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Knowledge exchange to better reach women who use drugs

How does one best reach women who use drugs in East Africa? And how do you go about offering them relevant and good quality harm reduction services? Mainline facilitated a knowledge-exchange between MEWA in Kenya and Mukikute in Tanzania. 

Both organisations offer harm reduction services for people who use drugs, including women. But women often face challenges to access harm reduction services: they can’t bring their children, opening hours don’t fit their routine, they don’t have enough money for transport or they feel unwelcome or judged when they do come to find services. 




MEWA has gained a lot of experience in actively reaching out to women and they’ve adjusted their services to better meet the needs of women who use drugs. Social worker Agnes and outreach worker Aina from Mukikute were invited to MEWA for a five day learning visit. Agnes and Aina are now applying their experiences in harm reduction services launched at the Mukikute drop-in centre in 2020.

In addition to expanding services for women who use drugs - support groups and specific SRHR services have been introduced in 2020 – Mukikute also initiates income generating activities for women. The women learn to make soap and sweets, which they can then sell on the streets. It makes the women more independent. Although these seem like small steps, these are giant leaps forward for the women who live on the streets of Dar es Salaam. 


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