People who use drugs are key in voicing the needs and concerns of their communities. Since the beginning of Bridging the Gaps, Mainline actively supports networks of people who use drugs, such as the National Users Network Nepal (NUNN) together with INPUD. Effective organisations by and for people who use drugs ensure involvement in advocacy and policy-making.
Besides NUNN, there are many other drug user networks in Nepal. Some are more formal than others and each has a specific focus. As part of south-south exchange and capacity building, Mainline and its Pakistani partner Nai Zindagi joined forces in 2014 to address the issue of fragmentation among the networks of people who use drugs in Nepal. The main objective of this initiative was to create one platform and unite the different organisations in solidarity. Nai Zindagi taps into the specific knowledge of other Asian harm reduction organisation by working under the umbrella of Response Beyond Borders (RBB).
As part of this initiative, networks could submit plans. These were reviewed and rewarded based on the motivation to collaborate on the one hand and the added value of a specific focus on the other hand. Three networks received a small grant: a network for women who use drugs, a network for young people who use drugs and a network that focuses on improving guidelines for drug treatment centres in Nepal. The latter network reached a milestone by aligning drug treatment centres nationwide to agree on a rights-based, voluntary treatment guideline.
In 2015 the support to networks continues. Nai Zindagi will shift its focus and work to building the financial capacity of the networks. This will again strengthen the organisations and will increase both effectiveness and sustainability.