The SWAA is a ground-breaking learning programme for community empowerment and capacity building led by and for sex workers. The Academy brings together sex workers’ national teams from across Africa to develop organising skills, learn best practices, stimulate national sex worker movements, and strengthen the regional network.

The Academy is an African Sex Workers Alliance (ASWA) initiative, implemented by Kenya Sex Workers Alliance (KESWA). The Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP) supported the concept of South-South learning and capacity building.

The SWAA aims to strengthen the sex workers’ rights movement across Africa, through building the capacity of sex workers to engage in policy, programme development, and implementation, and through strengthening sex worker led organisations, and national sex workers’ networks.

An advisory group of sex workers drawn from across Africa guides the SWAA.

The SWAA is facilitated by a faculty of Kenyan sex workers trained to implement the curriculum developed through collaboration with Ashodaya Academy and VAMP Institute (sex worker collectives) in India, the Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers (APNSW), and the Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP).

The SWAA has been developed as a Pan-African resource to build the capacity of sex workers, and their national movements to influence policy, and programming, and to develop their own services. Each SWAA academy trains 18 sex workers as community mobilisers during a 7-day workshop in Nairobi, Kenya.

The SWAA participants will visit two demonstration sites of sex worker led organisations – Bar Hostesses Empowerment and Support programme (BHESP), and Health Options for Young Men on HIV and AIDS (HOYMAS) in Nairobi, Kenya.

Each SWAA academy will train teams of sex workers from three different African countries, one of which must be a French or Portuguese speaking and one of which will be Kenya to identify, and train future faculty members.

All sex workers must be nominated as part of the national team and must be able to attend all 7 days of the academy. At the end of the academy, participants who graduate are awarded certificates of competence.