EHRN will award 80 scholarships to the winners of abstract competition for NGOs and communities of people who use drugs (PWUD) in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia (CEECA). Authors of top-scoring abstracts, selected by the Selection Committee, will be able not only to participate, but also to present their experience at the Regional Conference "Harm Reduction in the New Environment", which will be held in Vilnius (Lithuania), 4-6 April 2017.
In December EHRN announced an open call for scholarships with a view to support civil society and community representatives from the CEECA region in the conference and to provide them with an opportunity to share their experiences in the field of harm reduction. Nearly 200 applications were received in the thematic areas of the conference: financing, drug policy, service provision and community response. The most active representatives were from Russia, Ukraine and Georgia (over 70 abstracts from these countries).
"The interest for this competition proves once again that the Regional Conference is very relevant and timely. We have received abstracts from civil society representatives from 21 countries of our region. Despite the indicated geographic restrictions, attention to the conference exceeded the CEECA limits – representatives from Afghanistan, Ireland, Great Britain, and even far away Kenya have shown interest in the topic of harm reduction in our region," – says Igor Gordon, the Head of Membership and Community Strengthening Team of EHRN.
More than 70% of applications were filed by EHRN members. High quality and relevance of the abstracts set a difficult task for the Selection Committee – to choose the best of the best.
"Almost 60% of all applications were received from PWUD community. For many of them it was the first experience of writing abstracts for a conference, so the staff of EHRN used all their capabilities to make sure that all applicants who wished so received technical support in writing the abstracts. For this purpose, we organized an online training and provided assistance in the writing of 25 abstracts for the community. The results are definitely positive. The authors of the best abstracts will be invited to participate in oral sessions and panel discussions during the conference," – says Igor Gordon.
Congratulations to the selected organizations. In the upcoming days, the EHRN secretariat will contact the winners to discuss the details.