Learning new skills / behaviour works better if information is provided by a combination of verbal and visual support.
The demonstration sleeves are developed to support outreach workers during the work with people who inject drugs. The Safe Injection Sites Harm Reduction Sleeves provide visual support of safe injecting practices and helps to structure the information that can be shared with injecting users.
The sleeves come with instructions which verbal information can be added.
Added benefit is that they keep you cool and protect you from the harmful UV rays of the sun. White is the most reflective and effective colour for reflecting the sun’s rays and keeping your body cool.
The development of the demonstration sleeves came from a practical point of view. Many people who were trained in safe injecting practices had no experience in explaining others how to safely inject. Though during a training everything was explained, many struggled to take the information from the training to the field / client. Knowing the information and bringing it across are two separate things.
Some found it difficult to start the conversation, some felt uncertain about the information they needed to provide and some found that the person who injects drugs had difficulties understanding verbal instructions.
Another reason to develop educational material to support safe injecting practices was that we found out that many users had difficulties understanding verbal instructions without visual support.
During pilots outreach workers mentioned that conversations started easier as clients asked about the sleeves and what the pictograms meant.
The pictograms give visual support, but also helps the outreach workers to give structure to the information they provide.
The reason for choosing protective sleeves has the added benefit that outreach workers are more protected against the sun, keeps them warm during the colder days and provides support for the arm which benefits the blood circulation
The information is directly on the arm and therefore links with the information given.
Another problem we came across was that in some communities there was resistance against harm reduction programs. Needle syringes programs were misunderstood at times. Many times people thought harm reduction was the same as promoting drugs. We looked at a product that could start a conversation without people felt that the safety of their community was in danger. We came up with the text: We need to talk about drugs.
Outreach workers have mentioned that they received positive reactions from communities and found that the t-shirt helped them start a conversation.
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