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SWAN Organises a Regional Convening with Members in Georgia

Between 7-9th May, activists from Tais Plus from Kyrgyzstan, Legalife from Ukraine, AMELIA from Kazakhstan and Women for Freedom from Georgia came together at the regional convening SWAN organised in Tbilisi, Georgia to discuss transitioning from Global Fund (GF) to state funding and exchange of experiences between community led organisations implementing the NSWP Global Fund Capacity Building Program. Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA) provided additional technical assistance within the framework of the Communications Platform.

In the first day, the participants discussed the last year's Global Fund activities and shared their experiences around the challenges they faced as well as the strategies they used to overcome any issues. Second day of the meeting was dedicated to the process of country transitioning and sustainability of rights-based community-led sex work programming, level of inclusion of sex workers in countries transition planning and processes. Ivan Varentsov from EHRA facilitated the session where participants identified steps and type of support needed so they can be better involved in those processes. In line with that, Varentsov gave a presentation on GF CRG TA program (Global Fund Community Rights and Gender Technical assistance program). Community monitoring, social contracting, standards for services for sex workers, community mobilisation and activism were part of the topics discuss the last day of the training.

As a result, countries developed their applications for technical assistance from CRG and additional technical assistance is available from NSWP Senior Officer and Ivan Varencov from EHRA to finalise the applications. If accepted, this technical assistance will be a valuable additional support for the organisations.

After the training, the participants said: “It was very useful to hear from colleagues from other countries, how are they involved in GF and their experience in transitioning." and added “We hope to have more chances in the future to come together and have open discussions, share our experiences, learn from each other."

SWAN's Program Officer said: “It was inspiring to see how participants were eager to share their experiences, talk about lessons they have learned and to listen one another. All participants went back home with increased understanding on what the transitioning period means and what are the possible challenges they may come across. They also learned that this transition process can have positive sides for sex work communities and strengthen their activism."