ASWA’s New Sex Workers Academy: Africa Leadership Sex Workers Academy (ALESWA)
From September 2022, the African Sex Workers Alliance (ASWA), started a new knowledge and capacity model. The new training model is known as the Africa Leadership Sex Workers Academy (ALESWA).
ALESWA is informed by the emerging needs to expand sex workers skills and knowledge to build a strong and resilient movement in Africa that is able to cope with the changing dynamics of work occasioned by the emergency of COVID 19 and other challenges.
The new training model builds on the existing Sex Worker Academy Africa (SWAA), that has been running since 2014. More than 500 sex workers leaders in all their diversity across Africa have attended SWAA and trained on advocacy and implement rights-based HIV programmes as set out in the Sex Worker Implementation Tool (SWIT). Due to the training, sex workers leaders have emerged hence the emergence of 25 sex workers led national networks across Africa.
From the milestones, ASWA’s objective with ALESWA is to strengthen the capacity of emerging and existing sex workers leaders to create a robust sex workers movement in Africa. ALESWA is an extensive knowledge and skills building training model to build the resilience of individuals and organizations in the next three years.
Focus areas will be the Africa human rights frameworks underpinning social protection for marginalised groups such as sex workers. Social protection’ refers to measures aimed at preventing and addressing situations which negatively affect people’s wellbeing, as well as measures which reduce vulnerability and facilitate social and economic stability.
Social protection supports the realisation of other human rights, such as the right to an adequate standard of living, the right to housing, education, and to the highest attainable standard of health, which includes sexual and reproductive health.
After the training, all sex workers will be able to advocate for their rights and build movements at local, national, and regional levels are essential to the success of the sex worker movement in Africa and globally.
Building the capacity of female, male and transgender sex workers to support community empowerment works best in an environment where the sex workers being trained are learning from the experiences of other sex workers.
The Academy is based on peer-peer learning approach and will promote learning through a participation, and the sharing of knowledge, experiences, and expertise among sex workers in their diversity.
This approach has shown to be effective in transferring knowledge and skills within the sex worker community and building the sex worker movement at local, national, and regional levels through SWAA (Sex Workers Academy Africa).
ASWA (African Sex Workers Alliance) is looking to create a network of empowered change makers across Africa. The training will give participants a better understanding of advocating for the rights of sex workers. The Academy aims to empower and build the capacity of young, and emerging sex workers leaders across Africa. Graduates of the academy will be expected to share their learning and work with other sex worker activists in their countries to build strong national movements across Africa
To start off, eight sex workers were trained to become faculty members.
The Academy is supported by the Robert Carl Foundation through the Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP).