East Africa Members

KENYA ALLIANCE OF SEX WORKERS (KESWA)

The Kenya Sex Workers Alliance was formed in 2010 after the establishment of the African Sex Workers Alliance (ASWA), which founded in 2009 at the first ever African Sex Worker conference held in Johannesburg. The conference brought together over 200 sex workers from 10 African countries. KESWA became the first operational country coalition then proceeded by, South Africa, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia and Nigeria.

KESWA structure

The Kenya Sex Workers Alliance (KESWA) is a coalition led by male and female sex workers led groups, organisations and individuals. The coalition’s operations are spearheaded by a steering committee.

Our Mission

Our mission is to contribute to improved Human Rights status of all Sex Workers by designing and implementing innovative, evidence- based and cost-effective Advocacy campaigns capable of influencing public policy and practice in the field of Human Rights.

Our Vision

Creating a society in which all sex workers are able to enjoy the fundamental rights and are free from Violence.

Our Coalition Partners

The Kenyan Sex Workers Alliance comprises of more than 30 organisations, varying form health to human rights organisations, women’s rights groups, donors, government institutions and LGBTI groups etc.

The following organisations that have shown tremendous interest in the establishment of a sex workers movement and are ready to work and support the Kenyan Coalition in the co-running and implementing of its activities.

  • Bar Hostess Empowerment and Support Program- (BHESP)
  • Keeping Alive Society’s Hope- (KASH) Kisumu
  • SURVIVOUR SELF HELP GROUP –Busia
  • Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya (GALCK)
  • Chaani Post Test Club
  • Health Options for Young Men in Aids and STIs (HOYMAS)
  • Sex Workers Outreach Program (SWOP) clinic
  • International Centre for Reproductive Health-Kenya (ICRHK)
  • National AIDS&STD Control Programme (NASCOP)
  • Liverpool VCT
  • Open Society Initiative for East Africa (OSIEA)
  • Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC)
  • KELIN-Kenya
  • Fahamu
  • Kenya National Commission on Human Rights
  • Bunge la Mwananchi Movement
  • UHAI-EASHRI
  • Identity Kenya
  • Nyanza Sex Workers Alliance
  • HAPA Kenya
  • Warembo Sasa

Key activities

Our activities are targeted and informed by the community. These include:

  • Human rights awareness and advocacy
  • Community outreach
  • Legal Aid and Support


 

Country: Kenya

Profile

Survivors Organisation is a sex worker led and driven membership organisation founded in 1999 in Busia County, in Western Kenya.

Registered in 2000 by the Ministry for Gender and Social Services, Survivors’ believes in the fundamental human rights and dignity of sex workers.

We seek to empower and support sex workers in making informed choices about their sexuality. We are at the forefront in advocating for the rights of sex workers.

At Survivors’ we create an environment where members feel respected and dignified; they challenge and learn from each other, as well as provide a caring atmosphere of encouragement and safety, using a non-judgmental approach restore hope to sex workers, who are reactively, periodically or formerly involved in the sex industry.

Founded as ‘Muungano’ (a network of sex workers) and later as “Survivors” connoting our members’ resilience, since its establishment, we have expanded our geographical reach and extended services to Men who have Sex with Men (MSMs). Additionally, we have effectively responded to poor information and heath services, abuse of sex workers’ rights, social stigma and the challenge the historical association of sex work with dysfunction, drug addiction, organised crime, and powerlessness. In defiance of social stigma associated with sex work and HIV and Aids, we changed our name from ‘Muungano’ to ‘Survivors’ Organisation.

VISION

At Survivors, we envision a world where all sex workers recognise and realise their health and human rights; and confidently undertake their work in an environment of respect and safety.

MISSION

We support and empower sex workers to make informed choices regarding their sexuality through capacity building, advocacy, legal aid, networking and dialogue with stakeholders.

STRATREGIC OBJECTIVES

Our main strategic objectives are;

  • To increase our membership by covering all the areas in Busia County
  • To advocate for the Human rights of the sex workers in Busia County
  • To improve the health and wellness of sex workers
  • Improve sex workers’ livelihoods through economic empowerment
  • To strengthen the organisation

PROGRAMMES

  1. Peer Education Programme: This is our flagship program at Survivors. We focus on enrollment and mobilisation of peer educators, community outreach and sensitisation on safe sex including, condom demonstration and distribution, HIV and AIDS Counseling and Testing as well as strategic skills building.

ii. The Emergency Support Scheme (ESS)

The Emergency Support Scheme (ESS) is an intervention that responds to the need for a health insurance policy tailored to the needs and financial capabilities of our members. It covers health issues as well as provides benevolence funds for bereaved members.

The scheme’s objectives are;

  • To mobilise members to contribute funds to support peers with specific emergency needs.
  • To develop mechanisms for the sustainability of the scheme and
  • To maintain STD/HIV and AIDS prevention, control, care and support activities.

iii. Advocacy Rights Programme

This program aims to:

  • Increase levels of awareness and build strong coalitions supporting advocacy for sex workers rights
  • Reduce social stigma, discrimination and abuse of sex workers’ rights by health care providers, law enforcement agencies and the local community.
  • To sensitise and provide legal assistance to sex workers by rendering regular legal consultation, legal education and representation in court.
  • Lobby for review and strengthening of existing health policies and laws that discriminate against sex workers and/or criminalise sex work.                                                                                                                                                                                       Economic Empowerment and Livelihoods Programme

This program seeks to raise the standards of living, and improve the quality of life of sex workers in Busia and its environs through income generating activities. We link members to micro-finance institutions for soft loans and provide entrepreneurship training on business management to supplement sex work during low season and also as an exit strategy during old age when one cannot do sex work any more

HEALTH AND WELLNESS PROGRAMME

Under this program Survivor has established a drop in centre where sex workers can access friendly health services without stigma and discrimination.

The DIC acts as a safe space for the sex workers where they can access health education, condoms and relax as they wait to go to their hot spots for work.

PARTNERSHIPS/DONORS

Survivors Organisation has prioritised coalition building and high visibility as key strategies for institutional and programme strengthening. Among the partners that have supported this initiative include the universities of Nairobi and Manitoba; the Open Society Institute of East Africa (OSIEA), APHIA+, APHIA II Western Kenya, the AMREF Maanisha Project and the Liverpool VCT Care and Treatment.


The Tanzania Sex Worker Alliance (TASWA) is Non-Governmental organisation led by sex workers. It was started in 2015 to serve female, male and transgender sex workers in Tanzania and to amplify their voice in advocating for their rights.

Founders of TASWA

TASWA was founded by 5 Tanzanian sex worker organisations which are: Tanzania Community Empowerment Foundation (TACEF), Warembo Forum, Kazi Busara na Hekima (KBH Sisters), Totoz Sisters and House Of the Empowerment in Tanzania (HEAT).

Mission:

  • Our mission is to contribute to improved human rights of all sex workers by designing and implementing evidence-based advocacy campaigns capable of influencing public policy and practice in the field of human rights

Vision:

  • To see a society in which all sex workers are able to enjoy the fundamental rights and are free from violence.

Goal:

To create enabling environment for sex workers to access justice and protecting them against human rights violations and reduce the HIV vulnerability

Objectives
Making human rights a reality in the response to the HIV and AIDS epidemic in Tanzania.

Our specific objectives

To strengthen and scale-up a coordinated sex workers community response on health and human rights to maximise civil society impact on national HIV programming.

To increase accountability for health and human rights literacy among all stakeholders in the national HIV response

Geographical coverage area

TASWA is a coalition of sex workers from all over Tanzania.

Membership and partnership:

  •  African Sex worker Alliance (ASWA)
  •  Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP).

Tanzania : Warembo Forum

The Warembo Forum means beauty. It was chosen as a name to represent us because although our community is marginalised, we still feel beautiful and an integral part of the community.

Organisational Profile

Warembo Forum (WAFO) is a non-governmental organisation established by female Sex Workers (FSWs) to advocate for health and human rights of marginalised women particularly female sex workers. This was in formed by their own experiences on the challenges that FSWs face.

Members include deaf FSWs. The organisation has four full time staff and twelve volunteers (outreach workers).

The organisation was established in 2011 and registered in 2013 to promote sex workers’ health and human rights.

Currently, the organisation operates in seven regions in Tanzania mainland Dar es Salaam, Mwanza, Tanga Shinyanga and Arusha,Iringa , and Morogoro with the aim of reaching more female sex workers all over the country.

After realising the challenges and gaps among disabled FSWs we thought it was important to join forces, voices and combine energies to advocate for equal opportunities on health, human rights and in social aspects as the best way of addressing challenges facing FSWs.

Establishing Income Generating Activities among FSWs has created an option of earning income instead of depending only on sex work. This has also reduced risky sexual behaviour that contributes to HIV infection.

Our activities and strategies since inception under Warembo Forum have flourished and we enjoy wide acceptance among the women we represent and work with in the community.

We see our significant role in HIV prevention, address GBV and as active partners in the struggle to halt the spread of HIV in Tanzania.

Vision

An inclusive society where the rights of female sex workers are respected

Mission

WAFO is a civil society organisation that exists to advocate for the rights and emancipation of female sex workers.

Our main objective is; 

To advocate for, and empower FSWs in issues related to Human rights, HIV and AIDS and reproductive health rights, and other needs.

Our specific objectives are:

  • To remove stigma against female   sex workers infected   and non infected with HIV and STIs, help them gain access to medical care without prejudice, and also include female sex workers issues to the wider women rights’ movements in Tanzania
  • To document and disseminate information regarding female sex workers on human rights violation
  • Capacity building and empowerment on entrepreneurship skills, life skills, income generating establishment
  • To   build a stronger FSWs movement within which members are empowered with sufficient knowledge and information on   health, human rights,   and other related aspects to enable members to articulate for their human rights and equal opportunities economically. Politically, and socially.

Achievements

In total WAFO to date was able to meet and provide service to FSWs through outreach programs. Specifically the organization was able to reach some of female sex workers in different region such Handeni Tanga , Dar es Salaam, Morogoro, Arusha, Iringa and Mwanza regions with education on HIV and AIDS with emphasis on the importance of safer sex practices by using condoms correctly and consistently to prevent the sexual transmission infections.

We have been able to link and network with other allies and partners for experience and information sharing nationally and internationally. They include ARASA, KESWA, MASWA, UN family Tanzania branches such as UNDP, UN women , UNAIDS, UNFPA, Jhpiego, TGNP, Women Fund Tanzania WFT), TACAIDS,   local government authorities in regions that WAFO operates include Dar es salaam, Morogoro, Iringa, Mwanza and Tanga.

The organisation regular uses the media (TV talk show through the women live sessions at East Africa Television EATV) to educate the Tanzania community on the female sex workers issues.

Warembo Forum has established the FSWs Village Community Bank (VIKOBA) in Dar es Salaam and Iringa with an intention of reaching other regions that we operate in. Through VIKOBA, the groups are linked to different microfinance institutions for loan provision.

WAFO  supervises the VIKOBA and facilitates the establishment of income generating activities for the FSWs.

WAFO is a member of:

  • Sex Tortion Coalition hosted by Women Fund Tanzania, women’s global network for reproductive rights (WGNRR), GDSS – gender development studies at TGNP
  • Africa Sex Workers Alliance ASWA
  • NSWP (The Global Network of Sex Work Projects)
  • Key Population Expert Group and others

Warembo Forum, has also participated in different community activities, and campaigns such as constitution review process where as on August 2013 conducted a training for Female sex workers in Dar es salaam region to empower them participate fully on mabaraza ya katiba at ward level to make sure the 12 key women’s issues identified by Wanawake na Katiba Coalition have to be defended and not deleted on the first draft of the constitution.


Tanzania Community Empowerment Foundation (TACEF)

Tanzania Community Empowerment Foundation (TACEF) is Non-Governmental Organisation led by transgender persons and sex workers. It was started in 2013 and officially recommended by Kinondoni Municipal to serve as a community organisation in 2014.

TACEF guides and support advocacy work of its members and primarily focuses on human basic rights, health rights, sexual rights regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity.

The organisation’s objective is to help reduce all forms of stigma and discrimination based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) within the community and in public institutions like hospitals and law enforcement agents such as the police.

The organisation also provides entrepreneurial skills and counselling to LGBTI and sex workers.

TACEF is an individual membership organisation with 340 members and prides itself as a hub of knowledge and resource on matters regarding transgender persons and sex workers.

TACEF wants to see a future where the human rights principles are applied equally to Tanzanians regardless of their identity or orientation.

 Mission:

  • To reduce all forms of stigma and discrimination. To advocate for basic human rights and sexual rights of members regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity in

Vision

  • To have safe community where every individual enjoy life without discrimination and practice where everyone accept the full enjoyment of basic human rights regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Goal

  • To promote health welfare, human rights of all people. 

Objectives

  • To educate each other on issues that relate to HIV and AIDS, reproductive health and rights, human rights, TB and other related issues.
  • To promote community awareness so as to reduce discrimination and stigma and provide assistance to those who face sexual violence
  • To collaborate with different religious institutions to provide education on the sexual orientation and gender identity.

Our specific objectives

  • To remove stigma against transgender, gender non-conforming and sex workers who are infected and non-infected with HIV, TB and STIs. Help those in need gain access to medical care without prejudice.
  • To document and disseminate information regarding transgender, gender non-conforming and sex workers human rights violation.
  • To build a stronger transgender, gender non-conforming and sex workers movement within which members are empowered with sufficient knowledge and information on   health, human rights, and other related aspects to enable members to articulate for their human rights and equal opportunities economically politically and socially.

Focus areas

  • Capacity building of transgender, gender non-conforming and sex workers.
  • Creating if awareness on sexual reproductive health rights of LGBTI and sex workers.
  • Research and documentation.
  • Advocacy and lobbying
  • Human Rights.
  • Live hood.

Achievements

  • We have joined forces with Kinondoni Municipal to advocate for health rights of LGBTI community and sex workers.
  • Advocated for improved access to safe We have secured condoms for distribution to transgender, bisexual, gay, MSM and sex worker and also provided them with sexual rights and health rights for the prevention of the HIV infection.
  • We have advocated for inclusion of lubricants for the gay, MSM, bisexual men and the transgender in the HIV/AIDS National Multi-Sectorial Framework.
  • We have reached some of LGBTI and sex workers in Dar es Salaam with education on HIV and AIDS and proper usage of condoms (LGBTI and SW), lubricants through peer educators.
  • We have been able to advocate for integration of sexuality and spirituality dialogue in Tanzania. The ISSDT dialogue delivered a chance for religious leaders and LGBT peoples from Dar es salaam, Tanzania to mingle and share challenges and experiences on barriers to access to health services and other humanitarian services and how to address them. The ISSDT also wanted to create a space for LGBTI and religion leaders to express their feelings and attitudes towards spirituality and sexuality related to stigma and discrimination related to HIV and AIDS prevention.

Membership and partnership

The Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP), Tanzania Sex Worker Alliance (TASWA), African Sex worker Alliance (ASWA), African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF), Tanzania Gender Networking Programme (TGNP), AIDS and Rights Alliance for Southern Africa (ARASA), African Men for Health & Rights (AMSHeR) United of Transgender in Tanzania (UTT), East Africa Trans Health &Advocacy Network (EATHAN).


 ORGANISATION FOR GENDER EMPOWERMENT AND RIGHTS ADVOCACY(OGERA UGANDA) INTRODUCTION

Organisation for Gender empowerment and Rights Advocacy (OGERA Uganda) is a fully registered women sex worker led organisation that works for the betterment of human rights for refugee, lesbian, bisexual and trans gender /WSW sex workers in Uganda.


VISION

A Ugandan society where women LBT/WSW/Refugee sex workers rights are recognised and respected.

MISSION

Organisation for Gender Empowerment and Rights Advocacy exists to promote health and human rights of women LBT/WSW /Refugee sex workers in Uganda.

GOAL

A Uganda where all women LBT/WSW/ Refugee sex workers are treated with dignity and Humanity regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, race or nationality.

AIMS AND OBJECTIVES

  • To advocate, create awareness on health and human rights of women LBT/WSW/Refugee sex workers in Uganda.
  • To increase OGERA’s influence and visibility through nurturing and sustaining partnerships with key stake holders.
  • To build and strengthen OGERA’s institutional capacity.

Why sex workers

The public generally marginalises sex workers and their needs are ignored.

HISTORY

OGERA is a membership and partnership organisation established in 2013 by a group of sex workers who felt that their issues were not fully represented in the LGBTI or sex worker movement due to different perspectives in relation to intersectionality.

For so many years, sex work was believed to be meant for only heterosexual women and therefore the lesbians, bisexuals and transgender women who engage in sex work are always left out yet they are also face challenges such as police harassments and arrests, rape, insults, violations, stigma and discrimination from the community, family, schools and fellow sex workers.

Female sex workers are not usually questioned about their sexual orientation, which leads to common assumptions that they all identify as heterosexuals yet sex workers with different sexual orientations and gender identities offer consensual services. Consequently, they are not recognised or involved in planning leading to their health and health and human rights being overlooked.

LBT/WSW/Refugee sex workers are traumatised due to the stigma and discrimination they face; many have probably gone through a tough life experience hence resorting to drug and substance abuse.

The LBT/WSW sex workers are face corrective and collective rape because homophobic people believe that sexual orientation and gender identity is a choice.

Refugee sex workers in Uganda face discrimination and stigma from the community due to origin and nationality and language barrier which makes it hard for them to negotiate with their clients, access friendly health services and protection of their rights. Refugees and LBT/WSW sex workers who live in rural areas are uninformed therefore have no one to run to incase of any kind of assistance or consultation and a lot of violations, Insults, police arrests and harassments occur each day that passes by.

The refugee sex workers mostly in settlements are at higher risk of being infected with HIV, STDs and STIs due to lack of health information and negotiation skills.

With all the above challenges and many more, OGERA derives into making sure that refugee and LBT/WSW sex workers’ lives are improved.

ACTIVITIES

  • Outreach programs to distribute condoms, lubricants, training and sharing of health and legal information, identifying and recruiting new members.
  • Research and documentation of human rights violations against Refugees and LBT /WSW sex workers.
  • Identify and develop entrepreneurship skills for members to get economic empowerment
  • Lobbying and advocacy through media, printing and circulation of brochures with powerful messages on LBT /WSW/Refugee sex workers’ issues hence sensitising the general public.
  • Monitoring and evaluation.
  • Raise awareness about the health and human rights of LBT/WSW/Refugee sex workers.
  • Building capacity and solidarity mentoring and skills building for LBT/WSW/Refugee sex workers and leadership achieved by developing and providing tools, training and support on issues such as human rights.
  • Functional adult literacy trainings.
  • Develop and maintain links between health service providers hence provision of referrals to enable LBT/WSW/Refugee sex workers access free and friendly health services/information.
  • Raise awareness on the welfare needs of LBT/WSW/Refugee sex workers.
  • Trainings and awareness creation.
  • Referring under aged and trafficked LBT/WSW/Refugee sex workers to appropriate services such as psychosocial support.
  • Institutional strengthening.
  • Fundraising and sustainability.

International Networks

  • African Sex Workers Alliance (ASWA), Network for Sex workers’ Projects (NSWP), Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR).

National Networks

  • Uganda Network For Sex worker Organisations (UNESO)
  • Most at Risk Populations (MARPS), IFREEDOM and Harm Reduction Network (UHRN).
  • OGERA has established partnerships with local health and legal service providers as well as mainstream organisations that support the work of LGBTI and sex workers.

Country-Ethiopia

Nikat CharitableAssociation

Nikat Charitable Association is a grass root community based local NGO, established by a group of sex workers in April 2010 and registered as an Ethiopian Residents Charity with license number 1758 as per the legislation 621/2009, with the aim of improving the living condition of low income women and female sex workers in Ethiopia to fight against poverty and HIV and AIDS.

The Association was first established in 2006 as a Community Based Organisation called Nikat Women’s Association, which made it a pioneer in its field.

The association started with 108 sex workers (SWs) as members and that number has increased steadily to 189. It is led by Gelila Mekonen who is the director.

In 2010, NIKAT was recognised for its outstanding community leadership and action on AIDS and crowned 2010 Red Ribbon Award during the XVII International AIDS Conference held in Vienna, Austria and organised by UNAIDS in collaboration with Letiner Center, t

he Global Fund and Irish Aid for. The association was also selected as one of the best six Red Ribbon Award winners from the 25 winners and was awarded $20,000.

Vision: Empowering sex workers in Ethiopia by ensuring their social, political economic and psychological rights are improved and respected.

Mission: Improving the living and working conditions of sex workers in Ethiopia to fight against sexual abuse of sex workers and fight against HIV and AIDS.

The objectives of the association are to

  • Reduce the transmission of HIV/STIs by increasing condom use among sex workers, their clients and other MARPs;
  • Improve the livelihood of sex workers by addressing their economical and psychosocial problems; and
  • Empowering sex workers in which social, political and economic rights are ensured, especially for sex workers (SWs).

The association operates in the following ways:

  • Runs its own DIC (Drop-in-Centre). The DIC provides a safe place to rest, get information, peer-support, condoms, experience sharing, information about HIV and STI, shower, food and counselling as well.
  • Works closely with governmental bodies including the Ministry of Justice, Women, Children and Youth Affairs Office, Addis Ababa Finance & Economic Bureau, Addis Ababa Health Bureau, HABCO (HIV and AIDS Control Office) and others, the public and direct and indirect stakeholders including police officers, pimps, hotel, bar and traditional local drink houses called “Areke” house.
  • Works closely with the targeted sex workers by involving them starting from the planning of a project up to the completion.
  • Outreach activity at day and night to create formal and informal linkage with the sex workers of the town.
  • Work with partner organisations with a referral linkage and resource sharing.
  • Train former and active sex workers as Peer-Educators to train other sex workers and the society, which especially makes the learning and adopting process much easier for sex workers.
  • Public sensitisation by using a weekly radio program about the lives of sex workers, their rights, the service the Association provides and among other things.

For more information, you can contact us on Tel: +251-911444138, +251924403598/+251911305850, Email: nikatcharitableassociation@gmail.com