countries – all these tasks are faced by EHRA in advocacy. Based on the practical experience of consulting during the festival, the team will act more effectively in future activities.

It was a pleasure for the EHRA team and for me personally to hear from young people from around the world, Lithuania, Poland, Latvia, Estonia, Finland that our exhibition of harm reduction tools was useful. Many people, while looking at simple tools, immediately discussed how and where to buy gelatin capsules or substance tests. Health and safety are very important to everyone we talked to, and harm reduction programs are an opportunity to know and understand more about your safety and well-being. It is a pity that harm reduction organizations in the Eurasia region rarely have the full range of resources to help people who use drugs. Sometimes there is nothing else but a simple syringe, condom, and HIV information material. But the topic of quality and range of harm reduction services in our region is definitely much broader than our visit to one music festival with an exhibition and seminar.
Ganna Dovbakh
EHRA Executive Director

“…Natasha believed till the very end that everything was going to be resolved. Her tears and crying when the ruling was read, when Artur was taken… It was horrible.”

In accordance with the Decree No.18 of the President of Belarus “children are subject to state protection and placement in state care in the event it is established that their parents do not properly fulfill their obligations for the children’s upbringing and support, and therefore such children are deemed to be in a socially dangerous situation (SOP)”[1].

Continue reading ““…Natasha believed till the very end that everything was going to be resolved. Her tears and crying when the ruling was read, when Artur was taken… It was horrible.””

A review of legislative initiatives on the liability of drug-related advocacy (propaganda) in Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan during the second half of 2019 and early 2020 and possible risks for social programmes aimed at working with people who use drugs

A number of countries in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) region have recently seen a tendency to adopt legislative initiatives aimed at strengthening measures to combat drug-related advocacy (“propaganda”), particularly on the Internet, and toughening the liability for such propaganda.

Continue reading “A review of legislative initiatives on the liability of drug-related advocacy (propaganda) in Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan during the second half of 2019 and early 2020 and possible risks for social programmes aimed at working with people who use drugs”

Workshop materials “Community-led monitoring of satisfaction with services“

THREE monitoring tools are available to your attention: “Secret client“, “Access to sexual and reproductive health services”, “Community-led monitoring of the satisfaction with OST programs“, and #Life hacks from research practitioners (in Russian).

Key principles and international agreements on the organization of medical services

The challenge to health systems is to ensure that engagement with patients and the population is at the heart of all policies and strategies for quality improvement, and that this commitment is translated into meaningful actions. In accordance to this task health systems should take actions to improve health literacy, self-care, and patient satisfaction with the services received. WHO. 2006.

Presentation on the community-led monitoring and international documents (in Russian):

Practical tools for conducting community-led monitoring of programs quality and satisfaction as well as using its results for advocacy

“Secret Client“, adapted for assessing government services by the Eurasian Coalition on Male Health

 

Presentation: “Quality services without tags“ (in Russian)

Guidance on the “secret client” methodology for assessing the quality of service in the field of HIV prevention and treatment among MSM and trans people (in Russian)

“Access to sexual and reproductive health services”, developed by the Eurasian Women’s Network on AIDS

Presentation: “Sexual and reproductive health“ (methodology in Russian) 

Presentation: “Study history and results“ (in Russian)           

Report: “Rights of Women Living with HIV in Ukraine“ (2019) in Russian

“Community-led monitoring of the satisfaction with OST programs”, developed at the request of the Eurasian Harm Reduction Association

Contact person Masha Plotko maria@harmreductioneurasia.org

Workshop on research methods to study quality and satisfaction with services (in Russian)

WHO Quality of Life-BREF, which is a part of the questionnaire for assessing satisfaction with OST

A detailed description of the methodology and the final questionnaire will be issued in late September – early October, after a pilot study in Ukraine. If you want to conduct assessment of satisfaction with OST services in your country, please, write to Olya Belyaeva at olga@harmreductioneurasia.org

The workshop for developing expert skills in monitoring of service quality and satisfaction was conducted with financial support of the Robert Carr civil society Networks Fund (RCNF) within the project “Thinking outside the box: overcoming challenges in community advocacy for sustainable and high-quality HIV services”.

Extended: Tender for a consultant on the collection of data on cases of human rights violations in the Republic of Moldova

The Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA) as part of the three-year multi-country project “Sustainability of Services for Key Populations in Eastern Europe and Central Asia” (#SoS_project), implemented by the Alliance of Public Health Charitable Foundation in consortium with the All-Ukrainian Network of People Living with HIV (100% Life), the Central Asian Association of People Living with HIV and the Eurasian Key populations Health Network, regional networks, governmental and non-governmental organizations, and a number of technical partners, announces an open tender for a consultant to collect data on cases of human rights violations in the Republic of Moldova to implement Objective 2 of the project – to reduce the most important human rights and gender barriers to accessing HIV prevention and care services.

Gathering data on human rights violations among people who use drugs, ensuring follow-up, and reporting to the UN human rights treaty bodies will help remove barriers to access to HIV prevention and care services for people who use drugs in EECA countries. In addition, mentoring and technical assistance to partners from national communities will help build community capacity in collecting data on human rights violations and understanding the follow-up system for its systematic and effective use.

The collection of data on cases of human rights violations among people who use drugs in Moldova will serve as the evidence base for advocating for amendments to existing national legislation aimed at respecting and protecting the rights of people who use drugs, and will become the basis for subsequent submission of reports to the UN human rights treaty bodies.

Tasks of the consultant and expected results:

  1. Conduct semi-structured interviews with:
  • people who have 1 conviction and have served sentences in prison in connection with narcotic drugs (2 minimum);
  • people who have 1 criminal record and received a suspended sentence in connection with narcotic drugs (2 minimum);
  • people who were held accountable, but chose treatment in connection with narcotic drugs (2 minimum);
  • people who have received a fine for storage / use in connection with narcotic drugs (2 minimum);
  • people who have more than one criminal record and have been serving sentences in places of detention in connection with narcotic drugs (2 minimum);
  • people who have more than one criminal record, but have not served their sentences in prison (2 minimum).

Selection of respondents:

  • Respondents should include both men and women;
  • experience in criminal / administrative prosecution over the past 5 years;
  • age 18-50 yearsold.

The interview guidelines will be developed by EHRA jointly with the selected consultant. A representative of EHRA will assist in conducting the interview (travel to Moldova).

  1. According to the form provided by EHRA for each interview, make a brief description with the most striking quotes.
  2. Prepare a general descriptive report with general trends and citations of 5-10 pages maximum. In addition to the information gathered as a result of the interview, the report should include:
  • Statistics by type of punishment (fines, terms and for how much);
  • How the size of fines relates to average income, minimum wage.

Timeline:

  1. The first draft of the report – by October 20, 2019;
  2. The final report, taking into account comments from EHRA, – by November 15, 2019.

Consultant Requirements:

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):

  1. Knowledge of Russian and Romanian languages (20 points);
  2. Relevant work experience, knowledge and experience in the field of harm reduction are an advantage (the application must contain documents or links to transcripts of interviews and / or analytical reports prepared by the applicant) (45 points);
  3. Literate written Russian or English (15 points);
  4. Work plan with stages and deadlines (20 points).

The cost of work:

The amount of the contract may not exceed $ 1,000 (paid upon completion of work and the provision of a final report to EHRA).

How to apply

Applicants must submit their CV and application (letter of interest) in free form to maria@harmreductioneurasia.org, the subject of the letter is “Consultant Moldova”, the deadline for submission is before 24:00 EET on September 10, 2019. 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 and the timing of their implementation.

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.
  • The winner of the competitive selection agrees to provide confirmation of their daily rates before signing the contract.
  • 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.

If you have any questions or need clarification regarding this ToR, please contact Maria Plotko at maria@harmreductioneurasia.org no later than September 07, 2019.

ToR for a Consultant.

Техническое задание для консультанта по сбору данных о случаях нарушениях прав человека в Республике Молдова

Евразийская ассоциация снижения вреда (ЕАСВ) в рамках трехлетнего мультистранового проекта «Устойчивость сервисов для ключевых групп населения в Восточной Европе и Центральной Азии» (#SoS_project),реализуемого Международным благотворительным фондом «Альянс общественного здоровья» в консорциуме с Всеукраинской сетью людей, живущих с ВИЧ (100% Life), Центральноазиатской ассоциацией людей, живущих с ВИЧ и Сетью здоровья ключевых групп населения Евразии, региональными сетями, правительственными и неправительственными организациями и рядом технических партнеров, проводит открытый конкурс на позицию консультанта по сбору данных о случаях нарушения прав человека в Молдове для реализации цели 2 проекта– снижения наиболее важных правозащитных и гендерных барьеров для доступа к услугам по профилактике и уходу в связи с ВИЧ.

Сбор данных о случаях нарушения прав человека среди людей, употребляющих наркотики, обеспечение последующей реакции и представление докладов договорным органам ООН по правам человека будет способствовать устранению барьеров для доступа к услугам по профилактике и уходу в связи с ВИЧ для людей, употребляющих наркотики в странах ВЕЦА. Кроме того, менторство и техническая помощь партнерам из национальных сообществ будет способствовать наращиванию потенциала сообществ в сборе данных о нарушениях прав человека и понимании системы последующих действий для ее систематического и эффективного использования.

Сбор данных о случаях нарушения прав человека среди людей, употребляющих наркотики, в Молдове послужит доказательной базой при адвокации внесения поправок в действующее национальное законодательство, направленное на соблюдение и защиту прав людей, употребляющих наркотики, и станет основой для последующей подачи докладов договорным органам ООН по правам человека.

Задачи консультанта и ожидаемые результаты:

  1. Провести полуструктурированные интервью с:
  • людьми, которые имеют 1 судимость и отбывали наказание в тюрьме в связи с наркотическими средствами (2 штуки минимум);
  • людьми, которые имеют 1 судимость и получили условный срок в связи с наркотическими средствами (2 штуки минимум);
  • людьми, которые привлекались к ответственности, но выбрали лечение в связи с наркотическими средствами (2 штуки минимум);
  • людьми, получившими штраф за хранение/употребление в связи с наркотическими средствами (2 штуки минимум);
  • людьми, которые имею более одной судимости и отбывали наказание в местах заключения в связи с наркотическими средствами (2 штуки минимум);
  • людьми, которые имеют более одной судимости, но не отбывали наказание в местах заключения в связи с наркотическими средствами (2 штуки минимум).

Отбор респондентов:

  • среди респондентов должны быть и мужчины, и женщины;
  • опыт привлечения к уголовной/административной ответственности в течение последних 5 лет;
  • возраст 18-50 лет.

Руководство для проведения интервью будет разработан ЕАСВ совместно с выбранным консультантом. Представитель ЕАСВ окажет помощь в проведении интервью (выезд в Молдову).

2. По предоставленной ЕАСВ форме по каждому интервью сделать краткое описание с самыми яркими цитатами.

3. Подготовить общий описательный отчет с общими трендами и цитатами на 5-10 страниц максимум. Помимо информации, собранной в результате интервью, отчет должен включать:

  • Статистику по видам наказания (штрафы, сроки и за какое количество);
  • Как размеры штрафов соотносятся со средним доходом, размером минимальной заработной платы.

Сроки выполнения работ:

  1. Первый черновик отчета – 20 октября 2019;
  2. Финальный отчет, с учетом комментариев со стороны ЕАСВ – 15 ноября 2019.

Требования к консультанту:

Представленные конкурсные заявки будут оцениваться отборочной комиссией Евразийской ассоциации снижения вреда. Для оценки конкурсных заявок будут использоваться следующие критерии (максимально возможное количество баллов – 100):

  1. Знание русского и румынского языков (20 баллов);
  2. Соответствующий опыт работы, знания и опыт в области снижения вреда являются преимуществом (в заявке должны быть представлены документы или ссылки на транскрипты интервью и/или аналитические отчеты, подготовленные претендентом) (45 баллов);
  3. Грамотный письменный русский или английский (15 баллов);
  4. План работ и сроки (20 баллов).

Стоимость работ:

Не может превышать 1000 долларов США (выплачивается по окончании работ и предоставлению ЕАСВ финального отчета).

Как подать заявку:

Кандидатам необходимо предоставить свое резюме и заявку (письмо о заинтересованности) в свободной форме по адресу maria@harmreductioneurasia.org, тема письма – “Consultant  Moldova, крайний срок подачи – до 24:00 EET 25 августа 2019 года. Резюме и заявка должны четко отражать компетентность кандидата, необходимую для выполнения этой задачи, а также включать предлагаемое количество рабочих дней по каждому этапу и сроки их реализации.

Общие условия:

Заинтересованным консультантам необходимо обратить внимание на следующие условия:

  • ЕАСВ подпишет договор с победителем конкурсного отбора. В договоре будет определен подробный план работы и условия оплаты.
  • Победитель конкурсного отбора обязуется предоставить подтверждение своих дневных расценок до подписания договора.
  • ЕАСВ оставляет за собой право (но не связывает себя обязательствами) вступить в переговоры с одним или несколькими заявителями с целью получения разъяснений или дополнительных сведений, а также для согласования предлагаемых расценок.

Если у вас возникли какие-либо вопросы или вам необходимы разъяснения относительно данного ТЗ, пожалуйста, свяжитесь с Марией Плотко по адресу maria@harmreductioneurasia.org не позднее 20 августа 2019 года.

Техническое задание для консультанта.

Visiting EHRA: ENPUD’s Secretariat with internship in Vilnius

On August 7–9, 2019, an internship was held for the staff of the ENPUD’s Secretariat in the EHRA office.

The purpose of the internship was to build the structural work of the ENPUD’s Secretariat and to establish effective collaboration between the ENPUD’s and EHRA’s Secretariats. The internship was conducted by briefing participants on the internal processes and procedures of the EHRA as a financial agent of ENPUD, which affect the activities of ENPUD. In the future, the model of the EHRA’s work as a recognized leader in promoting ideas and mechanisms for harm reduction in the EECA region should become the basis for the activities of ENPUD in the framework of work with the community.

Here are just a few of the topics that we discussed and brought to the level of skills together with EHRA staff:

  • 7 basic principles of NGO financial management: consistency, accountability, transparency, sustainability, integrity, oversight, and accounting standards.
  • Grant funds: basic concepts, who gives, where they come from, how to spend them.
  • Procurement standard.
  • Principles of wage formation and wage regulation.
  • Organization of events: from a memo to the departure of participants.
  • Regulation on the ENPUD’s Secretariat and many other topics.

Tatyana Kochetkova, ENPUD Program Coordinator: “What are the two keywords I would describe an internship at EHRA?? Scrupulousness and Privilege… Meticulousness is a characteristic of how the EHRA’s material was prepared and provided. Each section, each topic is presented from below, from above, from the side, from the inside, and in perspective. Everywhere … The privilege is in getting everything we want now, the entire EHRA resource at our services, on request, any topic, like the possibility of ensuring the quality of our product when we gain organizational and financial independence … Thank you, colleagues! ”

Aidana Fedosik, portfolio project manager of the ENPUD: “The internship at EHRA was conducted in very warm atmosphere. It was very tight and informative, very professional, clear and concise. The internship is over, but our joint activities continue. It was very productive. Three days of mentoring without moralizing, feedback without criticism, and acceptance without connivance. As a result we take home the answers to hundreds and hundreds of our questions as well as clear outcomes of the internship. Ganna Dovbakh, Tanya Fomicheva, Harry Gordon, Olga Belyaeva, Vika Semionova, Irena Zubkova – you are great professionals! Someone will thank you for appreciation of our work. And I will say thank you for setting the bar high. Thank you, EHRA, for knowledge and patience, because it is not easy with us sometimes. We will definitely meet soon!”

The original of the news – Digest of the events of ENPUD’s Secretariat (in Russian).