Transition from Global Fund support to national funding: role, opportunities and priorities for civil society in Albania

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The workshop “Transition from Global Fund support of HIV and TB programs to national funding: role, opportunities and priorities for civil society in Albania” took place in Tirana, the capital city of Albania, on 23 – 24 of October and gathered 29 participants including civil society representatives, CCM members, representatives of the Global Fund CRG Team and CCM Hub (online), experts from neighbouring countries and representatives of the governmental structures.

Albanian HIV and TB components became ineligible for regular funding after the 2014–2016 allocations were announced and therefore Albania became eligible to receive transition funding. It will receive a three-year transition grant within the 2017-2019 allocation period. This transition grant is expected to start in January 2020 and will be a significantly lower level of investment—about one third the value of current Global Fund grants. The implementation of the current Global Fund HIV and TB grant is ending in December 2019.

According to the estimated annual needs to sustain HIV and TB responses prior to submitting the transition grant request, Albania’s needs approximately US $3 million to address its two epidemics effectively. Hence US $9 million is required over 2020-2022, the three-year period of the transition grant. With an allocation of just under US $6 million within the current HIV and TB grants, roughly 60% of the funding need is currently being met. Without significant increases in domestic funding, the funding gap is expected to grow in the coming years. Moreover, the services for key affected populations (KAPs) are largely implemented by civil society. Their scale, quality and delivery models are to be improved under the new transition grant. So far, these services have not been funded from domestic resources, though there is an office for civil society and general funding for civil society groups in the country. The national strategies on HIV and TB are expiring in 2019. The Global Fund, under its pilot ‘CCM Evolution Project,’ supports Albania’s HIV and TB governance reforms although with no clear outcome so far.

Community and civil society advocacy is critical at this conjunction of processes to ensure sustainability of the response. But at the same time the transition Funding Request 2020- 2022 poses a direct challenge to the services provided by NGOs being sub-recipients of the Global Fund grant. It is expected that starting from 2020 the number of NGOs supported by Global Fund will become twice lower, decreasing from 12 to 5. It is not clear what happens with the activities implemented by those 7 NGOs left behind and which exactly NGOs this will be.

Taking this context into account, the Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA) in coordination with the Global Fund Secretariat, decided to organize a workshop for civil society and community representatives in Albania. The workshop aimed to help improve the understanding of local civil society representatives involved in the country’s HIV and TB responses, of the Global Fund transition-related processes currently taking place in country and also to stimulate ideas, plans and opportunities for their meaningful engagement into such processes to ensure the sustainability of HIV and TB response among key affected populations in Albania.

The participants first heard the information about the steps being taken by the government to prepare for transition of HIV/TB prevention interventions from the Global Fund’s support and also about the transition-related risks for HIV response and civil society services. Representatives of the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Health updated the participants on the work being done to secure funding and social contracting from national and local authorities including on the public budget cycles, possibilities to advocate and influence the budget at central and local level. Guest activists from North Macedonia and Montenegro shared their lessons learnt from the transition experiences of their countries with regard to budget advocacy efforts being taken by civil society in these countries to sustain HIV response among KAPs. The representative of the Agency for Support of Civil Society informed the participants about the opportunities of funding available for NGOs, including those related to public health. On the second day of the event the participants also had the opportunity to discuss and plan the advocacy steps need to be taken by civil society in nearest future to ensure the sustainability of services for KAPs as well as to discuss their Global Fund related TA needs and plan the possible content of the potential requests for the support within the Global Fund CRG TA Program.

DPNSEE President Vlatko Dekov presenting lessons learnt from North Macedonia

Genci Muçollari, Executive Director at DPNSEE member organisation Aksion Plus who participated in the workshop, thinks that “It was an interesting workshop though we were expecting high level presentation from the GF and the Ministry of Health and Social Protection (MHSP). World Health Organisation representatives were attending, other NGOs as well. Above all discussions among partners, the role of the MHSP and the Albanian government is very important to ensure a gradual transition from Global Fund to state funds through social contracting and other ways of contribution both in money and in kind to programs and activities covered before by GF. The workshop organizers presented some of the funding opportunities from other regional donors and call for proposals in order to support activities after the GF.

The event was organized by the Regional Platform for Communication and Coordination for the EECA Region, hosted by Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA).

Promotional activities of the “Support. Don’t Punish“ campaign in Albania

The main activity was the awareness day in occasion of 26th of June, in Durrës. Since the major part of the population is in summer holidays, Aksion plus planned to organize a big event in Durres, in the beach, among vacationers. For this event they strongly collaborated with Caritas, informing at the beginning their 50 young volunteers and on 26th they went together and distributed information among people. Firstly, a big banderol “Support. Don’t Punish” with key message on drug policy was posted in the seaside, in order for the vacationers to see and to understand what this activity was about. The day continued with the distribution of the brochures, leaflets and posters of the campaign. All the volunteers and staff were wearing T-shirt with the message “Support. Don’t Punish”. It was an excited day for young volunteers, to say “no” to the discrimination toward these target groups.

On June 26, 2019, in one of the main streets in the city of Tirana, a drug information campaign was developed together with the SALUS clinic. This activity consisted in the distribution of brochures and leaflets for the purpose of informing the population in the framework of the “Support. Don’t Punish” campaign.

Have a look at the video from the activities below

Global Day of Action- Support. Don't Punish!

Support. Don’t Punish is a global grassroots-centred initiative in support of harm reduction and drug policies that prioritise public health and human rights. The campaign seeks to put harm reduction on the political agenda by strengthening the mobilisation capacity of affected communities and their allies, opening dialogue with policy makers, and raising awareness among the media and the public.The Support. Don’t Punish campaign aligns with the following key messages:-The drug control system is broken and in need of reform-People who use drugs should no longer be criminalised-People involved in the drug trade at low levels, especially those involved for reasons of subsistence or coercion, should not face harsh or disproportionate punishments-The death penalty should never be imposed for drug offences-Drug policy should focus on health, well-being and harm reduction-Drug policy budgets need rebalancing to ensure health and harm reduction-based responses are adequately financed.#Supportdontpunish #aksionplus #globaldayofaction #26ofJune

Gepostet von Aksion Plus am Donnerstag, 27. Juni 2019

You can find more about the campaign activities recently held in Albania at the news following this link>>>

A month of Support. Don’t Punish activities in Albania

Our Albanian colleagues from the organisation Aksion Plus organised a sensitization campaign in the cities of Durres and Tirana in May and June 2019 as their contribution to the Support. Don’t Punish campaign.

On 9 May, a workshop was organized with the students of “5 October” High School. This workshop consisted in informing young people about drug use based on Aksion Plus’s many years of experience in providing services, awareness campaigns focusing on drug use as well as publishing of informative materials. Young students were also organized into work in groups in order to have everyone’s involvement and engagement. Additionally, a presentation by some of the school youth about their knowledge of the phenomenon of drug use was presented.

The focus of the meeting held on 16 May in the University of New York was the discussion with prospective professionals on issues that affect the reality of drug users, HIV / AIDS, giving special importance to prevention and damage reduction policies. These realities are already noticeably tangible in every part of society. Also discussed about the “Support, Don’t Punish” campaign.

This workshop in the High school “Charles Telford Erickson” held on 23 May consisted in informing students about drug use based on Aksion Plus’s many years of experience in providing services: Methadone Maintenance Therapy, Psychological Counselling, HIV Testing, Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, Syphilis, Hep B, Hep C and awareness campaigns. It was presented a video. Young students were also organized into work in groups in order to have everyone’s involvement and engagement.

This workshop in the High school “Gramoz Palushi”, including 4 representatives of Caritas Albania, was held on 14 June. A video was presented. Young students were also organized into work in groups in order to have everyone’s involvement and engagement. The goal was to involve all students in an interactive way. At the end of the workshop, some space was left for their questions, comments about what was discussed, and what suggestions they had about future workshops.

A new support centre in Fier

Under the auspices of 26 June – The International Day against Drug Abuse and Drug Trafficking, Aksion Plus conducted the “Support, Don’t Punish” campaign in the city of Fier. Initially, a meeting was held between the representatives of our center, the representative of the Regional Health Directorate in the city of Fier, staff and volunteers of the Epoka e Re Center. During this meeting was discussed about the need to open a new branch in Fier city for the delivery of methadone and the provision of medical and psychosocial assistance to drug users. We discussed about the current services offered to users by providing them more detailed information. Finally, the message overecomed was that young people are the ambassadors of sensitizing the general population to this phenomenon.

Together with volunteers from Epoka e Re, leaflets and brochures that aimed to inform the general public about drugs, harm reduction and HIV/AIDS were distributed. A meeting was also held with representatives of the City Hall of Fier.

Aksion Plus

Long list of activities in the Support. Don’t Punish campaign in South East Europe

On the occasion of the 26 June, The United Nations’ International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, the Global Day of Action of the Support. Don’t Punish Campaign is organised in more than 150 cities in the world. The Drug Policy Network South East Europe this year again coordinates activities of the campaign in South East Europe, where 10 of our member organizations are pushing actions in 9 countries and 11 cities.

To the launch the campaign, DPNSEE will organise “Kick-off event” in the EU Info Centre in Belgrade, Kralja Milana 7, on 21 June 2018 at 12:00. Representatives of the Network will present the current situation in the countries of South East Europe. To contribute to the campaign, DPNSEE will also present the baseline research on “Documenting Drug Related Cases of Discrimination”, an activity within the project “Strengthening the capacity of civil society organizations in South-East Europe and promote drug policy based on respect for human rights and public health”. Our guests will be Danilo Ćurčić from the A11 – Initiative for economic and social rights and Dr Hajrija Mujović, Vice -chair of the Association of Lawyers for Medical and Health Law of Serbia – SUPRAM.

Representatives of the Network will as well present the activities of the Network members in the countries of the region.

In Albania, on the 26th of June, Aksion Plus will organize awareness activities in two cities, Tirana and Durres. The activities will include sharing leaflets and information especially toyoung people. In their Opioid Substitution Therapy centres, they will organize small group discussions, outreach information, leaflets distribution, one to one conversations and counselling to raise their awareness on how to better protect their rights, as well as to provide referrals to other institutions in case they face violations from police, courts and law enforcement agencies. During campaign clients will be strongly encouraged and supported to fight for their rights and report to the organisation or to the People’s Advocate when they face violence or stigma, and messages of the campaign will be also communicated to the Government officials.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, organization Margina will organize events in city of Tuzla. That will include promotional activities, starting the campaign on 11th of June by screening documentary film “I want to wake up” with aim to point out the problem of education of young people and reducing stigma and discrimination against drug users. Other activities planned are Public Debate and Press Conference “CANTONAL INSTITUTION FOR DISEASES” – Why do we not have it? as introductory event to the entire day of action on 26th of June, that will also be presented through street action in city of Tuzla. In this event, following documents will be presented: Bosnia and Herzegovina National Drug Strategy 2018 – 2023, Policy to reduce drug use damage in the Federation of Bosnia Herzegovina, Decisions of the Government and the Tuzla Canton Assembly on the establishment of the “Institute for Addiction of the Tuzla Canton”. The Association Margina is dedicating this day, as well as other days of the year, to people who have adopted this “lifestyle” with the aim of bringing the wider community closer to the addicted population and so additionally contribute to the reduction of stigma and discrimination.

Check out their facebook event and join the day of action:  https://www.facebook.com/events/407051669794756/

In Bulgaria, organization Initiative for Health Foundation will write and promote article, telling the story about the campaign worldwide and its implementation in Bulgaria in the last years. The article will be written by a professional journalist and popularized mostly in NGO platforms and other online channels. The organization will also develop a frame for a Facebook profile image and dissemination on social media consecutive counting of dissemination

To activate your facebook frame in the Bulgarian language go HERE

In Croatia, Organisation Terra will organise the Forum theatre performance on the problems of a former addict who is hindering discrimination due to his past. The play will be organised on the 26th of June, to mark the International day against drug abuse and illicit trafficking. The theatre will be played in the city of Rijeka, Croatia.

Check out their facebook event and join the day of action:  https://www.facebook.com/events/2087957514813170/

 

In Greece, in Athens, the action will be implemented by the NGOs Platform for Psychoactive Substances. This platform is an unofficial initiative for joint action among organizations working in the area of drug policy and psychoactive substances, currently consisting of the following organizations: Centre for Life, Diogenis, Peers Network of Users of Psychoactive Substances, Positive Voice, Praksis, Prometheus and Steps. This year the Greek NGO Platform for psychoactive substances will undertake the organization and implementation of the campaign in Greece.

They are organising an event on Tuesday, June 26, 2018, at 7 pm, at the Athens Municipal Cellular Market (42, Fokionos Negris str) as an open dialogue regarding: current public health and drug policies applied in addressing the issue of psychoactive substances, the way users are being treated by the state and society, the issue of combating crime that accompanies drug use by law enforcement, and finally the removal of unjustified social stereotypes at the expense of PWUD, the
importance for the provision of substantial support, as well as the need for equal, meaningful and substantial participation of users community in procedures totally concerning them.
The event will be followed by participation of Mrs. Katerina Konidari, psychologist, social researcher, and writer, who will talk about the representation of addiction treatment on art; Mr. Michalis Lolis, Police Lieutenant of the A’ (First) Police Department for Combating Racist Violence, who will communicate his experience on human rights’ issues and the protection of people with different identities and Mr. Yannis Kissas, representative of the Peer Network of Users  psychoactive Substances, who will specifically refer to the Network’s proposals for supportive policies rather than the punishment of drug users. The discussion will be co-chaired and coordinated by Mr. Christos Anastasiou, member of the Peer Network of Users Psychoactive Substances.

You can find the full press release in English HERE  or on Greek HERE

To get involved:

Like their facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/supportdontpunishGreece/

Join their facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/179003616107047/

Follow them on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/support.dont.punish_greece_/

In Macedonia, organisation HOPS will to focus on recreational drug use, harm reduction and human rights. The central event will be organized in Skopje, as a public debate/panel on the health and legal aspects of recreational drug use and harm reduction. Activists, experts, decisions and opinion makers will take part in the debate, which will also be streamed online. In addition, IEC materials will be produced containing information on practices for reducing harms from recreational drug use, as well as personal rights. The 3 different leaflets will be promoted during the public debate and will be later distributed during the field activities at music events. All activities will be supported by a social media campaign aimed to inform a wider audience on harm reduction practices and raise public awareness about human rights.

Check out their facebook event and join the day of action: https://www.facebook.com/events/1632706273514505/

 

In Montenegro, organisations Juventas and Link will organize several activities such as Street movie projection nights, on the 26th of June and screen a documentary by Drugreporter that would be premiered during the campaign. The documentary is following the work of our two NGOs, talking about the implementation of the Harm Reduction Program in Montenegro, most of all covering the story of the work and struggles of the Drop in centres for people who use drug and sex workers and our outreach work. Documentary is also talking about the challenges that NGO Juventas and NGO Link face in daily work with clients and in the partnering institutions. In addition to this documentary, other documentary films of the NGO’s that are conducting Harm Reduction program in the region are planned to be screened, as well as some cult films that correspond to the topic.

During the campaign the project team will set up an information stand at one of the University of Montenegro’s Faculty in order to influence on young people, share with them message of the Support. Don’t Punish campaign, as well as information about the harm reduction program itself and the services provided by NGOs Juventas and Link. NGOs will distribute information to media and ensure national media coverage.

Check out their facebook event and join the day of action: https://www.facebook.com/events/251897252232425/

 

In Romania, this year Romanian Harm Reduction Network alongside with other two member organisations of DPNSEE,  ARAS and ALIAT will organize a series of activities to mark the Global Day of Action and participate in the campaign. They vary from online consultations with people who use drugs on changes to be made to the law 143/2000 on preventing and combating trafficking and illicit drugs use, using iterative-designed videos online to presents law 143/2000 and others laws on drugs in Europe. They will also organize a consultation meeting with representatives of NGOs providing services (prevention, harm reduction, treatment) for people who use drugs on the changes to be made to the law 143/2000 on preventing and combating trafficking and illicit drugs use, organize a “lawkathon” (working session) with lawyers from LGBT, human rights, Roma, education, feminist and/or housing NGOs to formulate the amendments to the law 143/2000 on preventing and combating trafficking and illicit drugs use, according to the proposals made by people who use drugs and NGOs providing services during the consultations, organize a round-table/meeting with representatives from various ministries on the proposal to amend the law 143/2000 on preventing and combating trafficking and illicit drugs use. Last but not least there will be organized flashmob/short event at the Parliament building to raise awareness on the proposal to amend the law 143/2000 on preventing and combating trafficking and illicit drugs use.

In addition to the activities listed above, they are planning on connecting a series of other events financed through private sources to raise awareness on stigma associated with substance use and addiction, under the same harm reduction / Support. Don’t Punish umbrella.

The facebook event to join the action is: https://www.facebook.com/events/179830952686479/

 

In Serbia, NGO Prevent will implement action Support. Don’t Punish for the fourth time in Novi Sad. Campaign will start on 20th June when the media were informed about the action. Prevent will spread information through social networks and during campaign reach over 30 thousand people in this way. Prevent also announced the competition for the best short video on the topic Support. Don’t. Punish which will be the official promo video of their Association for participation in a global campaign marking International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking 26th of June.

To follow up their camapaign and street action find more information on their facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/preventns/

 

NGO Re Generation, together with Drugstore Belgrade, announcing the Global Day of action within the campaign Support. Don’t Punish, are organizing an event that will start the cooperation of this club and this organization in order to create safer nightlife, which is the first of this kind in Serbia. After recent events in Europe that have been linked to drug policy and nightlife, NGO Re Generation and Drugstore decided to launch higher-level cooperation within the framework of the Global Day of Action, in order to influence the change of awareness and the change in drug policies in general. Joining the campaign, Re Generation and Drugstore want to express sincere concern and start the program, present the activities within the cooperation with which they start their own struggle for safer, better quality and better night environment that we are all part of!

Join their event and support the healthy nightlife settings:  https://www.facebook.com/events/278127766064145/

 

Assistance in legal issues for Aksion Plus clients

The DPNSEE member organisation Aksion Plus started offering support to their clients in legal issues. Their stuff has informed its branches in the cities they are active as well as other individuals interested in recent Open Society Foundation Albania (OSFA)-backed intervention assistance.

At the meeting that was conducted in the methadone dispensing office in Shkodra, they arranged the meeting to inform all users who receive methadone that Aksion Plus is providing free legal aid in collaboration with the OSFA Legal Clinic in Shkodra. In obtaining legal aid, Aksion Plus’s representative in Shkodra city has a task to stay in constant contact with legal representatives and representatives of Aksion Plus in Tirana regarding the progress of cases the users addressed.

In addition, a meeting was also held with representatives of the OSFA legal clinic in Shkodra. Apart from legal assistance in the administrative and civil aspect, consideration was also given to the provision of legal aid in criminal matters as well.

OSFA legal aid clinic in Shkodre

As for the city of Tirana, two other cases of MMT clients have been identified, which sought legal assistance for: jail sentence, taking custody of children. Constant contacts are maintained with the law office to see the progress of the issues.

 

Aksion Plus spring activities

As a partner on the project “Strengthening NGO capacity and promoting public health and human rights oriented drug policy in South Eastern Europe”, DPNSEE member ogranisation Aksion Plus implemented activities. 
In March 2018, in the cooperation with ASHR (Regional Health Authority), a service was provided for performing Hepatitis B & C and HIV/AIDS testing for drug users and LGBTI population who receive services at the Aksion Plus Center. The purpose was a health examination aimed at referring to the relevant instances to provide the necessary medical assistance.

Following that, they organised the meeting with drug users in the city of Elbasan at the Methadone Dispensing Center. During this discussion, the conversation was about the problems encountered by drug users in this city. The issues discussed were around the topics related to and focused on getting more detailed information about methadone use, its impact and the facilities offered to users to receive this service. Based on the latest Harm Reduction Manual printed last year, the techniques of harm reduction were discussed with the participants, as well the new projects that Aksion Plus intends to implement in the future about the use of drugs.

Conclusions of the meeting were that they, as the key population, should be more active and supported to self organise so as to be able to communicate with local authorities in order to advocate for more services, chances of employment, better access to health structures, etc. In addition, all participants at the meeting were informed about the current project that Aksion Plus has undertaken in collaboration with a law office. This initiative aims to provide free legal aid to drug users.

One of the problems highlighted during the meeting was discrimination in institutions and employment opportunities. For this reason, we discussed encouraging cooperation between them to demand respect for their rights. Of course with the support of Aksion Plus.

Youth of SEE on YODA Workshops 2018

Within Youth Organisations for Drug Action in Europe, the network of European organisations that have a specific scope of activities devoted to young people at risk, youth representatives from DPNSEE member organisations Aksion Plus, HOPS, Juventas and Re Generation spent two weeks  in Eastern Europe, cities of Warsaw and Kiev, on a study visit within the capacity building workshops. On this set of workshops, YODA network members from 8 European countries participated, those that work on the ground offering harm reduction and health services to those who need it, often the most marginalised and stigmatised youth in our societies.

The study visit consisted of different classroom workshops, including the variety of site visits, all covering topics such as cross-substance use, LGBT health, drug checking, problematic use and harm reduction related to young people.

Džoli Ulićević from our member organisation Juventas said for the YODA blog that the opportunity to attend YODA training in Warsaw was very valuable to him, especially in the terms of getting insight into the practical part of work of PREKURSOR Drop in Centre and Foundation for Social Education mobile unit (Warsaw Mobile Units, video).  He said also that the exchange of experience and knowledge with more experienced activists in harm reduction programs improved his skills in harm reduction and provided him with many ideas which can be implemented in Montenegro regarding harm reduction for young people using drugs, specially within some vulnerable groups, such as young LGBTIQ people, sex workers or people who are members of ethnic minorities.

The site visits in Warsaw included also ES-SIN after party project and discussion on harm reduction in young people using drugs problematically), FES mobile HIV/AIDS/HEP C/STI testing point.

In Kiev the group visited Club Eney, self-help group and drop-in centre, LGBT community, testing centre and Convictus centre.

 

Vladana Stepanović, former DPNSEE volunteer and Re Generation member, said that in addition to organisations group visited in Ukraine, we heard that there more organizations which are in some way dealing with the issues related to drug use and support to drug users. That shows serious understanding of the problems regarding public health and human rights situation.

“What we have seen and learned there we should advocate to our countries, more specifically Western Balkans and Serbia, emphasizing that even Ukraine, in the complicated political situation, can find way to support harm reduction services as one of the key answers to prevention of Hep C and HIV. At the same time, in Serbia and specifically Belgrade with approx. 10.000 injecting drug users, we don’t have any organization offering any kind of harm reduction services.”

The third session of the workshops will start on 11 May 2018 in Podgorica, Montenegro, hosted by our member organisation Juventas. Over three days, the workshop will tackle homeless youth and focus more on organizational and ethical aspects of working with young homeless people and protection of human and social rights of young homeless people who use drugs.

A dialogue between civil society and donors

The Open Society Foundations convened civil society activists from HIV, harm reduction, sex worker and LGBT communities from South Eastern Europe and health and human rights donors to discuss opportunities for strategic collaboration to sustain HIV prevention services for key populations and facilitate transition to domestic financing of these programs. The half-day meeting was held on 18 January 2018 in Belgrade, Serbia.

The aims of the meeting were:

  • Share examples of civil society advocacy towards domestic financing of HIV services, including efforts to push national governments to commit to provision and financing of services for key populations;
  • Discuss current challenges sustaining programming for key populations in the region with a specific focus on the threats to the human rights movements, programs, and advocates that were directly and indirectly supported by the Global Fund when it was still active in the region;
  • Present examples of how targeted donor support for civil society engagement in transition and sustainability process can bolster government ownership of the HIV response;
  • Discuss strategies and opportunities to address the service gap and enable civil society to navigate the transition process, as well as roles that donors, regional networks and technical agencies can play.

DPNSEE member organisations representatives were panellists: Denis from Margina and Dragos from RHRN presenting situation in Bosnia Herzegovina and Romania, Ivana from Juventas presenting the promising case study of Montenegro and Milutin, together with two other networks (ERA – LGBTI Equal Rights Association for Western Balkans and Turkey and SWAN – Sex Workers’ Rights Advocacy Network) on possibilities for work together to strengthen national and regional advocacy.

Many organisations were at the list of potential invitees. Finally, around 35 CSO participated. Besides DPNSEE, 9 member organisations were present: Aksion Plus, Margina, Viktorija, Labyrinth, Cazas, Juventas, ARAS, RHRN and Prevent.

The meeting was mainly about presenting situation and needs, with not many questions and comments from the floor. Most of the results were achieved in informal exchanges with other participants. Besides OSF and Global Fund representatives, donors included Embassy of France in Serbia, Mama Cash and Reconstruction Women’s Fund (Serbia). Representatives of other Networks included Eurasian Harm Reduction Network and Eurasian coalition on male Health.

Just after the main meeting of the dialogue, an Informal dialogue on LGBTI and HIV in South-Eastern Europe was organised by the ERA – LGBTI Equal Rights Association for Western Balkans and Turkey. Most of the DPNSEE member organisations participated in the meeting that addressed the current work done, gaps and challenges in collaborating towards protecting LGBTI rights and addressing HIV and needs and opportunities for a regional approach and support of this work.

Representatives of the DPNSEE member organisations at the Dialogue

Albania joined Support. Don’t Punish

For the first time this year, Aksion Plus joined the “Support. Don’t Punish” campaign. In this framework, they organized an awareness campaign for two weeks, arranging different meetings, focus groups with the drug users related to human rights protection, what tools they can use to advocate for their rights and increase the access toward social, health and legal public services. One of the activities was the “Photo campaign” where we invited different stakeholders to make a photo with the poster of the campaign “Support, Don’t Punish”, such as decision making representatives and service providers of Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Justice, Probation Service Institution, Public Health institutions, Ombudsman, social workers, psychologists, volunteers;  very known artists in TV and famous Albanian singers; service beneficiaries, such as MMT, sex workers, LGBT and Roma community members.

The main activity was the awareness day in occasion of 26th of June, in Durrës. Since most of the population is in summer holidays, Aksion Plus organized a big event on the beach, among vacationers.  For this event they closely collaborated with Caritas Albania, informing at the beginning their 50 young volunteers and on 26th the two organisations went together and distributed information among people. At the beginning of the activity, a big banderol with the logo “Support. Don’t Punish” was placed in an open place with key message on drug policy, in order for the passers-by to see and to understand what this activity was about.

Global Day of Actions 26 June in Durrës

Various local TV stations were invited (Top Channel Durrës, A1 Report). The director of Aksion Plus, Mr. Genci Mucollari, gave an interview on the aim of this day and activity. He called for all responsible institutions and decision makers’ involvement in injecting drug users’ human rights and access toward service provision. He gave some messages to general population, to say “no” to the discrimination toward these target-groups.

The day continued with the distribution of the brochures, leaflets and posters of the campaign. All the volunteers and staff was wearing T-shirt and hats with the message “Support. Don’t Punish”. It was an exciting day for young volunteers and they managed to distribute more than 2000 IEC materials.  More than 1500 existing and new brochures/leaflets were provided to other A+ centres.

This activity and other A+ news and information were widely covered through social networks. It had a good impact on the Facebook public, especially pictures with artists and politicians.

IDPC and DPNSEE was step by step posted and informed with written statements and pictures from these activities.

Albanian artists and politicians supporting the campaign