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Experts discussed the outlook for regional advocacy initiatives

October 24, 2018

For successful advocacy in EECA countries, it is necessary to consolidate all key groups at the country level, as well as have access to city authorities. At the #Partnership Forum, representatives of organizations working with global donors discussed the implementation of common plans, shared successful activity tools and made recommendations for future regional initiatives.

The efficiency of regional projects is first and foremost measured at the country level. And the transition to a lower level is very important for donors. “Regional projects are powerful, but it is difficult to talk about their results at the regional level. This is the level for holding events, and actual results are always at the country level”, said Igor Gordon, who represents the EHRA. – “Regional projects in the Global Fund are now called “multi-country”, and this is not just a word. Thereby emphasizing the interaction between countries.

The ECUO “Partnership” Project in the near future will publish a baseline assessment, which will demonstrate the situation dynamics over the past 3 years at the country level. In addition, the organization has an ARV monitoring that allows you to see what is happening with the provision of medicines, who procures them, how much, and how much government financing is involved.
“To date, we have 11 country consortia,” Andrei Kosinov, a representative of the Regional #Partnership Program, said. – “Practically each of them carried out strategic planning and outlined a work plan for the near future, passed an audit, is able to create documents necessary for advocacy activities. The positive effect is that the consortium is getting stronger”.

The Eurasian Coalition for Male Health has also developed a toolkit that will be useful to partners in the implementation of other projects and programs. These include, in particular, the analysis of services for MSM and the financial gap analysis.

ECOM is completing the second year of the implementation of the “Right to Health” program, whose main goal is to improve access to medical services for gay, bisexual and trans-people in the EECA region. The program will be implemented all next year, and the organizers expect that the regional assessment will show the dynamics, give more information about the groups.
“Access to services is impossible without respectful attitude, service provision must be tolerant, without stigma and discrimination. Therefore, we try to achieve this goal in many ways – through working with the communities in the country coordinating committees, and through recommendations to the countries of the UN committees, in which we also present reports with our participation, and through the activity of the community itself”, said Yelena Herman, program director of ECOM.

Karen Badalyan from the Eurasian Key Populations Health Network spoke about the methods that help the organization implement the project “Strengthening the gender response in the context of HIV /AIDS for girls, women and trans people”, funded by the Robert Carr Foundation. The project has been operating for the third year.

One of the main tools for the successful implementation of the project are small grants for gender and HIV activities, which are allocated to regional organizations.

“We will continue this practice, therefore, I invite all partners to follow up on activities, we will announce the next competition early next year, and I hope that together with you we can implement gender factors in the context of HIV/AIDS in our countries,” said Karen Badalyan about the mechanisms allowing you to have constant interaction with groups.
The next important factor is the training activities. EKHN organized the Gender Academy in the region, where they invite activists, officials, representatives of civil society, other structures to learn academic knowledge of gender, but also get equipped with practical skills to put this knowledge into practice in the fight against HIV.

“Our third very important tool is the steering committee, which includes 7 more representatives of civil society from different countries who take an executive role in the organization”, said Karen Badalyan. “Our mission is to provide sustainable development goals for key groups. They take part in the decisions of the organization, because we consist only of key groups”.

In addition to communication among members of key communities, it is very important to contact local authorities, health facilities and even politicians. The success of such a strategy is demonstrated by the EECA Cities project implemented by the Public Health Alliance and partners.

“There is not always enough capacity in civil society organizations working in the public health sector to effectively advocate political issues. We need to form wider coalitions, we need to work with politicians, parties, budget committees, financial entities in order to be successful in planning and making political decisions”, said Tatiana Deshko of the Public Health Alliance.

Tatyana Deshko, Public Health Alliance, Ukraine, on the #Partnership forum

According to the representative of the Alliance, in communicating with municipalities, active communication with the media is very useful. Indeed, publicity and demonstration of progress, as well as public understanding of the issues raised, are important for local authorities.

This year, Odesa adopted a city program on HIV and tuberculosis for 2 years, allocating USD2.5 million from the city budget. “This is a great achievement. It is also possible for other cities, because in connection with the decentralization, the city is authorized to manage considerable funds. In Odesa, this turned out to be a real political dialogue in all media, the city plunged into public discussion”, says Tatyana Deshko.

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