The drop-in centre of the Uganda Harm Reduction Network (UHRN) looks lonely from the deserted suburban pavement. It is a non-descript house, hidden behind an imposing solid pink steel gate, in an equally non-descript neighbourhood. 

It looks like so many other drop-in centres in eastern Africa that serve key populations—anonymous and low-key. Necessary characteristics, perhaps, in a region that mostly criminalizes people who use drugs, gay men and other men who have sex with men, sex workers and transgender people.

Once through the gate, visitors are greeted with a hive of activity that belies the quiet exterior. Clients and staff are buzzing around, setting up chairs under the makeshift gazebo in the verdant garden. In a few minutes, a group of people who use drugs will take part in a harm reduction workshop run by one of the centre’s staff.