Seventeen initiative groups from the community of people who use drugs (PWUD) from nine EECA (Eastern Europe and Central Asia) countries received support through the Small Grants Program, implemented by EHRN in 2014-2015. Close to US$80.000 were distributed for advocacy needs of the communities. With the help of the Program, communities of PWUD are changing national drug policies, helping create favorable conditions for harm reduction programs and the implementation of prevention and treatment services for HIV, tuberculosis, and hepatitis.
EHRN presents the report on the results on the implementation of the project, implemented with the financial support of the Robert Carr Civil Society Network Fund (RCNF).
The idea of the Small Grants Program was born in the course of cooperation between EHRN and the leaders of the PWUD community. The first wave of the Small Grants Program Through Peers’ Effort-1 was implemented in 2013. Small grants, amounting to US$28,840, served to inspire seven organizations in seven countries.
In 2014-2015, EHRN engaged new partners and donors. Thanks to financial support from RCNF, the Global Fund MAC AIDS, and UNAIDS, the funding for program to support the PWUD community in its implementation of advocacy activities increased and grew from seven to 52 small grants.
The Report consists of four sections dedicated to different aspects of the Program: protecting the rights of PWUD; increasing the availability and quality of opioid substitution treatment (OST) programs; preventing deaths from overdose; and advocating for national funding for harm reduction programs.
“This document is not just a collection of statistics of the key achievements, but first of all, it is a dialogue between the participants of the Program and its partners about the implementation of each small grant and new approaches to community mobilization and advocacy,” says Olga Belyaeva, Manager of the Membership and Community Strengthening Team at EHRN. “Moreover, it tells the stories of day-today struggles, faced by the communities, and courage of their individual activists in various countries of our region.”
Coordination of the Small Grants Program Through Peers’ Effort requires preparing projects and conducting consultations with the leaders of the community of people who use drugs on the topics of small grants. This is followed by the discussion of tactical steps, Skype conversations late into the night before the key advocacy meetings, discussions and a search for arguments for presentations, and a friend whose shoulder leaders can cry on and with whom they can share the triumphs. The courage and perseverance of the community leaders and the Small Grants Program inspire our team to new achievements.