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Development of Civil Society

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Alexey Starostenko
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Member Contact: 
Alexey Starostenko

SWAN member since 2006

Development of Sivil Society, formerly known as Siberian Initiative, has been active for more than 10 years. Today, the organization works in three main directions: primary prevention of HIV and drug use (primarily among the youth); cooperation with the specialists in charge of monitoring and treatment of socially significant epidemic diseases; and development of non-commercial sector and civil initiatives. In ten years time various foundations and organizations have funded some 40 projects. During the last six years the organization has been carrying out the harm reduction program for the injection drug users and sex workers, first such program in the Altai region.

When it started working with injection drug users and sex workers in the year 2000, Siberian Initiative was the only such organization in the Altai region. Six years later, the organization still carries out harm reduction program for these highly marginalized groups, and maintains its presence and trust among them.  The staff of the organization includes an outreach team consisting of trained sex workers,  which offers free consultative services to other sex workers, with an aim to assist them in protection of their human rights and theirs and their clients’ health.

The organization took part in network projects aimed at HIV  prevention, health and human rights advocacy. It carried out a study of the sex workers behavior, participated in data analysis and delivered training on these issues  to other organizations.

The library of the organization holds more than 6000 books, magazines, brochures, manuals and other material focusing on topics such as “Health”, “HIV/AIDS”, “Human Rights”, “Psychology” and “ Non-profit Sector”. The organization issues Newsletter and other printed matter (information and methodology material, booklets, etc.).  It has a web-site which contains detailed information about its activities, as well as the work of its partner organizations.

Professional counsels and volunteers who had received special training and education, carry out counselling on various psychological and legal (rights) issues connected to HIV and health protection. Consultative services include information about

  • possible consequences of testing for HIV;
  • existing social services;
  • the rights of people living with HIV/ AIDS;
  • how to talk about HIV/AIDS;
  • harmful behavior for a person living with HIV/AIDS;
  • up-to-date methods of treatment and their availability;
  • overcoming difficulties in the every day lives of sick and demoralized people.

A team of qualified trainers (organization’s employees and volunteers) delivers seminars for different groups (teenagers, drug users, sex workers, convicts, teachers, doctors, social workers, journalists, law-enforcement representatives, psychologists, representatives of non-profit organizations, etc.) on various topics, connected to health protection, human rights for health protection, planning and implementation of prophylaxis programs (also work with vulnerable and remote and difficult to access  target groups), other issues of administrative development, planning and implementation of volunteer programs, based on the principle of equal education, planning and implementation of information campaigns. 

There is a Youth Council of the organization which is developing the strategies to work with young population and coordinating the volunteer work. “Siberian Initiative” is the founder of All-Russia Summer Volunteer Schools, which hosts volunteers from different regions of Russia. Summer Volunteer Schools are held with the support of the Ministry of Health and Social Development of the Russian Federation and the UN agencies.

The organization, which is the initiator of AIDS-Service Organizations Network in the Altai region, also is a member of the AIDS-Service Organizations Association of Siberia and Russia. The organization administers small-grant programs for governmental and non-governmental organizations working in the spheres of health protection and youth and vulnerable groups development.

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