Support. Don’t Punish Initiatives programme

The #SupportDontPunish Initiatives Programme supports collectives, networks and organisations that represent and/or serve communities disproportionately affected by punitive drug policies to build alternative approaches based on health and human rights, with harm reduction at their core.

The Initiatives Programme‘s first cohort was selected from an incredibly competitive process. The Call for applications, launched in September 2019, received 82 responses of a very high calibre. Applications were assessed by IDPC as well as a group of Support. Don’t Punish campaigners and community representatives from across the world. Six projects, from Argentina, Germany, Myanmar, Nigeria, South Africa and Ukraine, involving four community-led networks, were selected on the basis of their coherent strategy, creativity and collaborative nature.


Argentina | Led by Intercambios A.C.

Intercambios A.C. is a civil society organisation aiming to develop and apply knowledge in addressing drug-related challenges, within the framework of human rights.

Intercambios’ initiative seeks to create spaces for collaboration and strategising between communities disproportionately affected by punitive drug policies, including trans people, sex workers and youth. A series of 4 participatory hackathons will bring together community representatives to define key aims and develop both collective and community-specific work plans that will hinge on dissemination activities in different cities across Argentina (through information booths, social media campaigns, workshops and mural-making) and advocacy with public authorities, both at the federal and state levels.

The Support. Don’t Punish campaign and the messages developed through the initiative will also be central at the 18th National Drug Policy Conference, at the Federal Parliament, in June 2020.

(Activities may change in response to the risks posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. This information will be updated accordingly.)


Germany | Led by BerLun

BerLun is a community-led network of Russian-speaking people who use drugs in Berlin.

BerLun’s initiative involves five planned events from December 2019 to the 2020 Global Day of Action, on 26 June. In December, BerLun will organise weekly training sessions on how to overcome self-stigmatisation and overcome trust issues with the aim of developing capacity within community members to become peer activists and educators. In February, BerLun, alongside local students, will co-organise a seminar discussing the impact of the “war on drugs” in the EECA region amongst people who use drugs and vulnerable migrants, providing attendees the opportunity to build new partnerships between civil society, the Academy and decision-makers. In May, a photo exhibition will showcase the challenges faced by people who use drugs and the impact of repressive drug policies. This will be a chance to start a dialogue on the negative impact on the right to health and the role of the “war on drugs” in fuelling the HIV and HCV epidemics, as well as the overdose crisis. Finally, the Global Day of Action in June will begin with a seminar to highlight the challenges faced by migrants in the EECA region. This event will provide the opportunity to invite participants to join efforts to decriminalise people who use drugs, support harm reduction and end the “war on drugs”. A short video of the day will be produced and used as a dissemination resource.

(Activities may change in response to the risks posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. This information will be updated accordingly.)


Myanmar | Led by the Drug Policy Action Group (DPAG)

The Drug Policy Advocacy Group is a discussion platform composed of a wide range of stakeholders with an interest in drug-related policies and practices. The group’s main objective is to advocate for the adoption of drugs policies and practices based on public health, human rights and development.

DPAG’s initiative will see its network and affected communities coalesce to advocate for drug policies that prioritise public health and the end of criminalisation of people who use drugs. DPAG plans to organise consultation meetings in four regions of Myanmar with local partners and develop sensitive key advocacy messages and activities. Advocacy will also be organised in each area, with participants addressing local stakeholders to encourage the prioritisation of public health and development-led approaches to drug policy. These actions will culminate in the 2020 Global Day of Action, with activities co-organised with communities directly affected by punitive drug laws and practices.

(Activities may change in response to the risks posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. This information will be updated accordingly.)


Nigeria | Led by YouthRISE Nigeria, the Drug Harm Reduction Advocacy Network (DHRAN) and AFRILAW

This initiative is carried forward by a tripartite partnership. Afrilaw advocates for the rule of law, human rights and justice for all. The Drug Harm Reduction Advocacy Network (DHRAN) is network of activists mobilising for the adoption and expansion of harm reduction services in Nigeria. Youth RISE Nigeria promotes evidence-based drug policy and interventions with the meaningful involvement of young people and most affected communities.

Together, Afrilaw, DHRAN and YouthRise Nigeria will organise multi-stakeholder round-tables in 8 states of Nigeria, in collaboration with National Human Rights Commission offices. In addition, Afrilaw plans to organise a workshop on the need to adopt a public health and human rights approach to drug control, aimed to raise awareness among law enforcement operators. The initiative will culminate in a street photo campaign in commemoration of the 2020 Global Day of Action in June.

(Activities may change in response to the risks posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. This information will be updated accordingly.)


South Africa | Led by the South African Network of People who Use Drugs (SANPUD)

The South African Network of People who Use Drugs (SANPUD) initially planned for a series of drug checking and naloxone delivery trainings; the production of a photo book with photographies and testimonies of people who use drugs and who live in situations of vulnerability, and a film screening/debate.

The COVID-19 crisis has led to a re-structuring of their work-plans to respond to the humanitarian emergency and keep SANPUD and its communities safe. SANPUD’s initiative will provide emergency relief for street-based people in distress due to restrictions imposed upon them,  engage in advocacy with the local government to ensure the interests of vulnerable people who use drugs are not left behind in the COVID-19 response, organise a series of webinars on the COVID-19 epidemic and harm reduction, and deliver naloxone training whilst abiding by the physical distancing mandate in the country.


Ukraine | Led by the Ukrainian Network of People who Use Drugs (PUD.UA/ VOLNA)

VOLNA unites people living with drug dependence to provide mutual support, protect and promote the human rights of people who use drugs, and improve their quality of life and access to health programmes.

VOLNA’s initiative combines peer-based documentation and art to advocate for harm reduction and drug policy reform. The network plans to develop its work plan in 3 different stages: First, through a series of film-screenings/debates showcasing compelling movies that centre the experiences of people who use drugs in Ukraine. Second, through the organisation of flash mobs directed at law enforcement authorities in the country; which will put front and centre the portraits and stories of people deprived of the right to treatment and liberty in relation to their drug use. And, finally, a nation-wide series of street theatre performances that shed light on the importance of harm reduction for the community.

VOLNA’s workplan will conclude with community leaders’ advocacy in relation to the development of the 2021-2030 National Drug Strategy. Written recommendations will be submitted to national authorities in a press briefing activity in the capital.


Call for proposals – September 2019

Are you part of a collective, network or organisation advocating for drug policies that prioritise health and human rights? Are you planning to join the 2020 Support. Don’t Punish Global Day of Action and have an outstanding plan to build momentum? If your answer is “yes” then this call for applications might be for you!

Through this call, the Support. Don’t Punish campaign aims to identify and support local partners (up to 7) with funding of between USD 2,000 – 4,000 for strategic, creative and collaborative projects building up to the 2020 Global Day of Action that advance drug policy reform, bolster harm reduction and build bridges with/within/between communities disproportionately affected by the “war on drugs” (e.g. people who use drugs, farmers of crops deemed illicit, youth, ethnic minorities, LGBTQ+, among many others).

Kindly note that the Initiatives programme differs in size and scope from the regular small grants that the campaign deploys yearly to support the realisation of activities during the Global Day of Action (26th June). A separate Call for Expressions of Interest for the 2020 Global Day of Action will be launched on the first quarter of 2020. However, beneficiaries of the Initiatives programme will not be eligible to receive supplementary financial support for activities organised for the 2020 Global Day of Action.

Grant specifications

Over the last seven years, Support. Don’t Punish local partners have organised over 1,000 activities in more than 100 countries. These range from marches, music events, sports tournaments, seminars with policy makers, film forums, press conferences and many more. A common thread has been to challenge norms and practices in relation to drugs that maximise harm and, instead, empower affected communities and their allies to mobilise for drug policies based on health and human rights.

We are currently accepting proposals that will see activities take place between December 2019 and June 2020 (culminating at the 2020 Support. Don’t Punish Global Day of Action), for awards of between USD 2,000 – 4,000.

The accepted proposals will be:

  • Coherent and strategic, devising a work-plan of activities that logically responds to local/national goals and priorities, and adequately considers impact.
  • Creative, including ideas that leverage ingenuity and out-of-the-box thinking.
  • Collaborative, proposing activities that build bridges with/within/between communities affected by the “war on drugs”.

Application and selection process

  • Application period: 23 September to 25 October.
  • Notification to successful applicants: 1 November 6 November.
  • Grant implementation: From December 2019 to June 2020.
  • Submission of final report: 31st July 2020.

To apply, please fill in the application form available here. We can receive applications in English, French and Spanish. Other languages could be considered on a case-by-case basis.

If you have difficulties completing the application form or need support. Please get in touch with us at [email protected]