Two additional workshops held

Two additional workshops for service providers and shelter staff on gender-responsive HIV/harm reduction services, healthcare and social needs of women who use drugs, stigma, discrimination and prevention of gender-based violence were held in Novi Sad (on 19 May, at OPENS) and Niš (21 May, EU info point Nis). The workshops were organised in scope of the “Emergency support for the provision of HIV and Harm Reduction services among key populations in Ukraine and refugees in selected neighbouring countries” project.

The content of the workshops was designed on the basis of the training accredited by the Chamber of Social Work, as well as many years of experience of the NGO Re Generacija in research and in the field, in Serbia and internationally.

The training placed a special focus on prevention of stigma and discrimination, prevention and response to gender-based violence, as well as co-dependency and trauma, to ensure greater awareness and understanding of comprehensive gender-sensitive services for women who use drugs, living with HIV, and/or are at risk of gender-based violence.

Women, Violence, and the Use of Drugs

A workshop for service providers and shelter staff on gender-responsive HIV/harm reduction services, healthcare and social needs of women who use drugs, stigma, discrimination and prevention of gender-based violence was held in Belgrade. This was the first out of three workshop organised in scope of the “Emergency support for the provision of HIV and Harm Reduction services among key populations in Ukraine and refugees in selected neighbouring countries” project.

Thanks to support of the Office for Combating Drugs, the workshop was held in the Palace of Serbia. 16 representatives came from governmental institutions and civil society organisations. Trainers were Irena Molnar and Stefan Pejić from ReGeneration.

The workshop highlighted the unique reasons, risks, and effects of drug use among women, emphasizing the need for tailored approaches and non-punitive measures. The topics that were discussed at the workshop included:

  • Drug use. HIV and violence – the specificities of risk in women
  • Basic concepts, definitions, intersectionality – sexism, sexual, sexualized and gender-based violence
  • Access to services and needs for women living with HIV and/or using psychoactive controlled substances
  • My bad habit – co-dependency and trauma


Workshop on civil society advocacy

The Civil Society Forum on Drugs (CSFD) organised an on-site Workshop on civil society advocacy from 23th to 24th November in Madrid, with the support from UNAD, International Drug Policy Consortium, Rights Reporter and AFEW.

Since advocacy is an important tool for civil society members to achieve their main goal of influencing public policies, this training workshop brought together representatives from Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in the field of drugs in order to improve their capacities in formulating, implementing and evaluating advocacy actions.

Several participants came from the DPNSEE member organisations. The participants’ profile was:

  • Civil society representatives and service providers in the field of drug use and drug demand reduction which have their main base of operation in an EU member state, EEA, acceding, candidate or potential candidate country(*). They are members of the Civil Society Forum on Drugs or related to one the members’ networks.
  • Highly motivated to improve their capacities in the area of advocacy and will be able to implement and share gained knowledge and information within their organisation.

The workshop was an interactive training with open space to intervene and to create new tools for advocacy in a hostile environment. Excellent presentations were delivered by Peter Sarosi and Marie Nougier.

Ready for the Workshop 2?

Participants of the “No risk, no borders for young people” gathered at the Zoom meeting on 18 August 2021. The aim was to see again familiar faces, chat about how summer went/is going, share about the experiences from the youth exchange opportunities they had and check if everything is in order for the Workshop 2 scheduled for 26 – 29 August in Velipojë, Albania.

Evaluating and planning summer activities

The Project Team meeting of the No risk, no borders for young people project was held online on 30 July 2021.

The Project Team shared impression that the youth exchange which was offered for (at least) one young activist from each partner organisation was a success. Besides practical on hand work with young people in risk, it was an excellent opportunity to share with the peers and learn about the host city.

Most of the meeting was dedicated to preparations for the Workshop scheduled for 26 to 29 August 2021 in Velipojë. Several improvements and additions to the agenda were introduced during the meeting. Logistics is already arranged, including travel, accommodation, working space and food.

First ideas sharing about the Curriculum content and trainers was held. We shall open a call for experts soon so that we make the selection at the Workshop 2. Also, we shall have a deeper discussion about the Curriculum there and make the final decisions.


Workshop on preparation of a new National Drug Strategy 2021 – 2025

HOPS – Healthy Options Project Skopje, within the regional project Sustainability of services for key populations in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (#SoS_project) supported by the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, facilitates the workshop of the multi-sectorial working group on preparations of the National Drug Strategy 2021 – 2025 and the Action Plan 2021 – 2023.

The multi-sectorial working group was established by the Minister of Health. It consists of representatives from all relevant ministries, state institutions and civil society organizations. The workshop is being held in Ohrid from 14 to 18 September 2020.

The purpose of this workshop is to prepare the new National Drug Strategy 2021 – 2025, which by the end of the year should be adopted by the Government of the Republic of Northern Macedonia.

Regional workshop on gathering data on human rights violations

The Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA) will conduct a 2-day regional workshop for activists and professionals from South East Europe countries “Gathering data on human rights violations and reaction mechanisms” on 18-19 March 2020, in Belgrade, Serbia.

The workshop is conducted as part of the three-year multi-country project “Sustainability of Services for Key Populations in Eastern Europe and Central Asia” (#SoS project).

Goal of the workshop is to equip activists and professionals in South East Europe countries with knowledge on principles and mechanisms of data collection on human rights violations against key populations and follow-up reaction.


  • To discuss the most common human rights violations and gender barriers to access HIV prevention and care services.
  • To examine methodologies of data collection on human rights violations (cases).
  • To provide in-depth information on UN treaty bodies and processes of shadow reports submissions.
  • To understand the follow-up system for its systematic and effective use.

Facilitators of the workshop – Mikhail Golichenko, International Legal Consultant, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, and Maria Plotko, Program Officer, Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA).

The workshop will gather over 25 activists and professionals from NGOs, human rights and community organizations from 5 South East Europe countries – implementors of the SoS project – Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, The Republic of North Macedonia, Romania and Serbia) who are either engaged into the human rights protection work or eager to start working over cases on human rights violations and follow-up reaction on them.

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


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).

Transition of TB program in Romania

Source: Regional Civil Society and Community Support, Coordination and Communication Platform – EECA

35 participants including civil society representatives, CCM members, Global Fund Portfolio Manager, experts from neighbouring countries and representatives of the governmental structures gathered in Bucharest on 13 – 14 of June at a workshop “Transition from the Global Fund support of TB program to national funding: understanding the role, opportunities and priorities for civil society in Romania” to discuss what they can do for a greater sustainability of the country’s responses to the TB and HIV epidemics.

Based on the Global Fund Board’s decision in November 2016 on the allocation of resources for the 2017-2019 allocation period, Romania has been allocated € 4,052,972 for tuberculosis and building resilient and sustainable systems for health. The implementation of this new TB grant in Romania formally started in March 2019 and it is planned to finish its implementation in March 2021. This grant is being considered as the last TB grant for the country to support the transition processes. Although the new Global Fund 2019 Eligibility List does mention Romania as being eligible for TB funding again, yet, the eligibility does not guarantee an allocation, and it is not clear if Romania will be allocated any further funding to support the TB response in 2020 – 2022.

Although Romania is ineligible to receive Global Fund funding for HIV response since 2010 when its last Global Fund HIV grant came to an end, the current “transition grant”, as well as all previous TB grants to Romania, includes a significant component on HIV prevention among key affected populations (KPs). Therefore, civil society mobilization for joint advocacy to ensure the domestic funding of HIV prevention activities among KPs is essential.

At the same time, according to the Global Fund’s Eligibility List 2019 Romania may be eligible for an allocation for HIV/AIDS for non-governmental or civil society organizations if the country demonstrates the barriers to providing funding for interventions for key populations, as supported by the country’s epidemiology. The Global Fund Secretariat will assess whether the criteria have been met at the time of determining allocations for the 2020-2022 allocation period. The decision on the countries‘ allocations within the next 2020-2022 allocation period to be made by the Global Fund Board in November 2019.

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.