AFEW (Aids Foundation East West) and Dance4Life went into a partnership in 2019. The goal was to empower young people in Eastern Europe and Central Asia to make safe choices around their sexual health and access information and services. One of the countries where we work is Kyrgyzstan, where we partner with AFEW Kyrgyzstan. We asked Chinara, the partner manager of AFEW a few questions about how the COVID-19 pandemic changed the standards of her work.
The Journey4Life, Dance4Life’s youth empowerment model, is contextualized to the Kyrgyz context, involves youth at risk and refers them to Social Bureaus, AFEW’s client management system and other services offered by AFEW and partners, aiming at HIV prevention and providing accessible reproductive health services to adolescents.
Online as the new normal
Chinara explains that COVID-19 has significantly affected the way tasks have been executed in her organization in the last months. A lot of face-to-face activities such as trainings, consultations, self-help groups and Journey4Life sessions have stopped. “We are now in the process of moving everything online and learning how to use online platforms such as Zoom. Our youth center closed and it’s prohibited to conduct activities with young people that are not online”.
The impact of COVID-19
The main goal of her work now is to support key populations who are left without any income and resources. Chinara: “This means that we work in shelters for women who use drugs or who are living with HIV. Our current focus is on fundraising so that these women can be provided with food and hygiene products. These women can’t work at the moment, but still need to raise their children. Another social phenomenon we are dealing with in our organization is violence. Because of the quarantine, domestic violence is increasing in Kyrgyzstan and more and more families ask for help and need support. All staff with a psychological expertise in her organization are currently providing online consultations to these families. COVID-19 has adjusted our priorities!”.
Find out more about our franchisee AFEW Kyrgyzstan here: http://www.afew.kg/