Case Studies

Case study 1:

“Self-support group for transgender, intersex and gender variant community” by Association SPECTRA, Montenegro

Just a few years ago this self-support group was founded and had only two members for a whole year, after that the group started slowly growing. The main issue around the group was the lack of funding for the facilitators of the group, so they were working on very little resources. We wanted to make the group more sustainable and we wanted to strengthen the capacities of the facilitators.

To make this change our main mission was to fundraise for the education of the facilitators as well as for their honorary, so the main actors in making the change were donors. Fortunately, for the past two years we have been able to fundraise for this position and other things regarding the group, several different donors decided to fund the group throughout certain periods in the years. Thanks to this the group has started having many more members and has been successfully happening. This is due to the fact that the facilitators job also includes contacting the community members and providing support through the process of joining the group, and with greater recourses this aspect of the facilitators job was bettered.

The support of EKHN for self-support group has arrived in time when it was crucial for the maintaining of the group. The fact that three new members have joined the group in duration of the project that is supported by EKHN, but also the fact that the groups were attended by 19 to 24 people every month. During this project we have also done an evaluation of the group, we sent evaluation form to all of the people participating in the groups, and the results were overwhelmingly positive, they reflected upon the facilitators work, the content of the groups and a couple of other aspects of the group. One of the questions was to mention something meaningful from the groups and these were their anonymous responses.
“The first time I came to the self support group everyone was using my name and pronaouns correctly. It was the most normal thing in the world to them. It was really wierd for me because I was used to people ignoring my correct name and pronouns.“
“I always feel wonderful on the groups, I always learn a lot, it is fun and helps with my confidence so much! I love that I am meeting new people.“
“It is so important to me that we talk about the body and accepting our selves. “
The most important lesson that we have learned from this is that the facilitators of these groups are under a lot of pressure and need to have all of the appropriate recourse to deal with challenges of working with the community constantly. We are learning every day how to tailor the groups to the needs of the community. The one thing we are now striving for is having more people educated to be group facilitators so that we would have a more diverse support network, which we are planning to achieve through selecting a person who is fit to lead the groups and creating a learning program for them, that will include going to different educational trainings and seminars, as well as practical learning through experience as cofacilitator of the groups. Another thing that we are planning on doing with the goal of making the groups better is creating a systematical one-year plan, for the work that we do at the groups, at the beginning of 2020.

Case study 2:

“Initiative Group ‘LBT Club of Women TEMIDA'” by Center for Information and Counseling on Reproductive Health “Tanadgoma”, Georgia 

On May 26, 2015, with the financial support of the Women’s Fund in Georgia, the Initiative Group “LBT Club of Women TEMIDA” was created. Later, on November 24, 2015, organizational changes took place and TEMIDA was registered as a non-governmental organization in the national civil registry as “LGBTIQ Association – TEMIDA”.

Since its founding, the Association has worked to achieve its mission in the areas of human rights, research, educational programs, cultural and entertainment programs, public health issues, and the creation of a tolerant society. Particular attention was paid to such less covered issues in Georgia as visibility and informativeness about trans and intersex communities.

In 2018, due to the increased homophobic background and the harassment by neo-fascist groups, the Association’s executive director had to leave his homeland and seek for asylum in Europe. It entailed suspension of the Association work for an indefinite period.

In 2019, the “Medical Information Psychological Center of TANADGOMA”, with the financial support of the EKHN under the 2019 Small Grants Programme, proposed reorganizing TEMIDA for further activities and achieving its mission, since the need for an organization that works specifically on trans issues was clearly visible. To do this, a qualified and committed professional lawyer was invited, who helped to change the name of the Association to the current one “KVIR Association – TEMIDA”; to organize selection of a new executive director – a non-binary transactivist; to revise the Charter; and to dismiss the old Board and appoint a new Board. Everything was achieved and registered in the national civil registry under the Ministry of Justice. The new Board consists of 5 members, including 3 trans people, 1 gay and 1 lesbian woman with non-binary gender identity. The new Board members with the support of partners developed and adopted of the Association Strategy.

In the future, the Association Board and executive director plan to raise awareness on trans and intersex issues, to be a model of the most trans inclusive organization, while not forgetting about KVIR issues, and to start future projects to benefit the trans community and achieve the TEMIDA’s main goal – reducing transphobia.

Case study 3:

“Limited data”

Limited data suggests that transgender people may be more likely to use psychoactive substances than non-transgender people. Substance use is associated with discrimination and HIV transmission. Transgender people who use drugs (injectable and non-injectable) should have the same access to harm reduction services as non-transgender people. But in fact there was hardly any experience of understanding TG needs on HR services and any existing referral. Moreover, HR field by itself has been very homo/transphobic that limits the access of TG people on relevant services.

To make the Needle and Syringe (HR) services provided by GHRN gender sensitive especially with the focus on transgender people being one of the most marginalized.

The Staff and Board members of GHRN including representatives of member PLHIV PLHCV community based NGOs and NGOs working in gender based violence and SRHR field.

The above mentioned actors established Gender Working Group, after translated the HIV/Transgender WHO Guide, based on it develop the training module for its managers, outreach workers and social workers, fundraised for the research on TG needs of HR services and after again with support of EKHN

One of the main achievements is to establish set of trainings for the organizational staff and service provider on Gender Mainstreaming to shape the holistic understanding of gender and build the skills to mainstream gender at working spaces and increase gender equity in HIV/AIDS activities by promoting proactive and innovative strategies to ensure that men and women, girls and boys, have equitable access to prevention, care, and treatment services. Already 44 people in total (during 2 years trained).

When promoting gender sensitive and women oriented services in homophobic, traditional culture surroundings the most effective is to use intersection theory in the prism of variety of suppression forms and several expression of stigma. That helps to find common grounds among the different groups and built joint educational, informational communicational and advocacy strategies.

When promoting gender sensitive and women oriented services at HR sights it is most effective to deal with the beneficiaries/clients through the individual theory perspectives, meaning emphasizing the role of social component of the service (social worker role, empowerment theory, safety and juridical support) that are most relevant to case by case.

So far only 5 NSP service (4 regions) sights are covered from 15 where is still there is huge need/demand on building linkages and respective knowledge on HIV prevention and gender

Case Study 4:

“Improve services and support for TG community within education for social workers”

The problem description: to involve social workers of the organization into the work for TG community and educate them on the TG health issues in Ukraine, including the issue of HIV transmission risks for different groups inside TG umbrella.

We wanted social workers to gain new knowledge about TG group, the diversity of the group, and health issues within the group to be more sensitized while providing services to TG. We achived changes in social workers’ attitude towards TG group, teach them to use right pronouns, to avoid discriminating questions and discriminating lexica, and to treat TG community representatives with respect.

We involved the leaders of the organization, social workers group and TG community as actors who could rule the change. International TG rights activist conducted an educational workshop to explain to social workers the basics of transgender and transsexual issues, main problems in the process of transition, health issues, importance of acceptance and support, types of support social care can provide for TG people in the LGBT+ organization. We made sure all actors took part in the workshop and gain enough knowledge to take a role of knowledge leader and transmit the knowledge further to their colleagues.

After the workshop we received many great comments from social workers; some of them reached out to the organization’s leaders and asked for a possibility to work specifically on TG health and/or mobilization programs.

We believe that the approach we’ve chosen together with EKHN, worked extremely well for the purpose of educating social workers and raising interest in work with TG health and mobilization: inviting an international TG rights activist who will be not affiliated with any Ukrainian NGO and who can give an objective and independent overview of the TG issues in the world and work with TG community.

With the project we did the first step on educating social workers and community on TG issues, TG rights and TG health, and we received a great result. The next step we are looking forward to is to mobilize TG community on the basis of LIGA community centres in the South of Ukraine for educating TG community members of the health (including sexual health and HIV risks) and rights together with our partners who work on TG issues in other EECA countries. In order to achieve this plan, we already encouraged social workers to mobilize TG community and to organize special events for TG group, as well as we plan to fundraise for the cooperation programs on TG health and rights for future period.

Case study 5:

“EKHN: Training & Advocacy Efforts Result in National Gender Equality Curriculum in Schools in Georgia”

“A champion in developing responses to address persistent gender inequalities and human rights violations that put adolescent and youth girls and women at a greater risk of, and more vulnerable to HIV.”

Eurasian Key Population Health Network (EKHN) is a membership based regional network aimed at universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support for the most at risk and inadequately served populations in Eastern European and Central Asian, with a keen focus on women and girls.

EKHN began in 2009 with nine members through the support of the Robert Carr Fund.  It has grown in size and organizational capacity, and now has 25 active members, the majority of which are National Networks with broad coverage at the country level via regional and local networks.
Throughout the 2016-2019 funding cycle, core funding by the Robert Carr Fund enabled the EKHN Secretariat to provide organizational and technical support to the Georgia Harm Reduction Network (GHRN) in the Republic of Georgia, which compromises 23 national networks and Tanadgoma NGO.  Special attention was to Georgia, given its cultural context: Georgia ranks 81 out of 147 countries in the World Gender Inequality Index, and 86 out of 136 countries in Global Gender Gap Index.  Georgian culture continues to be patriarchal, as is reflected in cultural norms, and in the lack of political participation of women.  This can lead to increased rate of GBV, as deeply rooted cultural norms feed women and girls’ reactions to GBV, legal processes are not conducive to recourse for survivors, and women and girls affected by HIV, drug use or engaged in sex work are highly unlikely to report violence for fear of further discrimination.

In November 2017 EKHN hosted the international “Eurasian Gender Academy – Women, Girls, Transgender Empowerment and Advocacy on Gender and HIV/AIDS” in Tbilisi, Georgia, which included leaders from GHRN and Tanadgoma.  Representatives wer trained in holistic knowledge and skills on integrating gender analysis into assessment, program design, implementation and monitoring of organizational and national response.  They also learned about implementing gender-responsive activities at organizational and national levels with a view to demonstrating practical application and results.  Additionally, in 2018 GHRN and Tanadgoma organized a national workshop with 15 participants aimed at building skills around advocacy and empowerment in order to strengthen HIV related services for girls from key populations and their involvement on preventing GBV.  Furthermore, in 2018 EKHN provided GHRN a mini-grant for $4000 USD to develop and implement local activities, which included a cross-sectorial Gender Working Group.

This Working Group consisted of Civil Society Organizations, donors, UN agencies, and governmental officials, and met regularly to develop advocacy materials, conduct trainings, and draft policies on gender issues.  Through this Working Group, GHRN developed a strategy to influence long-term, systemic change around GBV, based on the International 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: Goal #4 Quality Education.  The Working Group decided to combine efforts to influence the Ministry of Education to institutionalize Gender Equality education in the school system.

EKHN Georgian members began meetings with the Ministry of Education in 2016, raising awareness of the importance of gender awareness in public schools, and offering technical support to the Ministry.  These meetings led to the decision that a standardized national curriculum should be in place for children In 2017-2018 EKHN Georgian membership became an official partner of the Ministry, drafting a gender education curriculum and handbooks for schools.  The Gender Working Group continued to function, assisting in analyzing the Georgian education system, and coaching around the best way to design materials so they would be accepted within the Ministry.
It was because of the negotiation and dialectical skills EKHN members honed in the Eurasian Gender Academy and national training, combined with the programmatic support to convene the Gender Working Group, that the Gender Equality curriculum became a mandatory subject for youth throughout the Republic of Georgia.  EKHN members used their knowledge around advocacy to tailor messages so that they would be received by the national government.  The impact of this curriculum is its content and legacy.  As to its legacy, according to the National Statistics Office of Georgia, as of January 2018, children 0-14 years of age make up 20% of the population of Georgia.  Therefore, over the next twelve years, nearly 20% of the national population will receive this curriculum, which could lead to a significant leap in changing knowledge, attitudes and practices of the next generation.

Without the support of the Robert Carr Fund, EHKN would not have had the organizational capacity at the Secretariat level to provide advocacy training to its Georgian membership, nor would they have been able to provide programmatic funds or technical support.  Robert Carr Fund’s investment in EKHN has resulted in a resounding and lasting impact in the lives of young Georgians, as they learn about gender equality, and how that affects the spread of HIV and the propagation of GBV.