Women who use drugs and alcohol face increased stigmatization, vulnerability and marginalization, and are more susceptible to contracting HIV than their male counterparts. Engagements by STAND with role-players in rural areas of the Western Cape have emphasized a lack of awareness around harm reduction, gender-based violence and basic health care services amongst impoverished women in rural and remote communities.
Despite the increased risks women who use drugs and alcohol face, they are under-represented in the research literature, and within relevant services. Historically most research in South Africa has been focused on people and women who use drugs and alcohol in Metropolitan areas. There is very little evidence-based research that has been conducted in Rural areas.
The nationwide lockdown that was implemented in South Africa in response to the COVID19 pandemic, resulted in a significant number of desperate calls from the Homeless Sector for urgent SUD (substance use disorder), GBV (gender-based violence) and trauma intervention. This need and gap in SUD and GBV services for the homeless and high-risk users necessitated a consortium of specialist Non-Profit Organisations to form partnerships and work together on special projects.
STAND partners together with like-minded organisations and funders through our Special Projects work to:
- Develop evidence based, women-centred education, treatment and support for substance and alcohol use disorders and intimate partner violence.
- Provide practical, easy-to-implement onsite training to critical community role- players.
- Educate and capacitate professionals who provide services within Shelters and in communities on Harm Reduction practices and principles.
Ensure that all people across South Africa are considered when drafting policies and procedures regardless of their geographical location.