AFEW Towards Changes. Highlights 2021.

In 2021 we FINALIZED 2 projects:

1. Flex Fund “Young, Wild and … free?” project

Learning from and building on good practices in the ‘Bridging the Gaps’ programme, this project addressed the different needs of young key population members and the barriers they experience in accessing SRHR, HIV, and harm reduction services through tailored approaches. AFEW International and its local partners were responsible for scale-up of good practices in reaching and engaging young people in Russia and Ukraine.

What was done?

  • A community-based participatory research (CBPR) in 3 Russian regions;
  • Research and new interventions for young people under 18 to prevent risky sexual and drug use behaviours in schools, colleges, and technical schools in four towns in Russia;
  • Online webinars to exchange best practices in organising work with young people who use drugs between AFEW Ukraine and NGOs from South Africa, Vietnam, Kenya, and Russia;
  • Capacity building and engagement of young people in the promotion of SRHR and human rights in social media in Ukraine;
  • Distribution of small grants to support young key population communities throughout Russia.


2. Emergency Support Fund for Key Populations in the EECA region (ESF)

ESF, led by AFEW International and Aidsfonds since 2018 with support of the Elton John AIDS Fouondation, strived for a comprehensive response to emergencies threatening HIV service provision for key populations in the EECA region and supported activities ranging from advocacy and prevention to treatment and care in terms of HIV and co-infections.

What was done?

230 projects from 10 countries in EECA (Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan) were funded. During 3 years of operation ESF has received about 600 applications.

For many organisations this support mechanism helped to overcome funding gaps and ensure continuity in emergency situations, especially in the countries where space for civil society initiatives continues to shrink due to local legislation changes.

AFEW International and Aidsfonds are currently exploring opportunities for new rapid response mechanisms for EECA region building on the lessons learnt from ESF.


In 2021 we STARTED 2 projects:

1. Expansion and improvement of HIV prevention services in Uzbekistan

In May 2021, AFEW International, together with a local partner NGO “ISHONCH VA HAYOT” (a community based membership NGO uniting key populations), launched a 2-year project “Expansion and improvement of HIV services in Uzbekistan” with the support of the Elton John AIDS Foundation. The project addresses the existing gaps in the access of KPs to testing and relevant HIV services in the country.

On September 28-30 the first training session for outreach workers “Introducing assisted self-testing for HIV among KP” took place in Tashkent. The training  ensured that the outreach workers are equipped to provide quality consultation on testing and HIV to the KPs and refer those KP representatives who tested HIV-positive to the AIDS Center and related services, and that information on the KPs is collected accurately and safely.


2. Health for key populations

In September EU-Russia Civil Society Forum and AFEW International launched a project to strengthen the capacity of Russian civil society organisations involved in supporting key populations in the context of HIV/AIDS.

4 projects from Voronezh, Kemerovo, Omsk, and St. Petersburg were supported with small grants up to 4500 EUR.

In December a capacity building and organisational development webinar and a two-day knowledge exchange and learning events in Moscow were organised for awarded organisations. The final online meeting of the project is scheduled for January 2022.


In 2021 we CONTINUED 4 projects: 

1. EU COVID-19 Solidarity Programme for the Eastern Partnership countries

This programme has been launched in July 2020 in the Eastern Partnership countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine) and continues in 2021 as comprehensive response to emergencies threatening key populations in the aftermath of COVID-19. Through small grants to community-based organisations (CBOs), working with vulnerable groups, with activities ranging from advocacy and prevention, to treatment and care in terms of COVID-19 implications, AFEW International together with consortium partners and with support of European Union responds to arising and anticipated post-pandemic challenges.

What was done in 2021?

In April we launched a new call for proposals for CBOs. The small grants up to € 3.500 were provided for immediate material needs arising from COVID-19 related measures. 61 proposals were received and 10 projects were funded, of which 5 are from Ukraine, 2 from Georgia, 2 from Armenia, and 1 from Moldova. Throughout the year we have also been preparing and disseminating bi-weekly and quarterly COVID-19 situation reports.


2. Civil Society Forum on Drugs project

Civil Society Forum on Drugs is an expert group of the European Commission that was created in 2007, based on the Commission Green paper on the role of civil society in drugs policy in the EU.The role of AFEW International within the project is to contribute to the following activities:

  • Development of quality standards for meaningful civil society involvement into drug policy formulation on the national level (READ THE REPORT);
  • Development of national civil society networking structures to improve the linkage between European and national civil society organisations (CSOs);
  • Strengthening of advocacy capacities among national CSOs through the organisation of an advocacy training event.

What was done in 2021?

In November a two-day workshop was organized in Madrid for 40 civil society representatives from Europe. Participants of the workshop improved their capacities in planning, implementing, evaluating and communicating advocacy actions. During this event, AFEW International organised a presentation “How to advocate for reform in difficult environments – responding to shrinking civil society space”.


3. Together against tuberculosis

This project financed by TB Reach Wave 8 initiative of “Stop TB” Partnership/UNOPS aims at increasing the number of detected TB cases with the help of private medical health care providers.

What was done in 2021?

In October AFEW International, together with AFEW-Kyrgyzstanand KNCV-Kyrgyzstan, organized an institutional capacity-building workshop for tuberculosis control service and private health care providers in Kyrgyzstan. A total of 30 participants attended the workshop, including participants from MoH Kyrgyzstan, representatives of private health care providers, doctors from National TB Program, representatives from NGOs, and international experts.


4. Comprehensive support to SRHR and social wellbeing of vulnerable adolescents

The goal of this project coordinated by “FOCUS-MEDIA” Foundation is to strengthen the organisational, methodological and advocacy capacity of 9 NGOs to provide comprehensive support to SRHR and social well-being of vulnerable adolescents in Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Rostov-on-Don regions of Russia.
The role of AFEW International is to provide support on community-based participatory research methodology, as well as share the knowledge on international monitoring and evaluation standards and introduce a change story format into the organisations’ work.

What was done in 2021?

In July AFEW International contributed to the training focused on exchanging the intermediate projects’ results of and building fundraising, communication, and monitoring and evaluation capacity of participants.

In October-December further support to the project sub-grantees was provided by the AFEW International consultant through one-on-one consultation both online and offline (during the site visit to Yekaterinburg) at the stage of their narrative reporting, which integrated a change story format and additional questions.


In 2021 we organized virtual EECA INTERACT 2021:

In November 2021, we organized the second scientific workshop on HIV, Hepatitis C and Tuberculosis in Eastern Europe and Central Asia EECA INTERACT 2021 online.

What was done?

128 representatives of government organisations, foundations, research institutes, universities, and journalists attended the event. The workshop included 3 sessions:

  • Integration of HIV, TB, and overdose prevention services;
  • Surveillance focused on data collection, validation, and analysis;
  • Impact of COVID-19 on services.


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