Eurasian Regional Consortium – Thinking outside the box: overcoming challenges in community advocacy for sustainable and high-quality HIV services.

The Eurasian Regional Consortium (ERC) was formed in 2015 in response to the distinct need for stronger collaboration among key population networks in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) to address a shared threat to sustainability of HIV programs for people who use drugs, men who have sex with men, trans people, and people living with HIV. Eurasian Women’s AIDS Network (EWNA) joined the Consortium in 2018 due to needs in strengthening representation of women’s and gender perspective. Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA), the lead partner of the Consortium, together with Eurasian Coalition on Male Health (ECOM) and Women’s AIDS Network joined forces to respond funding insecurity for HIV services for key population in countries of EECA.  

The Consortium’s joint efforts focus on addressing the needs of people who use drugs, men who have sex with men, trans* people and women living with HIV in the capacity building and coordinated advocacy on HIV resource mobilization, budget advocacy, fiscal accountability. Our task is to build community-led initiatives and political support for strategic, sufficient and sustainable investments in services along the continuum of HIV care for key populations.

The scope of work and activities are designed to maximize capacity of consortium’s member organizations and their impact of advocacy to improve funding environment for sufficient allocation of resources for HIV programs in countries of EECA. This will be achieved through developing opportunities to learn with creation and facilitation of regional mechanisms which can act in a coordinated manner to address issues that are common across countries.

Learning in practice cycles of the project are composed in five interlinked thematic areas that are prioritized for building capacity of community-led networks to maximize their contribution to increased and sustainable financing of HIV response on national levels. An opportunity to learn and get supported is open for members of EHRA, ECOM and EWNA as well as for community-led organizations from countries of the Consortium operation.  Those cycles are:

  1. Organizational Sustainability.
  2. Building broader coalitions for budget advocacy.
  3. Community-led monitoring of quality of services.
  4. Community-led advocacy for comprehensive quality standards for HIV services based on national needs and international recommendations.
  5. Budget monitoring and accountability.

The activities, such as regional trainings, set of best practices, experts working group meetings, Budget Advocacy Toolbox, sub-grants, internships, expert mentorship, technical assistance and delivery of community driven advocacy campaign “Chase the virus not people” are an important part of support from the Consortium to national and local level communities.

Furthermore, the RCNF grant is an important resource for further strengthening of EHRA’s governance and operational systems, as well as program efficiency and financial sustainability of EHRA. As key organizational development outcomes it is expected to achieve financial diversification of funding sources, and to develop EHRA strategy 2020-2025 and MEL Framework.

HERE you can read about results achieved by the Eurasian Regional Consortium in 2016-2018 with support from RCNF.

  • Conducted 1 face-to-face The Eurasian Regional Consortium coordination meeting and 2 representatives of the consortium participated in the RCNF annual collective reflection meeting to strategize for collaboration and to reflect the progress.
  • Conducted regional training on community-led monitoring of quality of services for activists representing key communities – people who use drugs, men who have sex with men, trans* people, women affected by HIV, sex workers.
  • Awarded 6 sub-grants to key community organizations for community-led monitoring of service quality and satisfaction.
  • Developed a methodology for community-led monitoring of client satisfaction with OST programs. Piloted, published.
  • In December EHRA provided 2 scholarships to organizations from Moldova to learn from expert organizations from Serbia and Poland on how to conduct crowdfunding campaigns, sell expert services and receive % of tax deductions.
  • Developed a collection of case studies “Alternative Financing: Models of sustainable development for non-profit organisations“.
  • 2 national consultants provided mentorship for ISP leaders from emerging organizations to better understand national tendering processes, development of required procedures and system within NGOs to be eligible for receiving domestic funding for organisations in Russia and BiH
  • Development of EHRA’s Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Framework for organisational Strategy 2020-2024 is started
  • Delivery of “Chase the Virus, not People!” Campaign in ArmeniaAzerbaijanKazakhstan and Russia aimed at addressing stigma, discrimination and criminalization of key populations in those countries. EHRA provided technical support to national campaign organizers in instruments and mechanisms for campaign advocacy and promotion.