We watched the COSUP team in Mamelodi dancing Jerusalema. And we left inspired.
In our recent reflection on the highlights of being a researcher and evaluator, we shared how our work gives us the opportunity to get a glimpse of a wide range of real-life situations. Often these situations are defined by conditions that are not optimal. And where real and seemingly insurmountable challenges occur. Often, in these situations, we find the most inspiring glimpses of hope and joy. These moments show the passion and resilience of actors in the development space.
We are currently conducting work which has introduced us to the Community Substance Use Programme (COSUP). COSUP is an evidence-based drug harm reduction programme, which is implemented by the City of Tshwane’s health department, through a partnership with the Department of Family Medicine from the University of Pretoria.
This programme is ground-breaking, as the first comprehensive drug harm reduction programme in the country. Programmes that focus on substance use often focus on prevention strategies and demand reduction, or law enforcement aimed at supply reduction. Harm reduction is an essential component of a comprehensive response to drug use. It is embedded in a human-rights approach which departs from traditional punitive approaches. It recognises the humanity, dignity and rights of persons who use drugs.
As part of our engagement with COSUP, we conducted a virtual site visit to one of the COSUP facilities in Mamelodi, Pretoria. Through this site visit, we gained a deeper understanding of where and how this dedicated team provides professional services to drug users in the community. As well as how they do this with the highest level of compassion and care.
A delightful add-on to our data-gathering was a fun video the team shared with us. It’s not directly related to the focus of our data collection, but very relevant in showing us the team spirit and energy of this team, who are doing often difficult work under challenging conditions. We are inspired by the COSUP team.
By Fia van Rensburg