Eurasian Harm Reduction Network announces the Small Grants Program “Women for humane drug policy”

20 April 2017


The present Announcement of the small grants program follows the rules and the procedures for the open grant selection of the Eurasian Harm Reduction Network (EHRN) under the project activities, financed by the M·A·C AIDS Fund for community-based organizations and initiative groups of women who use drugs in the region of Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA).

Five small grants will be provided to document negative outcomes of repressive drug policy, explore opportunities of alternatives to punitive sanction and create demand for pilot projects on the local level. Where alternative sanctions are used, their positive effect on lives and health of women drug users should be documented.


Drug use and/or possession for personal use are criminalised throughout the region. The majority of women incarcerated for possession of controlled substances serve prison terms for possession of drugs for personal use. Legislation in most countries does not contain provisions for alternative measures for drug offenders and/or people with substance use problems. Where such provisions exist, they are very rarely applied. Police resources are mostly devoted to targeting drug users and small-scale dealers. International experience suggests that countries with the best results in reducing drug-related harms are those where law enforcement focuses on reducing the capacity of criminal groups and the violence they commit, and where policies are inclusive and treat people with problems related to substance use as members of society.

The aim of the project “Women for humane drug policy” is to improve access of women who use drugs to HIV prevention and treatment, harm reduction, reproductive health and social support services in Russia & Ukraine as well as in other countries of Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia (CEECA) through promoting alternative approaches to punitive measures for drug use and possession for personal use.

In 2014-2016 EHRN with local partners from 16 CEECA cities implemented a regional campaign “WOMEN AGAINST VIOLENCE” aiming to combat police violence against drug user women. In total 850 cases of police violence against women who use drugs have been submitted through a specifically designed online platform in Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Ukraine and Russia. As a result of advocacy efforts on regional and local levels, an informal network of friendly police officers has been established. Building on the campaign results ERHN and its partners will promote alternatives to arrest, incarceration and other coercive sanctions used against individuals who have committed nonviolent drug-related offences in the EECA region.

Approaches alternative to punitive sanctions include providing access to prevention and treatment program and social support instead of imprisonment or huge fines, which helps coping with the complex social issues faced by women who use drugs. Piloting and further integrations of such alternative approaches should be based on partnerships between police and legislators, and communities.

Program goal

The main goal of this grant program is to explore existing opportunities for alternative measures for drug use/possession and propose pilot projects aimed to reduce incarceration rates among women who use drugs.

Small grants will be provided to NGOs and women organisations to:

organize legislative analysis to see which alternative sanctions are possible and build alliances with police, health professionals and lawyers on the local level to develop consensus that such pilot projects are needed
where alternative sanctions are applied, document positive impact of applied alternative sanctions(if there are any) on women’s lives and advocate for further usage of this approach. 


The total budget of the program is 21,000 U.S. dollars. The maximum amount of one grant may not exceed 4200 U.S. dollars.

Grant selection conditions and requirements for participation

  1. Only community-based organisations and groups (established by people who use drugs or OST clients who participate in governance of the organization, initiated by women who use drugs, including the clients of opioid substitution therapy (OST) and working to protect their health and human rights, can apply for the current small grant program.
  2. The competition is opened to the organisations and initiative groups from the following countries of Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia region: Latvia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Ukraine.
  3. At least 5 organisations or initiative groups from the CEECA countries will receive small grants. One grant for a project should not exceed 4200 US dollars.
  4. One initiative group/organisation can apply for only one small grant.
  5. The small grants program does not provide funding for the services for people who inject drugs (e.g. purchase and delivery of needles and syringes, covering the costs of the HIV and hepatitis testing, provision of treatment etc.)
  6. If an initiative group, which participates in the competition, is not legally registered, it must find a partner organisation that will be ready for the period till the end of the project or till the moment of the legal registration of the initiative group as a legal entity (national or local non-governmental non-profit organisation):
  • to undertake the administration of the grant;
  • to open a separate banking account to receive funding from EHRN
  • to take responsibility for the accounting and financial reports both in accordance with EHRN requirements and with the national legislation.

The partner organization can only be a non-governmental non-profit organization with a legal status of a legal entity in the country, and should perform activities in the field of harm reduction, advocacy or protection of health and human rights of women who use drugs.

Prior to the application the initiative group and the partner organization must sign a joint Memorandum of Cooperation, which will indicate that this initiative group and the partner organization are willing to work together and to make an application under this call, and that in case of the approval, applicants are ready for cooperation: the initiative group as the implementer of the activities and the partner organization as the administrator. The Memorandum must be signed in two (2) legally equivalent copies, one of which is kept in the files of the leader of the initiative group, and the other at the partner organization. Application for the call is being done by the initiative group, and a copy of the Memorandum is provided to EHRN as an attachment to the package of the grant selection documentation.

       7. Applications will be reviewed by the Expert Council, composed of the experts from the women who use drugs  community, appointed by ENPUD and EHRN employees and Steering Committee.

       8. To participate in the Call you need to submit the application form that can be downloaded from the EHRN web-site:

  • there are two types of application forms - for legally registered organizations and non-registered initiative groups. Please choose accordingly.
  • the application form can be filled in one of the following languages – Russian or English.
  • the filled application has to be accompanied by all additional documents listed in the application form.

9. EHRN shall notify all participants of the grant selection results (approvals, rejections or requests for modifications). EHRN reserves the right not to provide detailed explanations to the applicants, due to the closed and confidential nature of the application review process.

Selection criteria

  • While reviewing the applications the Expert Council will pay special attention to the connection of the activities listed in the application to the current work of the initiative groups/community organizations , and to the life experiences and skills of the initiative groups/community organizations’ members that may contribute the project implementation.
  • Priority will be given to those organizations, which have already experience of successful implementation of street lawyers programs and participation in regional advocacy campaign “Women against violence”.
  • Experience of mutual help and support between the members of the initiative group/community organization will be an asset: for example, the existence of the relief fund, organization of self-help groups, mutual support in taking care of the ill, assistance during the court hearings and other situations, that demand civil support and security etc.
  • It is important to demonstrate that the group held regular meetings during the last 6 months, and that the group has a distribution of duties, documented in the protocol of the meeting of the initiative group.

 Terms of the projects:

  • terms of the project not less than three months
  • all project activities should be launched before September 1, 2017
  • all project should be completed before December 31, 2017

Application procedure

  • Only complete document packages are be accepted;
  • Applications are to be submitted only via email;
  • Applications submitted after 6:00 pm Vilnius time on May 3, 2017 will not be accepted;
  • Application form should be submitted in Word format. All additional original documents must be submitted in scanned form (as ".pdf" or ".jpg" files);
  • EHRN reserves the right to request the applicants to provide further materials or Information that will confirm or clarify the information provided in the application.
  • Not later than May 15, 2017, the information of the grantees will be published on the website and in the EHRN e-newsletters.  

Filled out application and the accompanying documents must be submitted to the following email address: and marked "Women for humane drug policy”.

Application deadline is 6:00 pm Vilnius time on May 3, 2017.

Any questions regarding the participation and filling out the application should be sent to