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”

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).

Extended: Tender for a consultant to collect the official statistical data in the Kyrgyz Republic

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, announce an open tender for a consultant to collect official statistics in Kyrgyzstan 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.

To prepare a report to the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rightson the proportionality of imposed fines for the possession of narcotic drugs, the EHRA is looking for a national consultant to collect official statistical information.

Tasks of the consultant and expected results:

  1. Collect official data, with links to the source:
  • Average salary;
  • Minimum wage;
  • The average unemployment rate across the country and by region, age group and gender;
  • The ability to receive social benefits, their size and inclusion/exclusion criteria;
  • Narcological registration (for what services are needed, what the deregistration procedure is, how open this information is for access to the third parties);
  • Barriers attributed to the presence of criminal and/or narcological records (for employment, education, obtaining a driver’s license, etc.);
  • The cost of rehabilitation services and the opportunity to receive them free of charge;
  • The size of fines for possession of narcotic drugs according to new legislation and the real size of imposed fines according to the court statistics;
  • The number of detainees since the introduction of the law on changing the size of fines for possession of narcotic drugs (for what offence, what punishment, distribution by gender and age if possible).
  1. Analyze the collected data in terms of the proportionality of the fines imposed to the offense and the economic situation in the country, and prepare an analytical 3-5 pages report.

Proposed timeline:

  1. Data gathering – September 30, 2019;
  2. The first draft of the report – October 13, 2019;
  3. The final report, taking into account comments from EHRA – October 31, 2019.

Requirements to Consultant:

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 the Russian and Kyrgyz languages (25 points);
  2. Relevant work experience, knowledge and experience in the field of harm reduction are an advantage (documents or links to analytical materials should be submitted in the application) (50 points);
  3. Literate written Russian or English (25 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 SREPHR”, the deadline for submission is before 24:00 EET on September 4, 2019. The CV and application should clearly reflect the competency of the candidate and number of working days necessary to complete this task.

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 August 31, 2019.

Porto aftertaste: populism, new allies and issue of quality

Author: Ganna Dovbakh, EHRA Executive Director

The International Harm Reduction Conference (HR19) is like a family gathering for us – it’s a regular occasion that we are looks forward to. We are getting ready for it, gathering news to share and dressing up because everyone will be there. New members who only just joined (we need to get to know each other, find common topics of conversation), as well as those we’ve known for a long time, those who only need a supportive hug like “Hang in there, brother, we’ll get through this! Proud of you, sister!”. This event can only nominally be used for advocacy because the politicians, scientists and officials who attend are mostly “our people”. They are instrumental in developing the strongest arguments for the importance of investing in harm reduction and reforming drug policy. Majority are there to share practical approaches, how they developed it, piloted and what recommend for other countries. The three days of the conference encompass everything from birth and love to death.

HR19 was very timely, taking place only a month before EHRA’s strategic planning started. It generated several important ideas not just to mull over or bemoan, but to decide what to do about them in our long-suffering post-Soviet region. I want to share my thoughts here to explore them and to encourage you to reflect on them.

  1. Populism is sweeping the planet

It’s no secret that it’s populist politicians who win elections all over the world. It’s simple – pick a few slogans that would appeal to more than 90% of the population and faithfully promise to fulfil them all (it doesn’t matter if they’re out of your competences, unachievable or would be plain harmful to the country). The majority of population usually support very simple ideas:

– I must hold onto my resources (not share it with poorer territories or groups);

– My country is for me (not for migrants, outsiders and misfits);

– I want higher income and lower spending, and

– I want to feel proud and important.

Populists have no ideology. They include these simple ideas in their campaigns, come up with catchy brands and slogans (like “Brexit”, for example – it’s punchy and simple, and no one even remembers “Remain”), and come to power. After that they must deliver on at least some of their promises. The economic aspirations often prove unrealistic but social policy is one area where it’s possible to exhibit strength and integrity. Marginal groups are minorities, sometimes less than 1%  and politicians could scarify them as  not an important group of voters. That’s when legislative initiatives to limit immigration, repressive drug policy or step up the fight against the so-called “promotion of homosexualism” appear. That’s when populism becomes extremely dangerous for people, for social policy like drug policy and harm reduction services. The masses like slogans about finally putting an end to the problem of drug use, about the need to rehabilitate or jail all the “problem” people. Our region has no tradition of democracy or tolerance towards different ways of life and as a result populism may lead to harassment and persecution.

In such circumstances, as Magdalena Dabkowska perfectly put it, public organizations either “fight, hide or unite”.

We already work well together with LGBT people, sex workers and people living with HIV. We share their vision of threats and goals (as, for example, in the public campaign for decriminalization – http://chasevirus.org/). But this is clearly not enough. We need to get in touch with other “ghettos”, with those whose principles and goals are in tune with ours, with those for whom populism is just as dangerous. Feminist movement, migrants rights protection movement, human rights activists, groups fighting for transparent budgets, democratic elections, inclusive schools and cities. Most likely, their knowledge of drug policy and harm reduction is as superficial as that of the general population, and most likely they don’t want to be associated with those issues. But we should all unite in the face of the common threat.

Here’s the famous quote of the pastor Martin Niemöller:

“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me”.

It’s clear that if we don’t speak out about the Istanbul Convention, if we don’t support the LGBT rights movement, then very soon the response to HIV and provision of services to people who use drugs will stop being a health and safety issue but become an issue for political opposition.

  1. «There’re only a few of us left, us and our pain…»

At the political summit organized by UNITE before the conference, Miriam Aroni Krimsky, director of Fair and Just Prosecution from the United States, said: “I feel less depressed in comparison of US with other countries. Misery does love company.”

The key question now is – who can be our ally when we demand a drug policy reform or funding for harm reduction? There is a field that we’re already familiar with. At the conference, we talked a lot about ways to convince HIV/AIDS or TB specialists that a change in drug policies is vital for effective implementation of health care programs for people who use drugs. Feminists can be our allies. Not all of them understand the problems faced by women who use drugs, but the 120 organizations that signed the Barcelona Declaration on #Narcofeminism are a great force.

The conference saw several inspiring sessions which highlighted the need to build relationships at the national level with child protection services and social services, with shelters for women who suffered violence. Because for now the unfortunate narrative is like “Using drugs? Do not dare give birth and raise children!”. This is the cruel message sent by governments of our region to every woman who uses drugs through social security and health care system. Violations of the reproductive rights of women who use drugs in Estonia, Russia and the eastern oblasts of Ukraine were summarized for the HR19 participants by Dasha Matyushina, EHRA’s associate and expert and adviser to UNAIDS. (https://www.facebook.com/EHRAssociation/videos/287907672152813/)

We’ve also gained new allies in the form of prosecutors. The law activist from the United States mentioned above spoke about her experience in persuading young prosecutors to introduce alternatives to imprisonment: “Our experience shows – prosecutors and law enforcement could bring public health understanding into court instead of idea of imprisonment. We need to bring prosecutors at the table with community, those who have lived drug use experience”.  With prosecutors come lawyers. I’m not at all sure that all the lawyers in our region who handle drug-related cases are aware that the law allows referrals to substitution treatment and other forms of social assistance.

What message are we sending to our allies? It’s absolutely clear that it’s not about help or pity, it’s about making governments stop preying on peoples’ lives and ruining them. Members of Parliament from different countries talked during the conference and came to a common understanding: «Decriminalization of drug use and possession is needed, but it is not enough. In many countries decriminalization is on the paper, but people are living in harsh policy on the street. In reality, decriminalization could lead to serious penalizing of people with fines so high that it ruins families and peoples’ lives».

3. «Zina, where’s the money?»

The situation with funding for harm reduction around the world is critical. About 2/3 of the total funding comes from the Global Fund to Fight HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria. While funding for programs in middle income countries (according to the World Bank classification) is gradually being reduced and withdrawn, the only hope rests on the countries themselves, on national and municipal funding. There were quite a few pessimistic presentations given at the conference because there had been reluctance on the part of decision-makers to allocate funds for harm reduction.

We’re often told that the government has no money for harm reduction. That’s not true – it does. At the conference, EHRA shared the findings of a study on the cost of criminalization. The findings suggest that if the state provided people who use drugs with harm reduction services such as substitution therapy, counselling provided by peer community members,  and help with employment and reintegration instead of imprisonment, it would save a significant amount of public funds. The data was gathered in 26 countries of the region. It can help harm reduction activists in their advocacy effort because it supports the argument that keeping a person in prison costs more than providing them with harm reduction services. In some countries the cost of imprisonment is 2, or 4 and even 11 times higher than the cost of health and social services.

Even if the state starts paying for harm reduction services, as is already happening in Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, it’s unlikely to fund advocacy efforts. Only genuine democracies can afford to pay for something that may be critical of them. In our case, advocacy groups and community organizations have to fight for their survival. Some pharmaceutical companies understand the role community plays in changing the market for their products and therefore are ready to support advocacy. This is quite common in European countries even though it’s associated with a difficult moral choice. Each organization need to choose how to be independent in their advocacy agenda if pharma as donor will demand or kindly ask to correct something in it. We have yet to make that choice.

There are still a few private foundations that support harm reduction and advocacy in our CEECA region. Among them is the Elton John AIDS Foundation that has now begun to allocate substantial resources for the HIV response among affected groups. We hope that this and other private foundations won’t stop at financial support but will also speak loudly and proudly about the harm reduction programmes.

  1. We need to fix harm reduction[1]

The issue of quality has now become the cornerstone of harm reduction services in the countries where harm reduction is supported by the state or the Global Fund. Ambitious goals are set for coverage with the cost per client below minimum. Comprehencive consultations with a social worker, support with necessary legal documents, counselling and legal support have long been considered a luxury. The situation when sticking to a indicators and meeting the targets are more important to an organisation than supervising consultants and searching for the best ways to help people who use drugs has become the norm. Everyone understands that people with addiction need a safe space where they can have a cup of tea, have something to eat, wash, rest, use a drug without risking an overdose. However, this level of service has almost become a thing of the past and is perceived now as the “golden age” of harm reduction.

What technical help do we need to fix harm reduction? How do we agree on the criteria for the proper, real harm reduction, especially for the most affected groups, the 10% who need not just a syringe but social help and therefore are difficult to reach?

As new drugs appear, the principles of harm reduction based on non-judgemental help remain unchanged. What has to adjust is the information – we need to educate about the risks the new drugs usage, we need to be able to check what’s in the drug and provide other ways to use safely. For me personally one thing has become clear following our discussions – flexibility and adaptability to people’s needs are the main criteria on which we can judge the quality of harm reduction services. It’s very important to set our professional criteria for harm reduction now. We, as a regional professional association for harm reduction, will be able to use them to improve the quality of our own work.

Renardo Batista Leir, a Portuguese MP, put it very well at the opening of the conference: “Harm reduction and true love are similar – they must be unconditional in order for them to work.” And it sounds like a good slogan to support each other on our difficult path.

[1] Thanks to Dasha Matyushina for the phrasing.

Call for proposals to receive small grants for community-led monitoring of service quality and satisfaction

RCF New logo
ewna

The Eurasian Regional Consortium invites you to fill in forms to take part in the call for proposals to receive small grants for community-led monitoring of service quality and satisfaction.

The call for proposals and the workshop to develop the skills and knowledge in monitoring of service quality and satisfaction are organized 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”.

The Eurasian Regional Consortium joins the efforts of the Eurasian Coalition on Male Health (ECOM), the Eurasian Women’s AIDS Network (EWNA) and the 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.

Activities of the Eurasian Regional Consortium within the Project: Learning cycles of the Project implemented by the Eurasian Regional Consortium are composed of five interlinked thematic areas: Organizational sustainability; Building broader coalitions for budget advocacy; Community-led advocacy for comprehensive quality standards for HIV services based on national needs and international recommendations; Budget monitoring and accountability and Community-led monitoring of quality of services.

1. Within the Project component “Community-led monitoring of quality of services”, the Eurasian Regional Consortium 1) organizes a workshop, and among the workshop participants 2) initiates a call for proposals for small grants to conduct research studies.

The workshop for community-led organizations is organized to provide the tools and develop the skills to conduct community-led monitoring of service quality and satisfaction. During the workshop, research developers and practitioners will share their expertise and train the participants how to use the following monitoring tools:

  • “Secret client”, adapted for assessing government services by the Eurasian Coalition on Male Health
  • “Access to sexual and reproductive health services”, developed by the Eurasian Women’s AIDS Network
  • “Community-led monitoring of the satisfaction with OST programs”, developed at the request of the Eurasian Harm Reduction Association.

Quotas. The expected total number of workshop participants is 18 people, with equal quotas for each community:

  • 6 people representing the community of people who use drugs/OST participants
  • 6 people representing the community of gay/bisexual men/trans people
  • 6 people representing the community of women living with HIV and vulnerable to HIV

Working languages of the workshop: Russian and English, dates July 3-4, 2019

2. The call for proposals for small grants will be initiated among the workshop participants.

The goal of the call for proposals: ensure practical use of the acquired skills for the community-led monitoring of service quality and satisfaction. Six grants will be awarded. The total budget of the call for proposals is USD 35,000, with the maximum amount of one grant being USD 5,800. 

Quotas.  The following quotas are set forth for each of the communities:

– 2 grants for the community of people who use drugs/OST participants;

– 2 grants for the community of women living with HIV and vulnerable to HIV;

– 2 grants for the community of gay/bisexual men/trans people.

Criteria to select grant recipients:

  1. The group/organization is delegated by, accountable to and led by one of three above-mentioned communities.
  2. The group/organization has an experience of organizing/participating in research studies.
  3. The group/organization has an experience of advocacy through the government decision-making mechanisms.
  4. The group/organization operates in one of 16 countries: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Montenegro, Northern Macedonia, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine or Uzbekistan.
  5. The applicant presents a clear and specific plan/budget describing the use of grant funds as per the goals of the call for proposals.

! All other things being equal, preference will be given to the groups/organizations, which are active members of EHRA, ECOM and EWNA.

Each proposal will be considered by secretariats of the organizations, which are members of the Eurasian Regional Consortium, and the decision on composition of the workshop participants will be taken considering the agreed quotas.

If you meet the above-mentioned criteria, please fill in the form to confirm your intention to conduct community-led monitoring of service quality and satisfaction

Deadline. The proposals will be accepted by 23:59 on May 29, 2019 (Vilnius time).

Till June 5, 2019, the members of the Eurasian Regional Consortium team will contact you: ECOM – Paata Sabelashvili paata@ecom.ngo, EWNA – Svetlana Moroz svetamorozgen@gmail.com and EHRA – Olya Belyaeva olga@harmreductioneurasia.org.

EHRA announces online General Meeting

On 6-20 May, 2019 EHRA conducts online General Meeting of its members. During those two weeks, all members of EHRA will be voting for two main issues:

  1. Approval of EHRA financial report for 2018 year;
  2. Approval of new candidates to EHRA Advisory Board.

WHO HAS VOTING RIGHT IN EHRA ONLINE GENERAL MEETING?

All members (individual and organizational), who are approved by the Steering Committee, can participate in the General Meeting. The list of members eligible for voting you can find on EHRA website: https://harmreductioneurasia.org/membership/ehra-members/

One member shall be entitled to one vote in a General meeting of members.

Supporting members do not have a voting right in the General Meeting.

Details on the voting procedure and participation can be clarified by contacting Eliza Kurcevic via e-mail: members@harmreductioneurasia.org