Update on the Small Grants projects of our International Working Group Members in Latin America (Argentina and Peru).

The Youth RISE Small Grants Programme is financed by the Robert Carr Civil Society Networks Fund (RCNF) and aims to support community organizations and initiative groups of young people affected by drug policies. These grants are offered to our International Working Group (IWG) Members and their respective organizations. This year the main goal of the Programme is for Youth RISE to support harm reduction networks and members to strengthen their organisational capacity. Here is an update on how these grants have been implemented by our IWG Members in Argentina and Perú.

Argentina

Carolina is our representative for Argentina and the new Latin America Communications Officer. She is part of the civil society organization Intercambios, in which she works within the Intervention area, more specifically coordinating a harm reduction project in recreational and festive scenarios. 

The Small Grant was used to launch three webinars in which youth organizations from the Southern Cone (Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina) received training in harm reduction and could apply this knowledge to the agenda of their respective groups. From political organizations to adolescents, young people living with HIV to cannabis organizations, they came together for the joint creation of informative materials associated with the principles of harm reduction.

Two of the three webinars in which representatives of these organizations participated have already been held and it is expected that by the end of October, the materials will be available for dissemination, after the communication strategy has been assembled. These materials will be the final product of the financing of the Small Grant and with it, the setting up of a network among youth organizations in the Southern Cone in order to continue working and articulating together from this campaign.

Perú

Humberto is our reprentative for Perú and current International Working Group Member. He is a member of Latin America for a Sensible Drug Policy, an international organization that seeks to sensitize and inform the population on issues related to psychoactive substances, human rights, and health promotion. They have chapters in Mexico, Nicaragua, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina, and Chile.

Due to the context of Covid-19, they decided to do an online integration and knowledge course on psychoactive substances, aimed at 30 members of the organization and 22 external students. Topics are diverse, ranging from basic knowledge about harm reduction, law, economics, and anthropology to more practical topics, such as tools for activism, lobbying, or project management.

The course contains a final project, in which students will form groups to do their own project on drug policy and harm reduction, with the advice of teachers. The three best projects will receive grants of $300, $200 and $100 respectively. This was done keeping in mind that after the course the students will be very eager to implement what they have learned, and that empowering them to do so will ensure the course has a lasting impact.

The course has just started and it will last until February 2021. It is made up of twelve modules taught every 15 days, each one taught by prominent professors, all Spanish-speaking and almost all Latin American. They have been lucky to have outstanding professionals, such as Diego García-Devis, Nuria Calzada, and Zara Snapp to name a few.

In addition, part of the grant will be used to implement its website and institutional email addresses for its members.