We invite to the course developed by Global Public Health Network (GPHN) in partnership with Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA) as part of the Eurasian Regional Consortium’s project “Thinking outside the box: overcoming challenges in community advocacy for sustainable and high-quality HIV services” supported by the Robert Carr Fund for civil society networks (RCF). The course is developed in response to specific needs determined during the assessment conducted by the consortium at the end of 2020.

You can find out more about the assessment at: https://harmreductioneurasia.org/stakeholder_digi_meeting/

This course has been designed to give the necessary skills and knowledge to work online with key groups. It covers the basic knowledge on the core elements of providing digital services for key populations. During the Covid 19 pandemic, digital tools turned out to be important means of reaching members of vulnerable groups.

There is no single tool that fits all needs. There are many specialized tools, and they are constantly being developed, improved, or fixed. A tool used by one organization may not fit the requirements of others. Therefore, the main objective of this course is to show how to properly select digital tools and evaluate their usefulness.

Before diving into details of tool selection, we will show how using Internet based interventions can be an effective approach to evidence-based work with key groups and individuals. We will then look at another important aspect, computer mediated communication. We will also tackle the issue of confidentiality, privacy, and data storage safety, as well as ethics. The Internet can be a wonderful tool, but online safety is a key issue when providing online services.

Who is this course for?

This course is for those who already run digital services and those who plan to. It is especially suited to NGOs and public health institutions providing digital or remote services for key populations, as well as for organizations that are just planning to introduce such services. The purpose of the course is to build capacities of peer workers, social workers, psychologists, and other specialists who are involved in provision of online/remote services, and managers of those programs, for better quality of the services.

By the end of the course, you will be able to:

  1. Use online communication effectively for counselling and therapy.
  2. Describe what a Persona is and identify why and when to use it.
  3. Construct a Persona.
  4. Recognize the strengths and weaknesses of various tool categories.
  5. Compare and contrast digital tools.
  6. Adopt the use of counselling skills in an online context.
  7. Protect your online privacy and security.
  8. Be aware of ethical issues and dilemmas of running on-line services.


Below is a handful of information that has been compiled to help you complete this course. The course can be run on desktops, tablets, and smartphones; however, using a larger screen will improve the learning experience. It is best to watch the content using the latest software available for your device and the latest version of your web browser.

The program of the course consists of four modules with learning content, self-check tests, additional tips, and practical exercises. For each module, the lesson text has been prepared for reading online and in PDF format for download. We have also included additional materials such as: questionnaires and surveys, videos, and links to external sources on the Internet.

Modules and Topics

The four-module programme is structured as follows, with each module broken down into several topics:

Module 1 - 12.09 -18.09

  • Introduction to digital services (terminology, goals, strategies, benefits and limits of digital services);
  • Online communication (specifics of computer mediated communication, rules of netiquette, language in digital services);
  • Persona tool (why and how to use persona to understand and target your audience);
  • Selecting digital tools.

Module 2 - 19.09 – 25-09

  • Online counselling and therapy (framework for practice, structure of effective client session, practicalities of developing online relationship);
  • Monitoring and evaluation of services.

Module 3 – 26.09 – 02.10

  • Secure digital services;
  • Privacy & confidentiality;
  • Security guidelines, secure software, and hardware, encrypting sensitive data, tips to protect your online privacy and security.

Module 4 – 3.10 – 10.10

  • Ethics and dilemmas of running on-line services;
  • Online services - impact on staff (work-life balance).

We are planning a live meeting every Monday, where we will talk about what's coming up in the next module and answer any questions participants may have.

To register: https://ehra.learnworlds.com/course/digital-services

Our first live meeting will take on 12 September