Best Practices of Reaching the Mobile Population in Azerbaijan

vodilaCross Border Cooperation for HIV/AIDS Prevention and Impact Mitigation in Southern Caucasus and Russian Federation Project targets the population groups vulnerable To HIV/AIDS including the migrants. Frequently the project teams find it pretty challenging to bring the mentioned groups into the mainstream of project activities, taking into account the specifics of the local context and sensitivity of subject.
The project team in Azerbaijan has recently came up with a new method for reaching the mobile groups. Community of Balacari settlement of Baku is inhabited by a significant number of bus drivers traveling on long distance routes to different cities of Russian Federation. Staying away from home for several weeks enhances the possibility of risky behavior (e.g. unprotected casual sexual contacts) among the drivers and mobile groups in general.
The project team members contacted the most active community leader, employed as a bus driver, who agreed to act as a mobilizer and ensure the access to mobile groups by maintaining credulous relationships with them.
There are around 15 drivers residing in the given settlement, who are committed to work regularly within their community using peer-to-peer methodology and conduct the outreach sessions.
Moreover, the drivers live and work in their surrounding micro-communities of passengers, mostly mobile population engaged in small/retail businesses in Russia. Being equipped with knowledge and skills to raise others’ awareness on safe behavior and HIV/AIDS prevention ways the drivers are able to circulate this information among their social environment – passengers, friends and colleagues.
Project Outreach worker and community mobilizer have a direct access to the settlement and the given group. The team plans to work with them on a continuous basis with an intention to expand the access to other communities and larger groups in close future.
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