Program - Advocacy

The Advocacy program covers various aspects related to drug policy, regulation of sex work, treatment of users, inclusion of users as policy creators and decision markers, financial support that the state provides for the programs for treatment, harm reduction, rehabilitation and re-socialization. 

Target groups: decision-makers, experts, academic community, civil society, media, people from the community of DU and SW and the general public.

Program objectives:

•    Developed model for regulation of sex work in the Republic of Macedonia.

•    Developed model for control and regulation of drugs in the Republic of Macedonia.

•    SW and DU are recognized and actively involved in national and local strategies and action plans and improved access to health and psychosocial services.

•    Secured sustainability of the programs and services for DU and SW and their inclusion in the national and local budgets of the relevant ministries and units of local self-government in the Republic of Macedonia.

•    Human rights of DU and SW are respected in the Republic of Macedonia.

•    Systematic introduction of educational programs on policies and practices for harm reduction of drug use and sex work in secondary and higher education in the Republic of Macedonia.

Key results achieved so far: 

  • In 2010, at the XVIII International AIDS Conference in Vienna, HOPS received the “Award for Action on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights” for its longstanding professional work and dedication to this field by the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and Human Rights Watch (http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2010/07/20/macedonia-group-wins-hiv-and-right...)
  • HOPS actively participates in committees and working groups for creation and monitoring of the implementation of national and local strategies and plans, such as the National  HIV/AIDS Strategies 2003-2006, 2007-2011 and 2012-2016, National Tuberculosis Strategy 2013-2017 and National Drug Strategy 2006-2012. 
  • HOPS is one of the founders and as of May 2012 it presides over the National Coordinating Mechanisms for grants for HIV and tuberculosis supported by a grant from the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
  • In partnership with TRIMBOS Institute of Mental Health and Addiction from the Netherlands, through the pilot project “Establishing a school-based drug prevention program in Macedonia” (2009-2011), HOPS managed systematically to introduce the program on prevention of abuse of drugs and other psychoactive substances as part of the Education program for life skills that is being implemented in the secondary schools in the Republic of Macedonia. 
  • In cooperation with the City of Skopje, in the period 2005-2006, HOPS helped in the establishing and working of the Local Coordinative Body for Drugs of the City of Skopje, as well as the in the development and monitoring of the implementation of the Local Strategy on Drugs of the City of Skopje. 
  • In 2007, in cooperation with UNICEF and local self-governments of six cities, HOPS helped in the creation of Local action plans for prevention of HIV/AIDS in Tetovo, Gostivar, Kumanovo, Bitola, Prilep and Stip. 
  • In 2005, HOPS initiated the founding of the Macedonian Harm Reduction Network (MHRN) and in 2008 the Coalition “Sexual and Health Rights of Marginalized Communities” with goal to strengthen the efforts for advocacy in the promotion of human rights and the fight against stigma and discrimination of drug users, sex workers, LGBT community and people living with HIV/AIDS. In the period from 2005 to 2010, HOPS served as secretariat of MHRN and the Coalition, providing continuous coordination and technical support for their members. 
  • In the course of 2008, in cooperation with Witness, HOPS started working on introduction of video as a tool in advocating for the rights of marginalized communities. The result was the production of the video “You Must Know About Me – Rights, not Violence for Sex Workers in Macedonia (http://hub.witness.org/en/YMKAM). In 2009/2010, as a core partner of Witness, HOPS started building its own capacities for video production and video advocacy and since then it has produced more than 20 videos in cooperation with Screaming Snails Production and it has organized training and support for video advocacy for non-governmental organizations. 
  • HOPS actively participates in various regional and international networks, coalitions and bodies, such as: Sex Workers' Rights Advocacy Network in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia (SWAN), International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe (ICRSE), Civil Society Forum on Drugs in Brussels (CSFD), International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC) and others.