HIV Young Leaders Fund is pleased to announce four new grantees in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) that are addressing the needs and rights of young women affected by HIV and drug use through advocacy, peer education and community mobilization. Grantees are youth-led initiatives in Kyrgyzstan, the Russian Federation and Ukraine.
HIV increasingly affects young women who use drugs across EECA; women now account for 40 percent of new infections in the region. Young women who use drugs have specific needs that are often not addressed through existing programs and urgently need peer-based initiatives to ensure their access to critical services, including harm reduction, sexual and reproductive health, and HIV and Hepatitis C treatment.
HYLF’s program in EECA is generously supported by the Levi Strauss Foundation and Open Society Foundations.
The four grantees are:
Ganesha: Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
Ganesha is the first youth organization of women who use drugs in Kyrgyzstan. Ganesha will provide harm reduction services in Bishkek, and host education seminars for its members on pregnancy, HIV treatment and other topics. Ganesha will mobilize young women who use drugs and are affected by HIV to speak up for their rights.
Lestnitsa: Orel City, Russian Federation
Lestnitsa will increase young women’s access to healthcare and social services, including HIV treatment and prevention. The community-based organization will also convene a women activist support group, and organize a community dialogue to increase awareness about the needs and rights of women affected by HIV.
Rovno Regional Initiative Group of the Association of Women Affected by HIV in Ukraine: Rovno, Ukraine
Rovno’s project aims to defend the human rights of women who use drugs and are affected by HIV through documenting human rights abuses and conducting advocacy. Rovno will also develop the leadership of young women in their network to participate in advocacy activities.
Shans Plus: Ekaterinburg, Russia Federation
Shans Plus will support young women who use drugs and are living with HIV to access health services, through helping women obtain registration papers, accompanying women to medical appointments to ensure fair treatment and providing legal consultations when womens’ rights are violated.
A Community Review Panel (CRP) of young women from the Eastern Europe & Central Asia region selected grantees. Groups who were not selected received written comments from the review panel to aid in their future proposal development.
“We want human rights abuses to end, because we live in a democratic society,” said Ludmila Vins, Director of Shans Plus. “We will fight for our constitutional human rights to be completely respected. Unfortunately, in our society, to fight alone is a pretty useless strategy. This is why the mobilization of women drug users affected by HIV is the only way out of this situation, [the only way] for it to change for the better.”