On November 14 -15, IDPC conducted a two-day civil society workshop on advocacy for drug policy reform in Kenya. In recent years, Kenya has adopted a harm reduction approach, and is on the verge of starting needle and syringe programmes and opioid substitution therapy. There are a number of NGOs working with people who use drugs in the country, providing outreach services, testing and counselling, information and advice. There are an estimated 50,000 people who inject drugs in Kenya (predominantly in Nairobi and the coastal region), and high-risk behaviour such as needle sharing appear to be very high. A study conducted by the International HIV/AIDS Alliance in Kenya found that 48.4% of people who inject drugs had reportedly used somebody else's syringe during their last injection.
The training was requested by the Kenyan AIDS NGOs Consortium (KANCO) as part of the Community Action on Harm Reduction (CAHR) project. There were 17 participants from KANCO, the newly-formed Kenyan Network of People who Use Drugs (KenPUD), and several of the leading drug service providers from Nairobi and the coastal region. The workshop focused specifically on drug policy advocacy (an area of work that is particularly needed by local NGOs in the current political context) and covered:
- an overview of the international, regional and national drug policy situations;
- principles and examples of effective drug policies;
- how to advocate for harm reduction approaches;
- the role of civil society and the best ways to advocate for policy reform.
The feedback from the workshop was unanimously positive, and the group enjoyed a number of group exercises and activities.
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