Advocacy for a cantonal institution for drug diseases

For this year Association Margina once again organised street action disseminating promotional materials, meeting people and spreading information about the campaign and work of the association.

By sharing an educational brochure (What to do when someone overdoes you, etc.) to several locations in the city by volunteers, Margina wanted to raise people’s awareness of a problem that doesn’t affect only individuals, but whole community. Passers-by had the opportunity to get acquainted with the organization’s work and campaign goals, and also to take pictures with campaign Logo in order to support those who need it the most. Organisers are very pleased with the community response to the messages that the campaign provides, as more and more people are aware that changes must be introduced to the entire system.

A special feature this year is the public debateDo We Need The Office of Addiction Diseases” with 40 representatives from institutions and civil society present, as well as active users of “suboxone” therapy and active users of harm reduction services provided by our organization.

The opposite views are expressed about how to fund a part of the health system, and insufficient systemic support for people using drugs. Also, for the first time data from the regional project “Budget advocacy and monitoring” were presented and representatives of the Ministry of Health and the Health Insurance Fund had mild panic outbursts, with the information provided and recommendations.

The conclusion of all the attendees is that this Department of Addiction Diseases, as urgently needed, will be one of our goals in the advocacy campaign that will follow in early September.

Regional training for the ARYSE Advocacy Network

Within the project “Strengthening young people at risk of social exclusion“, a regional training of the ARYSE (At-Risk Youth Social Empowerment) Network for advocacy for the promotion of children and young people at risk was held from 5 to 7 July in Bar, Montenegro.

The project is being implemented in six countries from the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo*, Northern Macedonia and Serbia) and aims to contribute to the social inclusion of the larger part of the young people at risk at the regional level, by strengthening the capacities of civil society organizations, regional/national cooperation and advocacy activities.

This training was intended for representatives of the implementing organizations and representatives of the national working groups established within the project. The idea of ​​the training was that the members of the working group and representatives of the organizations form a regional advocacy body which will continue to function after the completion of the project.

During the training, the participants worked to develop a common platform on which they would base their future work on young people at risk. During the training, the participants worked to develop an advocacy plan for all target groups covered by the project: Street youth, Youth who use drugs, Youth in conflict with law, Youth without parental care, Young Roma and Youth from families with history of drug use and/or conflict with law.

The regional body would aim to continue to promote the results of the ARYSE project and to advocate for appropriate guidance created through this project. In addition, the regional body would continuously work on the exchange of information and good practices and the improvement of policies related to young people at risk and the availability of the services designed for them.

The project is implemented by the NGO Juventas (Montenegro), the Association “Prevent” (Serbia), the Association Margina (BiH), ARSIS (Albania), HOPS (Macedonia), Labyrinth (Kosovo) and the Foundation CHL (Germany).

The network of the mentioned organizations that implements activities are aimed at contributing to active participation in the social and social processes of young people from the Western Balkan countries who are at the highest risk of social exclusion.

New accreditation for Margina

The Board of the Agency for Healthcare Quality and Accreditation in the Federation of Bosnia Herzegovina (AKAZ), at the meeting held on 29 April 2019, accredited the drop-in centres of the Association Margina in Tuzla and Zenica.

AKAZ performs a variety of services including standards for healthcare institutions, indicators for healthcare institutions, certification, accreditation, facilitation, clinical guidelines, education for healthcare professionals and support healthcare institutions in clinical revision. With Margina, they implemented a project Quality improvement for drop-in centres on back in 2014 whose objectives were:

  • Development of tailor-made training
  • Development of specialized standards
  • Development of risk-based indicators
  • Facilitation during accreditation preparation
  • External assessment of the centres
  • Granting accreditation status for 3 drop-in centres – in Tuzla, Zenica and Mostar

Margina benefited from the project gaining accreditation for the three drop-in centres in 2015 and became the first civil society organisation in South East Europe. The accreditation includes 13 standards and 89 criteria and 15 politics and procedures.

External assessment in the Association Margina

This accreditation status for NGO Margina expired on 23 November 2018 and they passed through the process of re-accreditation which was successfully completed. Margina is now accredited, now for the period of 4 years.

Congratulations!

EHRA representatives visit

As the DPNSEE project Budget Advocacy and Monitoring in countries of South East Europe funded by Open Society Foundations (OSF) through Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA) is about to come to an end in April this year, EHRA Financial Director Tatiana Fomicheva and Sustainability and Transition Adviser Ivan Varentsov visited DPNSEE on 17 and 18 April 2019. The purposes of the visit were to make an oversight of the project related documents and provide support with regard to the development of the final financial report.

EHRA representatives had an opportunity to meet with representatives of the national coordinator organisations MarginaJuventas and Prevent and get to know better their achievements and challenges while implementing the project. It was also interesting to discuss lessons learnt, possible next steps and follow up actions. All three indicated that the main issue they faced was lack of information or very slow response to provide them by the authorities. Understanding this obstacle, an agreement was made that DPNSEE and partner organisations will propose to extend the project by September 2019.

Our guests presented us the EHRA activities in the scope of the Global Fund HIV multi-country project, content of the workshop on human rights issues for the Balkan region planned for autumn this year and the Global Fund Community, Rights and Gender Technical Assistance Program. For this occasion, we also invited our colleagues from Serbian partner and member organisations DugaGAJPTimok Youth Centre and Čovekoljublje.

For our guests, we also arranged meetings with Dr Jasmina Tanasić, Head of the Department for Social Affairs at the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities and Primarius Dr Danijela Simić, Head of Department for HIV infection, STI, viral hepatitis and tuberculosis, Centre for Prevention and Control of Diseases, at the Institute of Public Health of Serbia “Dr Milan Jovanović Batut”.

The visit will help to better document the approach, process and results of our project as well as the lessons learnt. Documenting this our joint experience as a regional best practice and example of small grants to NGOs in recently transitioned of transitioning countries to support their sustainability and transition related advocacy activities can be of benefit to the Sustainability Bridge Funding that is about to be created by a group of international donors led by the OSF.

Bosnian version of the Glossary

With the support of our member organisation Margina, DPNSEE produced the Glossary of terms used in drug policy in Bosnian.

The Glossary is prepared with the aim to contribute to better understanding the drug problem in more emphatic manner. Glossary is an alphabetical list of terms with definitions.

This is the fourth language in which the Glossary is published, after the original version in English and those in Spanish and Serbian.

To download the Glossary in Bosnian, follow this link>>>>

Project partners meeting

The meeting of the partners in the EU Funded project “Strengthening NGO capacity and promoting public health and human rights oriented drug policy in South Eastern Europe” was held in Belgrade, Serbia, on Monday, 10 December 2018. This was the last meeting of the project which lasted for 4 years, supported by the European Commission DG Near.

The partners approved the minutes from the recent meeting, held on 12 September by Skype, and partners informed about the recent activities.

Margina has finished with the activities of the programme. Prevent has yet to implement a press conference, most probably in Belgrade by the end of the year. Diogenis has finished with the activities of the programme, except from the last newsletter. Olga Pateraki informed the partners of the reallocation regarding the budget of Diogenis, in order to translate in Greek and print the booklet “Drug Policy reform, The UNGASS 2016 a catalyst for change”.

DPNSEE Executive Director Milutin Milosevic informed the partners about the activities that has been implemented during this period: the country visits in Romania and in Greece, the General Assembly that took place in Belgrade, the capacity building that was held during September, the Resource Centre and the Glossary. The Glossary has been printed and there is in English, Spanish and Serbo-Croatian, with the intention to be translated also in other languages. The discrimination paper has been started but not reached yet the desired recorded cases.

The partners have agreed to send all their final financial reports by the 10th of January to Diogenis in order to prepare the final financial report, who is collecting and preparing the reports. The financial report will be also in a format of detailed breakdown that the EC asks along with the final report. The reports of the activities will be also sent to Diogenis in order to compile them for the final report in January.

Open Call for the Award of Small Grants

DPNSEE member organisation Juventas opened a Call for small grants to support the implementation of civil society organisations’ projects for the improvement of social inclusion of at risk children and youth in Montenegro, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Kosovo and Serbia.

The Call is announced under the “ARYSE (At Risk Youth Social Empowerment)” project, supported by the European Union and implemented by NGO Juventas (Montenegro), the project coordinator, with the partner organisations: ARSIS (Albania), Association MARGINA (Bosnia and Herzegovina), HOPS (Macedonia), Labyrinth (Kosovo), Prevent (Serbia) and SHL Foundation (Germany). The project beneficiaries are children and youth, especially at risk youth (children and youth who use drugs, who are in conflict with the law, who come from families who use drugs and/or are in conflict with the law, who are without parental care, as well as street and Roma children and youth). The project is being implemented under the Civil Society Facility and Media Programme 2014-2015.

The specific objectives of the open call for small grants are:

  • To raise capacities of relevant actors/stakeholders and CSOs in the work with at risk children and youth;
  • To establish, maintain, improve or scale up services for at risk children and youth regarding social inclusion and protection, education, employment, health, security, equality, rights and access to justice;
  • To improve availability of evidence, and advance awareness, policies and practices for the purpose of enchasing social inclusion of at risk children and youth at local or national level.

To be eligible for this Small Grant Call the applicant must fulfil the following requirements:

  • Is registered as non-profit/civil society organisation or network, in accordance with the respective national legislation, in their home country (i.e. Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro or Serbia), at least one year before the announcement of this Call;
  • Has its headquarters in its home country (i.e. Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro or Serbia);
  • Had an annual budget of EUR 10,000.00 to EUR 100,000.00 in the previous year.

Full information about the Call is available following this link>>>> while the application package is available here>>>>

The first national training held for organisations in Bosnia Herzegovina

Just after the Training for national consultancy teams, Grand hotel in Sarajevo hosted the Training for civil society organisations in Bosnia Herzegovina from 5 to 7 September 2018. This was the first of three national trainings for civil society organisations as part of the Budget Advocacy and Monitoring in countries of South East Europe project.

The training included general information and practical steps in the advocacy process: identifying the issue and causes of the problem, research and budget analysis, stakeholders and advocacy targets, influencing budgets at national and municipal levels, mapping budget information and documents, planning, taking actions, monitoring, anti-corruption, reviewing, evaluation and learning.

Participants came from organisations working in both entities of the country – The Federation of Bosnia Herzegovina and Republic of Srpska: Margina from Tuzla and Zenica, Viktorija from Banja Luka, Proi, Partnership for Health and Asocijacija XY from Sarajevo.

The training was delivered by Darko Antikj from ESE and Vlatko Dekov from HOPS who have developed the model and successfully implemented it in Macedonia.

The training resulted in producing a national plan of action to be implemented by the end of 2019. It includes creating a platform of NGOs for sustainability of harm reduction services, ensuring political support, creation of a budget line in the health budget of the entities of the country, establishing a social contracting mechanism and agreeing on criteria and standards for the services.

Bosnia and Herzegovina must continue the fight against HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis

Professor Michel Kazatchkine, the Special Advisor to the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS for East Europe and Central Asia, visited Bosnia Herzegovina from 3 to 6 September 2018.

Bosnia and Herzegovina can remain a country with the lowest HIV rate in Europe and sustained reduction of tuberculosis levels only if full implementation of the transition from international funding towards sustainable domestically owned HIV and TB responses is ensured. But, international funding from the Global Fund to Fight HIV/ AIDS, Tuberculosis (TB) and Malaria is ending this year.

During the visit, professor Kazatchkine has highlighted the importance of coordinated efforts of relevant domestic health, drug control, justice, legislation and other institutions and CSOs in all meetings including the State Minister of Civil Affairs, entity and cantonal ministers of Health, and representatives of civil society organisations involved in HIV and tuberculosis response policies. Professor Kazatchkine also emphasised that full implementation of domestically-owned transition plans is an imperative to sustain the current low rates of HIV patients and sustained reduction of tuberculosis levels as international funding from the Global Fund will no longer be available to Bosnia and Herzegovina. He added that the commitment expressed by domestic partners assures him that the country is able to achieve the (pre)set goals. However, it is urgent to sustain current results and services and make sure they move forward.

Professor Kazatchkine and his colleagues from UN agencies and the Global Fund participated in the meeting of the Country Coordinating Mechanism. Our colleagues from Margina and Viktorija presented the view of civil society organisations about the situation in the country.

As it was announced in the UNDP press release, the UN system and UNDP remains committed to supporting the transition to more domestic funding sources for continued access to equitable HIV and TB-related services especially for key populations at higher risk of being infected with HIV or those living with HIV / AIDS.

International funding from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is ending this year. A good sing is that the Ministry of Civil Affairs of Bosnia Herzegovina has, for the first time, introduced a budget line in the 2019 budget to support civil society organisations projects on prevention of HIV and tuberculosis.

Training for national consultancy teams

The training for national consultancy teams was organised from 3 to 5 September 2018 in Sarajevo, Bosnia Herzegovina. It was the first in a serial of training opportunities offered by the Budget Advocacy and Monitoring in countries of South East Europe project.

The aim of the training was to gain mutual understanding of the project, the budget advocacy and monitoring model and role of the consultancy teams in implementing the national plans of actions. 15 participants came from the three involved countries.

The training will be delivered by Darko Antikj from ESE and Vlatko Dekov from HOPS who have developed the model and successfully implemented it in Macedonia.

The agenda included issues of:

  • Introduction to Budget cycle on national and local level
  • Budget research and analysis
  • Stakeholders and advocacy models
  • Planning and implementation of the budget advocacy process and
  • Country group work on national budget advocacy plan

The training have helped to clarify various issues related to the topic and the way the project will be implemented and agree on basis for designing the national plans. Also, it was specific team building exercise for the national consultancy teams.