This blog is an adaptation by Ruby Lawlor, of a report that Metzineres submitted to us on the progress of this small grant, written by Alicia Nieto Brotons and Aura Roig.

Small grant programme in Barcelona, implemented by Metzineres: Empowering young women and non-binary people who use drugs to engage in activism, harm reduction services and communitarian activities. ‘Metzineres. Environments of Shelter for Womxn who Use Drugs Surviving Violences’ is the first integrated harm reduction program from Catalonia exclusively for womxn.

The funds from this small grant were used to engage young women and non-binary gender people who use drugs at the weekly XADUD meetings, and to bring a network of women who use drugs (WUD) together to advance their rights through Artivism, at weekly Pa’ella (for her) meetings. The XADUD (Network of Women Who Use Drugs) meetings occur once a week and are lead by women and non-binary people who use drugs, providing safety and intimacy, reinforcing their feeling of belonging in their own collectives and towards their community and neighbourhood. XADUD meetings are where they deliniate their agenda, advancing their human rights, and determine their next steps in fighting against social exclusion and discrimination that women and non-binary people who use drugs face every day. These meetings are an entrance point for WUD to learn about the Metzineres project and gain from their support. Pa’ella is a weekly meeting that brings together other collectives within the neighbourhood, such as sex worker, youth, homeless people, harm reduction, and LGBTQ+ collectives, community members and stakeholders. They all gather to share this typical Spanish dish while they organize artivist actions, such as grafitti, music, and radio. The artivisim allows each of them to express themselves and share feelings in a creative way, while breaking the stigma and demonstrating how their collective contributes to the harmony and wellbeing of their neighbourhood.

These meetings promote women as protagonists in the community and embracing other collectives of vulnerable women, and are anchored in peer-led interventions. Metzineres has extensive advocacy capacity, is actively involved in capacity building, and has the ability to promote intergenerational practices among vulnerable groups of womxn and youth. The fanzine, radio, and grafitti workshops that happen at Pa’ella and joint movements at both meetings increase the power of young leaders among the collectives that gather at these meetings. These meetings have an incredible impact on their empowerment and self-esteem, and help in reinforcing solidarity and support between them, while builiding bridges with other members of the community, breaking stereotypes and prejudices towards people who use drugs.

As a result of these meetings, the views of their neighbors towards women who use drugs surviving multiple situations of violence and vulnerability have changed radically. Most of them have become their allies, supporting their work and showing their support and solidarity, as can be seen in this video.