A few answers to common questions regarding WINGS and SUNFLOWER:

I’m interested in WINGS SUNFLOWER - how feasible would it be to implement WINGS model and SUNFLOWER one-stop service mechanism at my organization?
It is feasible to implement WINGS and SUNFLOWER with the right support and resources. Please reach out to us to find out more. Organizations that have implemented WINGS of Hope and WINGS SUNFLOWER, have reported reduced incidence of GBV among participants and increased connections to services, among other positive outcomes.

Organizations introduce new programming for multiple reasons and need the support of others. If you want to try adapting the WINGS model to your agency’s context and implement it, you will for sure have all support from the agencies that were able to implement the project and are ready to share their unique experience. As pioneers, they had to scrape through many challenges. However, now they get an opportunity to help their peers who decide to join the WINGS family.

How much would it cost to implement a WINGS-specific project?
The primary cost of implementing WINGS is time – time of staff and supervisors to be trained. There are few additional costs. An organization that has decided to adapt and implement the project can develop its own budget based on staff commitment and other regulations specific to the particular organization. Such projects are ideal for organizations that receive several grants at a time, and therefore, are able to co-pay rent, utilities, and work with two to three experts to train staff and guide implementation.

WINGS considers the level of complexity of the context of gender-based violence in the country and the stigma and discrimination that women who use drugs and provide sex services face. The harder the situation and the stronger the stigma, the more effort may be required to implement the project. Please contact us to discuss your specific situation.

Is it true that WINGS is only applicable for women who use drugs or women who provide sex services?
WINGS of Hope was initially designed for women who use drugs. It was later adapted to meet the needs of women who engage in sex work. Then we adapted the program to the context of community-based Crisis Centers, and are working to make it meet the unique needs of other vulnerable groups including LBT, men who have sex with men, migrants, adolescent girls, people living with tuberculosis and visitors of Support Centers for elderly people.

Projects utilizing the WINGS model are based on a chain of basic components, which were described earlier. Briefly, the model includes brief psychoeducation about gender-based violence, identification of risk and victimization through screening developing a safety plan, and referring clients to appropriate service-providers to meet other identified goals. Clients are also offered optional HIV testing, with gender-oriented consultation. This approach is called SBIRT in English and stands for Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment.

The SBIRT model is comprised of several key core components that are woven into different intervention activities that take place in two sessions which occur over a 7-10 days period. may be adapted for other. The scope of topics and adaptation will depend on the support of the partners involved in piloting this initiative.

Are participants of the WINGS-based projects offered monetary incentives?
About half of our participants did not have a permanent source of income. Due to the lack of money almost a quarter of these women were unable to use medical care after a violence episode. If the project team wants to reduce the risk that a woman will not attend the sessions because of lack of money for transportation, they should budget certain amount to cover the basic needs of participants. You can call this money as motivational, incentive, bonus or expenses for transportation, the essence remains the same – this incentive may ensure that every woman can participate in the project, even when she experiences temporary financial difficulties. In the consent forms, it is better to state clearly that the purpose of this money is to ensure that all planned project activities are implemented smoothly, and that is not payment for attending the sessions.
Can WINGS sessions be carried out during the outreach, in parks or doorways?
Our team is working to adapt the project design to work under different conditions. However, for now the project is designed such that all sessions are conducted in a private office, to ensure safety and confidentiality of participants. It is critical that meetings take place in private settings to ensure safety and confidentiality. Safety includes safety of women attending and meeting basic needs such as in hot weather, there should be a fan, and during winter the room should have heater. It would be also good to equip this room with a generator providing an alternative power supply. It is important to consider every minor thing – for example, during a session absence of toilet facilities can become a challenge.

An alternative to meeting at an office could be to use private minibus in which facilitator come to the area where the participants are, and conduct sessions in the bus on the spot. This approach is more expensive though. It will demand additional budget line, and most likely the required money will have to be saved from other project activities.

Can only professional psychologists be WINGS facilitators?
It is absolutely important to be able to speak common language with the women participants and demonstrate empathy and tolerance towards them.

Project staff working for “Wings of Hope” in 2013, 2014 and 2016, as well as WINGS SUNFLOWER in 2019 and 2020, were not only professional psychologists but also peer case managers, lawyers, social workers and journalists. Analysis of collected data demonstrated equal degree of success of all employees, regardless of their professional background. In USA, the specialists of WINGS have at least MSc degree. In India, the Pankh staff are people with secondary and higher education.

The organizations, which do not have employees with University degree in psychology or pedagogy, can apply the referral system through which participants can receive services of higher educated and skilled professionals at other partner organizations.

Can projects, based on the WINGS model, like your project in Kyrgyzstan, work equally well both in NGOs and government agencies?
Yes, WINGS has been shown to work in both NGOs and government agencies. The particular context and climate of each organization will influence how well WINGS may be implemented. For example, scheduling appointments and activities should be made in the way convenient for the participant. It may happen that the only day when they can attend sessions, would be Saturday or Sunday. Employees of state organizations are required to work on a pre-approved schedule and may encounter difficulties, limiting the possibility of meeting only to a five-day working week. The NGOs are more flexible in this respect — they even conduct sessions during evening time, if that is participants’ preference.

At the same time, non-governmental organizations can also depend on their work context. For example, if building, where their office is located, is served by a centralized security system that activates at a particular hour, it will be important to take this into account when planning the meetings’ schedule. If these organizational issues are resolved, then woman can easily decide which of the two types of organizations it is better to apply to for help, because now a lot will depend on whether the employees will show the empathy and tolerance, about which we wrote above.

In Kyrgyzstan and India, the project is implemented by NGOs, whereas in USA it was ran by state structure SAMHSA that networks organizations providing narcological and mental health services.

Which important components were added to the WINGS intervention in Kyrgyzstan that were not a part of the intervention when it was piloted in US?
The intervention sessions were adapted collaboratively with all partner agencies involved in the project implementation in Kyrgyzstan. Based on their experience, our partners gave valuable recommendations regarding that helped make the sessions even more efficient. For instance, we added the Overdose Prevention component and linked it to the educational materials designed by Kyrgyz-based Attika Foundation and the Harm Reduction Association of Kyrgyz Republic. In WINGS SUNFLOWER we added the whole chapter with guidelines on efficient documenting of cases of violence with the help of so called Istanbul Convention Forms — this supplemental chapter was designed and piloted by the Crisis Centers Association of Kyrgyz Republic.

As a part of intervention, important steps were discussed that participants could take to prevent their own overdose or help other victims – for instance, participants agreed that, if they do drugs, it’s important not to do them alone and not use alcohol before injecting drugs (they would be safer if they inject first because it is easier to measure how much they drink than how much they inject).

We helped participants to make a list of individuals with whom they would feel safe when doing drugs, and they agreed that if they can teach these skills to the people in heir community, they may be able to prevent their own overdose. They also agreed that they should call for an ambulance in the case of an overdose because it is important to have trained medical professionals assess the condition of the overdose victim. We brainstormed various scenarios of such calls and discussed the reason why people are reluctant about calling an ambulance – through rehearsing several models of communication with ambulance, we identified the ones that would minimize risk of police involvement.

The overdose prevention component is just one of several elements that were not there in the US version of WINGS but appeared quite applicable and efficient in the Kyrgyz-specific WINGS-based projects.

Through the link below you can find comprehensive guidelines on how to access the English version of the article published in 2018 in the Journal of Substance Use that examines the prevalence of economic abuse by intimate and non-intimate partners among a sample of 55 substance-involved women in Kyrgyzstan, involved in the WINGS of Hope study, and the relationship between economic abuse and the women’s socio-demographic characteristics and other types of gender-based violence:

GLORI Foundation prepared an informal translation of the article published in 2018 in the Journal of Substance Use that examines the prevalence of economic abuse by intimate and non-intimate partners among a sample of 55 substance-involved women in Kyrgyzstan, involved in the WINGS of Hope study, and the relationship between economic abuse and the women’s socio-demographic characteristics and other types of gender-based violence. The Russian version of the article can be found through the following link:

Download the English version of the article with WINGS of Hope Year One overview and findings published in the Drug and Alcohol Review journal in 2017:

Download the Russian version of the article with WINGS of Hope Year One overview and findings published in the Drug and Alcohol Review journal in 2017:

This video was recorded on February 18, 2020, during the Social Impact event at Columbia U School of Social Work. In the video Dr Louisa Gilbert is sharing her advanced experience of implementing WINGS model in different countries:

Ask our experts about WINGS SUNFLOWER project and WINGS model

[recaptcha size:compact]

Comments are closed.