By Marija Milic
Filmed in fall 2017, the video itself is a powerful advocacy tool for Montenegro, and even though the length of the video is just 13 minutes, we managed to send a strong message – that Harm reduction in Montenegro works, and that it should be funded.
Juventas as an NGO started its work in 1996, and managed to be at the centre of events related to specific categories of people in Montenegro and their rights. Since 2004, we started our work with PWID and SW, and during the “golden years” of getting the Global Fund to fund our services, we have done really well. Obstacles were there, for sure, everywhere we went, but we managed to somehow work despite them, and we still do.
We showed the desire and effort to keep the program running after the departure of the Global Fund, when we were no longer eligible for funding as Montenegro had become a middle-income country. At that time, we were faced with reality – without funding, we were forced to close almost all existing services within our Drop-in Centres apart from the needle and syringe exchange within the Drop-in centre for persons who inject drugs. Fortunately, after a number of difficult months, our efforts paid off, and all our services started working again. The support of the Global fund matched with domestic funding for the next three years is conditionally provided.
In the documentary, we speak about our daily work, how we run our Drop-in centres and outreach work, what problems we are facing even after all these years of work, and what are the good sides of trying to make a change by doing harm reduction programs. Our clients had the opportunity to explain how services are meeting their needs, especially when related to peer workers’ support. In addition, the documentary also included an overview of our cooperation with governmental institutions, which has proven to be a constant effort aimed at improving the quality of cooperation that our clients will eventually benefit from.