Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs
BRIDGING THE GAPS FLEX FUND “YOUNG, WILD … AND FREE”
AFEW International together with four other Alliance of the Bridging the Gaps partners (AFEW, MPACT Global, Mainline and Aidsfonds) implement this project 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.
In the beginning of 2020, 18 young researchers representing various key populations between the ages of 15-24 from Kenya, Russia, South Africa and Vietnam were selected to follow a learning trajectory on community based participatory research. This trajectory included an online webinar/e-learning course on CBPR organised by AFEW International, Mainline and Health(e)Foundation, a face-to-face workshop in March 2020 in the Netherlands, followed by the implementation of the research in the four selected countries in 2020. The young researchers were equipped with research methodologies, interview skills and ethical considerations concerning youth research, which allowed them to better understand their peers’ barriers and specific needs for harm reduction, HIV and SRHR services. The research took place from April to October 2020 and contributed to the body of knowledge on how to best reach and engage young key population members and to design culturally and age appropriate (SRHR and HIV) services. In 2021 the four researches are being summarised and published for wider distribution to young key population organisations and leaders as well as international organisations working with young key populations.
On May 15, 2020 and June 6, 2020, two webinars were held for participants from South Africa, Vietnam, Kenya and Russia, during which colleagues from AFEW-Ukraine shared their experience and best practices in organising work with young people who use drugs. The webinars created space to exchange information on working with adolescents who use drugs, risk behaviour of juvenile drug users and contributing factors like mental illness during adolescence. Other topics included outreach in remote and rural areas; and involving leaders, how to select and train leaders, their role, and the procedure for supporting leadership projects. Practical tools and materials were exchanged, including a tool for monitoring and addressing rights violations, a manual on working with teenagers and tools for family involvement – “Family Group Conferences”.
Similarly, russian partners were introduced to the experience of Lighthouse (Vietnam) via a series of webinars which was held in St. Petersburg on August 20-21, 2020.
Community-based participatory research
To identify barriers of the young key populations in the access to such services, a community-based participatory research (CBPR) in the three regions of the Russian Federation was conducted by partners in Moscow, Novosibirsk and Rostov-on-Don. Financial support for the research was provided by AFEW International in the framework of the “Young, Wild and … free?” project.