Community partnership is key as ARCSHS, Living Positive Victoria and Harm Reduction Victoria signed a three year agreement as part of the What Works and Why (W3) project.

 

Back row (L to R) – Graham Brown (ARCSHS), Steph Tzanetis (Harm Reduction Victoria), Brent Allan (Living Positive Victoria) Front Row – Charles Henderson (Harm Reduction Victoria) and Tim Krulic (Living Positive Victoria)

The What Works and Why or the W3 project is a study that is investigating the role of peer-led programs and the influence these programs have in community, policy and sector systems. Led by Dr Graham Brown from the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, the W3 project is being rolled out in two stages:

  • Stage 1 (from 2013-2016) – the project worked with 10 community and peer-led organisations to develop a new quality and evaluation framework for peer-led programs.
  • Stage 2 (2016-2019) –  the W3 project is working with Harm Reduction Victoria and Living Positive Victoria to apply the framework at an organisational level. This includes the development of practical tools and approaches to improve the impact and quality of programs as well as share real-time knowledge with the broader sector.

“What I’m passionate about is ensuring that affected communities are equipped to articulate their voices and lead the HIV response,” said Brent Allan, CEO, Living Positive Victoria.  “We’re investing in W3 because building our community research capacity is something that will drive the kind of systemic changes that will make this happen in Australia.”

Using systems approaches the project will:

  • develop a more sophisticated understanding of how peer based programs work;
  • help community and peer-based organisations evaluate what really matters to their work; and
  • articulate how peer based programs add value to HIV and HCV programs and policy in addition to their community, policy and sector systems.

“We know that peer-led programs and leadership are the key to maximising community engagement with the HIV response,” said Timothy Krulic, Health Promotion Officer. “That’s why we’re collaborating with the W3 Project to enhance the work we do, to challenge stigma, to enhance engagement with treatment options, and to make the most of the opportunities that working in the HIV sector allows.”

For more information on the W3 project visit w3project.org.au