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Mainline visits South Africa

In March, four Mainliners visited South Africa. We combined several exciting and important activities: two trainings, an assessment among peer workers and a special video project. However, first and foremost, we were happy to see our partners TB HIV Care in Cape Town and Foundation for Professional Development in Pretoria.






The two trainings were one of the special highlights of the visit. The first, in Cape Town, addressed harm reduction for people who use stimulant drugs. The second training, in Pretoria, focused on the core elements of harm reduction and on fieldwork. The participants included staff from Mainline’s partners and from other harm reduction workers in South Africa, such as Anova Health Institute, Tintswalo and COSUP project. The diversity of the two groups made for an interesting exchange of experiences across staff from Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban, Port Elisabeth and Cape Town.


Another highlight was an assessment among outreach workers and support staff who actively use drugs. These staff members face numerous challenges on each regular working day: some of them don’t have stable housing and others have trouble getting their daily dose before going to work. To understand the high staff turnover better, we decided that we needed to understand their lives better. The goal is to make recommendations to our partners’ and to further improve the involvement of people who use drugs in service delivery. A report with the findings will be released later this spring.

During the visit, we finally had the chance to visit the new drop-in centre in Cape Town: located much closer to several hot sports in the local drug scene and which is very welcoming to people who are homeless.

A final goal for this visit was to shoot 360 video footage. Under the umbrella of Mainline’s sister organisation Poppi: Drugs Museum Amsterdam, we want to raise awareness among the general public about the many injustices faced by people who use drugs. The unique South African footage will be part of an upcoming pop-up in the Autumn of 2020. You can stay posted about this via our Poppi social media channels and website.

For more info on our work in South Africa, visit our project page.


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