On February 4-8, 2013 Cross Border Cooperation for HIV/AIDS Prevention and Impact Mitigation in Southern Caucasus and Russian Federation project team organized a regional workshop in Ukraine, Kiev hosted at Hotel Cosmopolite Kiev. The purpose of the meeting was strengthening of regional networking among project implementers, partners and stakeholders from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Russian Federation and joint elaboration of Regional Advocacy Action Plan.
First three days of the workshop were dedicated to sharing the country level achievements and challenges, Regional Desk Review document and Country Level Advocacy Action Plans among the project Regional Core Group. The process was highly interactive, featuring active discussions and brainstorming on identified challenges, best practices and future plans. The team also elaborated the Operational Plan for second semester of the project with emphasis on the strategic directions and domains of action, aiming to intensify the regional communication and cooperation.
On 4th and 5th days the project team hosted the project stakeholders and associates from each implementing country, who had previously participated in the process of developing Country Level Advocacy Action Plans and supported the local project team in miscellaneous activities and events.
Stakeholders got acquainted with Country Level Advocacy Action Plans all implementing countries, Regional Desk Review document drafted by External Consultant Mr. Archil Talakvadze and presented their organizations highlighting collaborative relations with the Cross Border Cooperation for HIV/AIDS Prevention and Impact Mitigation in Southern Caucasus and Russian Federation project; participants shared their contact details and got engaged in dynamic discussions regarding the needs of project target groups (including migrants, most-at-risk populations and PLHIV), existing barriers and possible solutions. Around one hour session was dedicated to presentation of ECUO (East Europe and Central Asia Union of PLWH) Regional Advocacy Strategy and Best Practices of All Ukrainian Network of PLWH.
The workshop gave the attendants valuable opportunity to get to know their colleagues from the neighboring countries and prepare background for intense regional networking and collaboration.
The last day of the workshop was spent on development of Regional Advocacy Action Plan focusing on three main strategic directions identified by the team :
- Advocacy for the Positive Prevention
- Advocacy for the access for the HIV services for the migrants
- Using Regional Referral Mechanism as a Tool for Coordination and Cooperation.
The participants were split in three groups per strategic direction and were asked to elaborate respective objectives, activities and performance indicators. The process was fairly interactive and engaging, resulting in formation of several concrete objectives and activities contributing to achievement of Regional Advocacy Action goal – Regional Cooperation among Non State Actors/Governmental Organizations/International Organizations functioning by the end of 2014.
The main outcome of the workshop was the draft version of Regional Advocacy Action Plan, which will be refined by the project teams and shared with the stakeholders for feedback and finalization. During informal conversations the participating stakeholders and associate partners expressed their satisfaction with the flow of the workshop and noted their expectation to continue with the process of implementation.
The Regional Advocacy Action Workshop was a considerable prospect for the project implementers to strengthen communication and cooperation channels of project Regional Core Group, amplify regional networking with stakeholders and associate partners and prepare a solid background for establishing Regional Referral Mechanism, which will be one of the most sustainable outcomes of the project.