Workshop on Employing people who use drugs in harm reduction in Bangkok

On April 8-10, 2014 Regional Technical Support Hub for Eastern Europe and Central Asia together with India HIV/AIDS Alliance and COACT conducted a workshop on Employing people who use drugs in harm reduction in Bangkok, Thailand. The workshop gathered CAHR partners from China, India, Indonesia, Kenya, and Malaysia. The participants had a chance to exchange their knowledge and practices on employing people who use drugs in harm reduction programmes and share personal experiences.

The aim of the workshop facilitated by Mat Southwell (COACT), Charanjit Sharma (Alliance India) and Maryna Braga (Alliance Ukraine) was to promote the employment of people who use drugs in the Alliance family and to extend current practice based on the Guide to Employing People who Use Drugs in Harm Reduction. The workshop served as one of the steps in development of the Guide featuring good practices across Alliance partner organisations.

Topics discussed during the workshop included: developing a workplace charter around the employment of PWUD, hopes and fears of employing PWUD, setting minimum workplace standards, burnout prevention, etc. Practical sessions allowed participants to develop skills on dealing with challenging situations that can arise when managing harm reduction programmes. The participants found the workshop useful and it helped them to set up goals on improving the system on employing people who use drugs in their countries.

‘All the topics were very useful and I found them all to be very important. It also gave us more knowledge on the issues thus making me aware of my weaknesses and where to pull up socks in our organization.’

‘This workshop is good from the point of view of time, place and environment.’

‘The facilitators' technique was great encouraging people to become more engaged and attracted to contribute. Broad level of understanding. Also sometimes triggering participants to realize that knowledge is not only what's given in the workshop but also within their practical experience.’