Training for the State commission for combating drugs

HOPS – Healthy Options Skopje, on 7 and 8 October 2019 organized an educational workshop on capacity building for the members of the Inter-ministerial state committee for combating illicit production, trade and drug abuse in the Republic of North Macedonia.

This educational workshop was organized as part of the regional project “Sustainability of services for key populations in Eastern Europe and Central Asia” supported by the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The activities in the country are implemented by three partner organizations: Stronger together, HERA and HOPS.

The purpose of this workshop was to update the members of the Committee on harm reduction programs, as well as to initiate a coordination process for the preparation of the new national drug strategy which should be developed by end of 2020.

The lecturers of the workshop were: Vlatko Dekov, Advocacy manager and harm reduction expert at HOPS, Lidija Savić, Pharmacist and Chair of the Inter-ministerial committee on drugs, Heidi Sterjova Simonović, project coordinator and Dr Darko Kostovski, Psychiatrist specializing in the field of drug addiction treatment.

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.

Coming Out of Unemployment

Youth workers from five countries: Serbia, North Macedonia, Croatia, Montenegro and Bosnia Herzegovina took part in nine days long training hosted by the Association Rainbow in Serbia (Šabac) from 8 to 16 May 2019, for obtaining adequate knowledge about social entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship in general. The concept of training was developed out of the study visit in Spain and personal years-long experience of the Association Rainbow as the project leader in this field.

Participants also learned how to transfer their knowledge as trainers from experienced trainers and now they are able to disseminate the acquired knowledge and skills further in their countries. This will lead to the domino effect where youth workers continue to transfer their knowledge and skills to others through their own trainings after this project is completed, whereas in doing so we increase the duration for which the aims of this project will be achieved.

The Erasmus + project “Coming Out of Unemployment” is related to raising capacity of youth workers with the aim of acquiring knowledge and skills and also raising their professional competence in working on the economic empowerment of the LGBT population through the development of social entrepreneurship. Populations which are not economically empowered cannot adequately nor in the long run advocate for the practicing of their human rights.

The project participants encompass six organizations from Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Croatia, Bosnia Herzegovina and Spain, which want to share experiences and improve the economic position of LGBT persons and in this way secure the fight for their human rights and sustainability of LGBT NGOs in the long run. Members of these organizations will, through active work, acquire knowledge and skills for practical work and further transferring of knowledge in the field of developing social entrepreneurship, raising capacity and empowering young LGBT persons to become entrepreneurs.

One of the results of the project will be “The Manual on the Development of Social Entrepreneurship” which will provide guidelines for future trainers and help them realize their trainings, thus reaching medium-term and long-term aims of this project.

The concluding activity of the project will be a working conference taking place in Serbia. It will gather 100 participants from partner organizations, public institutions, embassies, the donor community, and the media with the aim of presenting the results of the project and influencing the state policy concerning the economic empowerment of the LGBT population.

More about the project is available following this link>>>

Training for a safe night environment

DPNSEE member organizations Re Generation and Udruga Terra joined in two days training activity, held in Rijeka, Croatia on 11 and 12 April 2019. The training “New psychoactive substances and outreach for a safe night environment” was held by Irena Molnar i Bojan Arsenijević from Serbian NGO Re Generation.

The purpose of the training was raising the capacity of young people and work with their peers in order to have a safer night environment. Re Generacija’s Training of peer educators for volunteering in nightlife setting and on festivals includes following topics:

  • Drugs – tradition – illness or crime
  • Harm Reduction Programs. Nightlife outreach and peer education (may include good examples of practice around the globe)
  • Prevention of the final negative outcome (overdose) and basic First AID for nightlife setting
  • New psychoactive substances (may include different examples of drug checking services)

Young activists of the Association Terra team, employees and volunteers, engaged in harm reduction program, visited the clubs of youth gathering in Rijeka with Re Generation representatives, evaluated the information and reports from training in practice.

Executive Training on gender dimensions in drug policy

Pompidou Group – the Council of Europe’s drug policy cooperation platform – organises an Executive Training on gender dimensions in drug policy. The purpose of the training is to assist managers responsible for the implementation of drug policies and programmes to effectively integrate gender perspectives and dimensions into all aspects of their work from planning strategic tools, developing normative standards, designing and delivering thematic and regional programmes and working through the project cycle.

The training is tailored for managers from governmental or other institutions and organisations responsible for developing and/or implementing drug policies and/or coordinating related programme implementation, service delivery and cooperation with stakeholders and representatives from civil society organisations working in various sectors of drug field.

The training course consists of the two modules that are conducted during two in-residence seminars:

  • 1st Module: Seminar – Setting the scene, to be held 2 – 4 April 2019 in Amsterdam
  • 2nd Module: Seminar – From practice to reflection, scheduled for 25 – 28 June 2019 in Israel

The application deadline is 10 February 2019. To apply for the Training, please contact the Permanent Correspondent of your country or the Secretariat of the Pompidou Group.

A brochure about the training is available following this link>>>>

If interested, have a look at the video bellow

Montenegro closed the circle

The training for civil society organisations in Montenegro was the third in raw, to complete the serial of trainings organised in the project countries. It was held in Podgorica from 3 to 5 October 2018.

More info coming soon!

Media coverage from the PR Centre is available following this link>>>

Training for the civil society organisations in Serbia

Association Prevent and Drug Policy Network SEE organized a three-day training “Advocacy of Budgetary Financing of the Harm Reduction Programs in Serbia” from 25 to 27 September at Mt. Avala, near Belgrade. The training was attended by 16 representatives of organizations: Bečej Youth Association, Timok Youth Center, Policy Analysis and Policy Creation Group, Association Remiks, Association Prevent and DPNSEE. The training was led by experts from Macedonia’s Healthy Options Project Skopje and ESE.

The training included general information and practical steps in the advocacy and monitoring process. In addition, Dr Jasmina Tanasić from the Standing Conference of Cities and Municipalities presented the Budget programming model used in the country.

A one-year budget support plan for harm reduction program in Serbia was prepared. According to the plan, in the forthcoming period an analysis of the budget of the Republic of Serbia (Ministry of Health, alcohol and tobacco excise, income from games of chance and opportunity) will be carried out and 4 projects by 4 organizations on the following topics:

  1. Cost-benefit analysis
  2. Analysis of open calls of the Ministry of Health
  3. Political parties and harm reduction
  4. Promotion of the project and results in the public

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.

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.

Regional training on budget advocacy and monitoring

Why is it necessary to advocate for adequate funding of drug use harm reduction programs?
Which changes do we expect to achieve by advocating for adequate funding?

The regional training on budget advocacy and monitoring, held from 21 to 23 December 2017 in the hotel Romantik in Veles, Macedonia, tried to provide answers to these and many other questions. The training was organized by HOPS – Healthy Options, Skopje, with the support of the Foundation Open Society – Macedonia and conducted by experts from The Association for Emancipation, Solidarity and Equality of Women – ESE from Skopje.

The participants of the training gained knowledge that will help in their efforts to obtain financial resources from the state authorities, and covered topics that point out the problems that the organizations are experiencing due to insufficient funds, as well as the activities that the organizations can take to solve them. In addition, the process of budget analysis as a basis for advocating for creation of an effective budget as well as the procedures that are important in the process of monitoring and analysis of budgets were analysed.

11 participants come from six harm reduction civil society organisations from the region who are faced with a lack of funding for their programs after the departure of the Global Fund: Prevent and DPNEE from Serbia, Margina and PROI from Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Juventas and Cazas from Montenegro (all members of DPNSEE), and two came from local organisation Becej Youth Association from Bečej, Serbia and Group for Public Policies from Belgrade.