United we are stronger – for all of our communities!
Juventas, Queer Montenegro, Association “Spektra” and LBT women Association “Stana”, a group of Montenegrin NGOs, continues to provide services during the COVID-19 epidemics despite all the changes in the working conditions, and following all of the guidelines of the National Coordination Body for the prevention of the new Corona virus spread.
Persons from the LGBTIQ communities, people who use/inject drugs, sex workers, ex-prisoners, our main target groups, face many challenges at the moment some of which include: emerging or worsening mental health issues due to the long isolation and no contact with relevant others, additional economic hardship which can potentially lead to unemployment and homelessness, higher risk for the ones already facing domestic violence, as well as higher risk of discrimination happening due to changed health system priorities.
People who use/inject drugs, sex workers and former and active prisoners are communities NGO Juventas works with in particular. The services being delivered to them are the following:
1. Distribution and exchange of safe injection equipment (syringes, needles, cookers, medical alcohol, elastic tourniquets…) in Drop in centers and during outreach
2. Distribution of free condoms and lubricants in Drop in centers and during outreach
3. Service of washing and drying of laundry and garments (on a regular basis, but now even more so as a part of measures preventing the spread of Corona virus)
4. Online and phone counseling with outreach and expert workers (doctor, psychologist, social worker)
5. Delivering food packages for the ones most economically challenged (once per week, quantity for 7 days)
According to measures issued by the Government, all external partners/associates are forbidden to provide additional services in prison. On the other hand, Juventas is supporting the work of this institution by providing materials for in prison tailoring of protective masks throughout the framework of a project this organization has.
The services being delivered to the Montenegrin LGBTIQ communities are a product of cooperation and synergies of all four named organizations, Juventas, Queer Montenegro, Association “Spektra” and LBT women Association “Stana”, and these include:
1. Distribution of free condoms and lubricants – NGO Juventas
2. Online and phone counseling with outreach and expert workers (doctor, psychologist, social worker) – NGO Juventas
3. Service of washing and drying of laundry and garments (on a regular basis, but now even more so as a part of measures preventing the spread of Corona virus) – NGO Juventas
4. Delivering food packages for the ones most economically challenged (once per week, quantity for 7 days)-NGO Juventas andNGO Queer Montenegro
5. Peer online and phone individual and group counselling and support- NGO Queer Montenegro
6. Free legal aid- NGO Queer Montenegro
7. Peer online and phone individual and group counselling and support for
8. LBTQ women-LBTQ Women’s Association “Stana”
9. Online self-support group for trans and gender variantpersons- Association “Spectra”
10. Individual online and phone consultations for trans and gender variant persons- Association “Spectra”
In addition to services we are delivering for more than 10 years already, but also in trying to answer the needs of the communities we work with and lessen the burden the COVID19 pandemics brought along, Juventas and Queer Montenegro started with the distribution of food and basic hygiene package for the ones most vulnerable in communities we are working with. It is important to note that these have been adapted to the living conditions of our clients, some of whom do not even have the basic requirements for a dignified life: electricity and/or water.
Juventas and Queer Montenegro, in cooperation with international donors, have set aside a part of their funds in order to fully and adequately provide this service to our clients. Delivery of food and personal hygiene packages is being implemented on a weekly basis and received a special permission from the National Coordination Body for the Prevention of the New Corona virus Spread. Two teams made out of two outreach workers are responsible for food packages delivery. Throughout the process – from the supply of food to its direct distribution, all engaged persons fully comply with all the prescribed preventive measures and use the available protective equipment.
Outreach workers and associates are dedicated to communicating with clients based on their needs, whether online, telephone or in direct contact, again with preventive measures in place. Online communication with all our communities is conducted through social networks (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) and various communication platforms such as Viber, Whats App, Skype and the new Houseparty application which, in addition to communication, enables people to play social games. It is important to note that the phone numbers of team members of all of our organizations are available and visible on the platforms listed. Also, we have prepared specific guidelines for our team and clients.
All our four organizations have been advocating for the protection and human rights of all the communities we work with since the outbreak. It is our great pleasure to be able to provide these services to our clients coming from all of the communities we are working with, and we are using this opportunity to thank all of our colleagues for their hard work in trying to alleviate the consequences of the COVID-19 epidemic.
United we are stronger – for all of our communities!