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The Russian Project
September 2001 - April 2003
Gay Men's Health was approached in 2001 by a Russian organisation called Assistance 2000, who worked in Sverdlovsk Oblast on the edge of Siberia and were looking for help in reducing the numbers of new HIV infections in their area. 300 people were being diagnosed each month, and there was a high rate of suicide amongst those diagnosed.
A joint project was set up, with funding from the Department for International Development for initiatives to reduce the number of new infections, and to provide better support to those already living with HIV.
In September 2001 Bruce Fraser (GMH Chief Executive) and Craig Hutchison (Counselling and Support Manager) visited Vladimir and Vadim from Assistance 2000 in Ekaterinburg, to look at potential ways of working together, to develop a plan for action and to meet with local representatives. From this initial visit a future strategy was developed which was intended to strengthen the ability of the voluntary sector in the area to respond to HIV-prevention and support needs.
To put this strategy into action, a second visit to Ekaterinburg in 2002 by Bruce and James Whyte (Community Development Manager), along with Moragh Reid (Positive Help Manager) provided training to people who were interested in creating, developing and improving local organisations to tackle the issue of HIV. This intial training focused on how to set up and manage voluntary organisations. People who attended this training could then apply for funding to develop projects aimed at HIV-prevention and care.
Local representatives from Russia then visited Edinburgh to meet with professionals here and learn from their experience, to take this knowledge back to Russia and start developing new work. They met with the Harm Reduction Team, GUM clinic, SOLAS, Positive Voice and other local organisations to share ideas and develop best practice in the area.
Finally Bruce, James and Craig visited Russia in April 2003 one final time to provide the last training event on working with volunteers, providing support to people living with HIV and to look at the way forward for the future.
The project was a massive success and 14 new organisations were developed and funded in Sverdlovsk Oblast as a result of this work. We are very grateful to Assistance 2000, our partner organisation, the Department for International Development, Vladimir and Vadim for all their hard work (and interpretation skills), the local organisations who agreed to meet with us and our partners, and all our friends and colleagues in Russia. Spasiba Balshoye
Last updated 14th July 2004
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