Bridging the Gaps: Health And Rights For Key Populations

Project donor(s)
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands 2011-2015* CCCF “New Family”, NGO “Information Center for Human Rights”, O. Yaremenko Ukrainian Institute for Social Research, KRCF “Return to Life”, KCCF “Blago”, PRCF “Public Health”

Mission: Sex workers, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and people who use drugs are typically 10 to 20 times more likely to become infected by HIV while only 8% have access to HIV services. The denial of human rights has a negative impact on their health.

The mission is to achieve universal access to HIV/STI prevention, treatment, care and support for sex workers, LGBT people and people who use drugs. In our approach we want to create added value by focusing simultaneously on all 3 key populations and on the crossovers between them in one single programme. Moreover, we link human rights and health as well as community level work with global advocacy. Our work consists of 21 key population projects in 16 countries, as well as 4 global advocacy projects. As an alliance of 5 Dutch-based organisations, 4 global key population networks and more than 60 local partner organisations Bridging the Gaps is the biggest programme of its kind that works with and for the health and rights of key populations.

Bridging the Gaps works through 4 different projects in 16 countries:

  • Female, male and transgender sex workers projects (Uganda, Vietnam, African trucking corridors)
  • People using drugs projects with specific focus on injecting drug users (Georgia, Indonesia, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Ukraine)
  • LGBT projects, especially focusing on MSM (Botswana, Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, South Africa, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Zimbabwe)
  • Global advocacy project on key populations.

The project in Ukraine is aimed at improving the human rights of drug users by changing social attitudes and government policies, and improving the services they can access. This will reduce the HIV risks they face, reduce HIV prevalence, and improve their overall health.

The project focuses on a number of key activities to achieve its objectives. It will:

  • Expand access to comprehensive, user-friendly services for drug users, overcoming the limitations of the ‘vertical’ health care system inherited from the former Soviet Union;
  • Support local organisations to develop comprehensive, high-quality HIV and harm reduction services. This will include services for most-at-risk adolescents and vulnerable young women;
  • Pilot youth-friendly services for IDUs that can provide the evidence needed to persuade decision makers to adopt an integrated, national approach.

Results (2014)

  • 1,607 people who use drugs received 35,428 medical, legal, psychological and other support services (66 of them are minors from the rehabilitation centre)
  • 8,387 people received counselling on safe behaviour and available services through social and public invents
  • 35,428 support services were provided to drug users
  • 80 partner organisations are involved in partnership networks
  • 4 social bureaus have been opened in the regions and currently provide support services

AFEW-Ukraine’s work with vulnerable youth in Ukraine in 2015.

* Transition period of the project lasts from 1 January till 30 June, 2016.