Flexibility is a key to success – When Future Without AIDS (FWA) developed its VCT manual and held its first training for VCT providers, they realised that many questions were raised about legal issues related to VCT. In order to respond to this need, they invited a legal expert from Kiev to raise their knowledge in this sector. As a result, they held two trainings on the legal aspects of providing VCT. Having realised the need to train the mid-level medical staff in VCT, FWA asked us to redirect part of the third year funds for the development of a new training module and running four pilot trainings. At the present time, FWA is working on this training module.
Using lessons learned and reflection to create visible improvements in programmes – The Way Home worked with street children in Odessa, providing them with food, hygiene kits and easily understandable prevention information. Even though they were achieving their goals, in Year 2, they changed their approach to prevention activities in order to reach even more vulnerable youth. Using a peer-driven intervention approach, they were able to engage street children in prevention activities and train 200 youth to provide awareness to their peers. The Way Home is now working on creating low-threshold centres that provide access to social and preventive assistance for street children.
The creation of tools and materials that have a sustainable long-term impact on the sector – Some information, education and communication (IEC) materials developed within the framework of projects in this SI will be used in the future and will help those providing essential services in the sector. These include a high quality VCT manual, which will be used in other parts of the Ukraine and is now part of curriculum for medical students, and the development of a methodology to assist runaway girls, supported and recommended by UNICEF.
Facilitating behavioural change by creating opportunity – As part of the project activities, The Way Home runs an open-type shelter for street children. Their remedial education programmes allow children to catch up with current curriculums and reintegrate into schools. By making a secondary school education a requirement for shelter dwellers, children were able to continue their education levels even after school. In addition to attending numerous vocational courses, one beneficiary was able to successfully enrol in a university programme, 18 people entered technical schools, 16 people found employment and 37 presently study at school.
Increased societal influence – As project activities were successful, implementing partners started receiving recognition from local authorities, as well as national experts. FWA’s trainings were backed by the head of the regional health department. The organisation’s leaders were invited to participate in the development of a new law regarding VCT. In January 2011, Sveta Olikh, ACET project manager, was recognised as among the 20 most influential young people of Odessa by Odessa’s mayor.
Currency fluctuations – Global financial turmoil had an impact on project finances in 2008 and 2009. The Ukrainian Hryvnia was constantly depreciating, especially against the dollar. Depending on when funds were exchanged into local currency, some organisations lost part of their funds, while others saved money. As a result, some implementers struggled with low budgets, while others had under-spent funds.
Political change – A change of government in 2010 resulted in shifting structures at national and local levels as new government officials took office. In 2010, all of our implementing partners had to re-establish relationships with new authorities.
Drug-addicted children – HIV-positive, drug-addicted street children are extremely challenging to work with, with the majority of these youth suffering from deep psychophysical trauma, low self-esteem, and limited motivation to undertake behavioural change. In the majority of cases, these kids continue to live on the streets and can potentially contribute to ongoing infection.
Flu outbreak – Several schools and educational institutions in Odessa were quarantined in November and December of 2009. As all public events and gatherings were cancelled, projects could not conduct scheduled prevention lectures or youth clubs. Since November and December are the most productive months for ACET prevention programmes, this organisation struggled to reach its intended beneficiaries. By the end of the third year, they were able to reach 81 percent of the planned number of students.