Sex Worker Harm Reduction Initiative – Policy and Advocacy Funding Opportunity
Tuesday, August 24, 2004 4:55 PM

The International Harm Reduction Development Program (IHRD) invites applications for funding of policy and advocacy activities to advance harm reduction efforts for sex workers in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. The goal of this new funding initiative will be to change environments affecting the health and rights of sex workers.

All organizations are invited to apply to IHRD for funding, including sex worker advocacy groups, human rights organizations, legal service providers, harm reduction providers and others. Funding can be used for a 12-month project or for a one-time activity or outcome. IHRD welcomes proposals for innovative projects and activities. From this application process, IHRD hopes to fund approximately 10 projects in late 2004. All funded projects will be eligible for on-going training and technical assistance.

The application deadline is September 10, 2004. Please see the attached application form at the bottom of this page for complete instructions on how to apply.

Background Information

Beginning in late 2000, IHRD began funding sex worker harm reduction projects in 11 countries of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. This IHRD funding initiative was established in recognition of the vulnerability of sex workers to the potential harms related to drug use and HIV. From 2000 to 2004, IHRD succeeded in supporting many organizations to initiate and pilot new service projects that linked, for the first time, harm reduction services to the needs of sex workers.

During this time, projects funded by IHRD reported that many sex workers, particularly those injecting drugs, working on the street, and working alone, continue to face significant risks. Projects recommended that IHRD support policy and advocacy efforts, such as:

  • documentation of sex work population risks in terms of health, violence, discrimination and poverty, and development of policy analyses and recommendations to reduce these risks;
  • education and training of sex workers, health providers, police and militia, government officials, media, and community members about current and potential policy changes to reduce stigma and discrimination and to create a more welcoming environment for sex worker policy initiatives;
  • changes in policy and practice through legislation, litigation, and other legal means, to ensure that the civil and human rights of sex workers are respected and upheld;
  • and mobilizing alliances of communities and organizations, especially those alliances involving vulnerable populations of sex workers, drug users, and people living with HIV/AIDS, so that these populations will be empowered to advocate for their needs as a cohesive group.  

For more information and application documents please click here.