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Type of submission: Oral
Conference track: Practice
Topics: Creating Enabling Environments; Funding and Donors for Harm Reduction
Presenting author: Elie Aaraj
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Elie Aaraj, Patricia Haddad
The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is a complex region that is faced with continuous wars and security issues in a number of its countries. The region is also known for its religious culture and the role that this culture plays in shaping laws and policies. Given these circumstances, harm reduction is not a priority in the region, making it extremely challenging to advocate for and implement such programs. From 2012 to 2016, the Middle East and North Africa Harm Reduction Association (MENAHRA) managed a regional Global Fund Round 10 grant focused on strengthening the role of civil society organizations in harm reduction - the first of its kind in the region. The program, in spite of the many challenges it faced, succeeded in increasing harm reduction culture and visibility within some countries of the region.
During this presentation, the successes and challenges of each element of the program will be briefly presented, followed by lessons learned to move forward. Elements of the program include networking, advocacy, research, capacity building and technical assistance, service delivery, material development and general management, monitoring and evaluation.
In the discussion of the elements above, the specificity of a regional grant and the challenges that were faced in adhering to Global Fund guidelines tailored for national grants will be highlighted. Moreover, the role that the situation of the region played in affecting the outcome of these elements will be discussed. Finally, a description of how the lessons learned from this grant were built upon and utilized to develop and refine the activities that were included in the MENAHRA-RANAA joint application for the New Funding Model.