Alliance Ukraine’s experiences were invaluable to the Social Awareness Service Organisation (SASO), in planning an effective outreach strategy to this very marginalised group, and increasing the sustainability of its programmes.
SASO, a partner of Alliance India, has been running programmes for female drug users since 2007. It recognises the difficulty of reaching women who inject drugs and their unique needs and vulnerabilities.
So does Alliance Ukraine, which through a comprehensive programme funded through the Global Fund, has been reaching these women through a community centre for the last 10 months.
Step by step
Step by Step is the community centre, and Alliance Ukraine’s implementing partner.
It has found that peer intervention is the most successful way to reach female injecting drug users.
By providing a range of confidential services through peer outreach, the programme has been able to reach women either at the community centre or at their homes.
“This peer driven model has a real potential to be used for outreach in Manipur to reach hidden female injecting drug users,” says Joydeep Sen, programme officer at Alliance India
While in Ukraine the India team also met with members from the ‘Eney
Club’ and ‘Vertikal’, also Alliance Ukraine implementing partners,
which provide services for current and ex-drug users. Both provide a
safe space where clients can access information, counselling, testing,
rehabilitation services, needle exchange, legal support, and a weekly
12 step programme.
In all the services it is evident that peer support and assured confidentially is key to attracting service users.
Peer educators who are also injecting and recovering drug users are crucial to reaching female injecting drug users. A training module developed by Alliance Ukraine will be adapted to help SASO peer educators to build effective outreach skills.
The training will play an important role in equipping peers to provide quality information and motivation to the new clients.
This peer driven model has a real potential to be used for outreach in Manipur to reach hidden female injecting drug users