STEP-UP is a year-long modular training programme designed to provide HIV education and personal development training to people who aspire to become more active in the work of and for HIV communities in Europe and Central Asia. Since 2013, the aim of STEP-UP is to equip a cohort of HIV ambassadors with the knowledge and skills they need to advocate for the best HIV practices. Due to COVID-19, the STEP-UP 2019/2022 programme cycle elevated its face-to-face approach to a series of online sessions. Although the programme has continuously evolved over the years into a training academy, it maintains its main mission of treatment education and patient information.
The new cycle of STEP-UP 2022/2023 is a bilingual (English and Russian) training programme that combines a self-paced e-learning approach with a face-to-face STEP-UP Community of Practice Workshop. It will take the form of a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), the first of its kind on HIV, designed by activists for activists, free and accessible to everyone. The training programme will be complemented by a face-to-face Community of Practice Workshop, a system of sub-grants and cascade of trainings for networking, empowerment and advocacy.
Specific focus on the Eastern Europe and Central Asia will lay the foundation for the consortium with the leading HIV NGO in EECA – the Alliance for Public Health (APH).
STEP-UP will continue to:
Confidently engage in dialogue with researchers, policy makers and industry to on projects, interventions, programmes, R&D, policies and regulations related to the prevention, treatment and care of HIV and related co-infections (mainly hepatitis B and C, TB and STIs) and comorbidities, at local or international levels
Enhance treatment literacy and advocacy capacities of local and regional HIV community organisations
Further promote the adherence to HIV treatment, care, support and prevention in Europe
Fight stigma, health inequalities and discrimination towards people living with HIV
STEP-UP is designed for people living with HIV/AIDS, health care providers, civil society representatives and other professionals who work in service delivery and/or advocacy to ensure universal access to combination prevention, HIV treatment and care.
The new format is expected to significantly increase the number of STEP-UP graduates. Participation in the STEP-UP MOOC will not be based on any selection process, but on willingness to participate. As the contents and languages of the training will be specifically tailored to the needs of HIV activists in WHO Europe, we expect most participants to come from the HIV sector, thus have prior knowledge of HIV and related infections prevention, treatment and care and aspire to expand their capacities, or to have a particular interest in HIV-related issues.
Trainees should assume a leadership role in prevention, treatment and care advocacy, fighting stigma and discrimination, and in increasing understanding and acceptance of HIV in their country and at international level.
The main pool of STEP-UP trainers will be recruited within the EATG membership, consisting of people living with or affected by HIV/AIDS and related co-infections within the WHO Europe region. The project will also see the participation of in-house consultants, such as the e-learning or evaluation consultants.
The STEP-UP 2022/2023 programme is a collaboration between EATG and the Alliance for Public Health (APH).
The main activities of STEP-UP 2022/2023 are:
A free, open to all, self-paced online training on key thematic areas around HIV and advocacy in Europe (MOOC)
The online training will be officially launched and open to all for at least one year (with the possibility of an extension depending on funding opportunities)
A community of practice is established so that the STEP-UP graduates can network, interact and exchange best practices with their peers online and in real life beyond the training period itself
Following a call for participation, 40 STEP-UP graduates will be selected by EATG jointly with APH to participate in the Community of Practice Workshop. A scholarship system will be set up to ensure access to the Community of Practice Workshop for a large number of STEP-UP graduates. 20 STEP-UP graduates will receive full funding (all expenses including travel), and 20 STEP-UP graduates will receive partial funding (accommodation and local expenses)
Grants and other tools will be distributed to STEP-UP graduates to facilitate the sharing of new knowledge and best practices they acquired during the training with their organisations and communities
As for the previous STEP-UP cycles, graduates will receive support for implementing activities directed at knowledge sharing and community mobilisation at the local level. EATG and APH will provide financial and technical support for the organisation of 5 cascade training as part of this programme. The grant scheme will provide a flexible financial resource to help participants set up projects which will directly enhance the quality of life of people living with HIV in the wider community; allowing them to put their STEP-UP learnings into practice
For what outcome?
The expected outcomes of the project are:
STEP-UP graduates apply new knowledge and skills to advocacy challenges in key thematic areas in HIV important in the European context
STEP-UP graduates demonstrate improved advocacy skills both individually and in collaboration with colleagues through empowerment at the personal and professional levels
STEP-UP graduates influence policy and programming at the local, national and regional levels through effective advocacy to promote access to quality services, and in fighting stigma and discrimination for people who are living with or affected by HIV
Duration of the project/initiative:Started in 2013 – ongoing
Project/initiative Main Partner(s):Alliance for Public Health
Budget:2022/2023: 478.199,61 €
Main Funding Sources:Gilead Sciences Europe Ltd
Communication Disclaimer:This initiative has been independently developed by EATG, and was made possible through sponsorship from Gilead Sciences Europe Ltd. EATG acknowledges that Gilead Sciences Europe Ltd has not had any control or input into the structure or content of the initiative. The STEP-UP MOOC is implemented in collaboration with Alliance for Public Health.
This initiative has been independently developed by EATG, and was made possible through sponsorship from Gilead Sciences Europe Ltd and ViiV Healthcare Europe Ltd. EATG acknowledges that neither Gilead Sciences Europe Ltd nor ViiV Healthcare Europe Ltd have had any control or input into the structure or content of the initiative.