Doing research in public health, specifically on HIV prevention, is one of the primary activities for the AIDS Foundation East-West Russia (AFEW-Russia). 

Under the ‘Young, Wild… and Free?’ project AFEW-Russia researched risky behavior among teenagers of the secondary schools in Nizhny Novgorod region as well as among young patients of the drug use rehabilitation center there.

Irina Zarubina (AFEW-Russia)

“We were surprised to discover a couple of interesting observations.

First of all, students and patients of the rehabilitation center mostly do not differ from each other in terms of socio-demographic characteristics.  For example, they have a complete family (mom and dad) and go to school. This suggests that, despite an existing stereotype, a complete family is not good protection against the development of risky behavior.

And secondly, one-third of teenage students have low self-esteem and perceive themselves negatively in one way or another.  They feel like failures, think they have nothing to be proud of and that they are useless.  In addition, one-third of the responding students feel like outsiders among others, and this “strangeness” is the reason for the negative attitude towards them.  These findings require special attention since low self-esteem and “strangeness” can influence the development of risky behavior among teenagers”.

Developing targeted materials

Under the final sustainability phase of the project, Russian implementers (led by AFEW Russia) developed different ways to present the results and findings of studies and research about young key populations conducted during the project for 6 different target audiences (in Russian): teachers, parents, doctors, social workers, psychologists, and other NGOs. Not only it allowed them to customize and adapt information to the needs and interests of each target groups in a comprehensive form, but they were also able to share these skills of developing targeted materials with 11 interested partner NGOs in a series of webinars.  They have also organised webinars for NGOs on how to present their achievements and projects to business representatives in order to get support for future impact.

For reference

AFEW International together with four other Alliance of the Bridging the Gaps partners (AFEW, MPACT Global, Mainline and Aidsfonds) implement the project ‘Young, Wild… and Free?’ aimed at sharing and scaling the best practices in reaching youth within the Bridging the Gaps and optimising HIV/SRHR related services for and engagement of young people in all elements of work.

Within this project, AFEW International’s local partners are Coalition of Harm Reduction NGOs “Outreach”, AFEW Ukraine, AFEW Russia and Public Health and Social Development Foundation “Focus-Media”. One of AFEW International’s roles in the project was to facilitate a learning visit for AFEW Russia and Focus-Media Foundation to Ukraine to learn from the best practices of AFEW-Ukraine in their work with young key populations.


For more details check the documents

A participatory youth-led research on the needs of young key populations. Do young key populations in Russia have access to sexual and reproductive health services?

 Lessons learned in the scale-up of good practices in reaching and engaging young key populations in Young, Wild and… Free? 

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