Healthy Options Project Skopje (HOPS), Macedonia
HOPS is a non-governmental, non-profit and non-partisan organization that started operating as a project supported by The Lindesmith Center and The Open Society Institute Macedonia in 1997. During this period it has successfully implemented programs for reduction of drug related harm, prevention of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted and blood-borne diseases, as well as programs for social reintegration and re-socialization targeting young people and vulnerable groups (drug users and their families and sex workers and their families). HOPS works closely with various government ministries and agencies, other civil society groups and media and is funded among others by OSI, UNDCP, WHO, UNICEF, UNHCR, the World Bank, OSCE, DFID, and USAID.
Closely working with media, government and NGOs as well as with international agencies, Healthy Options Project Skopje has become member and partner of different initiatives on national and on the regional/international level.
Member of National Expert Group for Prevention, Treatment and Harm Reduction, Ministry of Health;
Member of the National Commission for HIV/AIDS within the Government of Republic of Macedonia;
Founder of Macedonian Harm Reduction Network;
Member of the Technical Working Group within the UN Theme Group for HIV/AIDS in R. Macedonia;
Coordinator of the Harm Reduction Working Group within the City Coordinative Body for Fight Against Drugs in Skopje;
Co-founder of the Harm Reduction Coalition for South-Eastern Europe and organizer of the First Harm Reduction Conference for South-Eastern Europe, held in Skopje in 1999;
In the year 1999, HOPS developed and organized the Second National Campaign for HIV/AIDS prevention in Macedonia.
In the year 2000 HOPS implemented the first project for HIV/AIDS prevention and social assistance for commercial street sex workers and their families in Skopje.
In 2001/2002, HOPS has expanded its activities from the capital to three other cities in Macedonia, starting outreach activities for HIV/AIDS prevention among drug users. It has also initiated the establishment of Macedonian Harm Reduction Network that should continue working in the field of advocacy for Harm Reduction, resource mobilization and development of the civil sector in Macedonia. The Network with 20 initial members was established at June, 2005.
In 2002 HOPS and two partner organizations - NGO Art Forum and NGO Lim Pid - started the global initiative “What every adolescent have right to know” with main goal to involve youth aged 13 -18 through participatory active research and creative workshops to learn how to prevent HIV/AIDS and reduce risky behavior.
In 2003 HOPS started mapping and preventing commercial sex and risks of trafficking among youth aged 14 -18. The following year, in partnership with Ministry of health and several other NGOs, HOPS started with implementation of the National program for fight against HIV/AIDS. In this project HOPS is responsible for opening and developing of 5 new Harm Reduction programs (needle exchange program with medical and social assistance) in 5 smaller towns in Macedonia.
HOPS has already spun off four NGO’s as a result of it's implemented projects: “HERA - Health Education and Research Association", "RONDO – Music School", "LIM-PID - Association for Development of Urban Subcultures" and "PASSAGE - Macedonian Association of Drug Users".
HOPS raise funds from governments, charitable foundations, companies and individual donors: OSI, The Lindesmith Center, UNDCP, WHO, UNICEF, American Refugee Committee, UNHCR, The World Bank, Center for Information and Documentation by the Council of Europe – Skopje, City of Skopje, Agency of Youth and Sport – Macedonia, Institute for Sustainable Communities Macedonia, IOM, PSI Romania, OSCE, DFID, USAID, Project HOPE, British Embassy and Global Fund for fight against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.