The African Sex Workers Alliance (ASWA) Executive Director, Daughtie Ogutu is this year’s winner of the ICASA Leadership Excellence Award. The award is given to a community activist in recognition of their outstanding contribution to the HIV and Aids response in Africa.
ICASA -The International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa is being held in Abidjan, Ivory Coast 4th-9th December 2017.
Daughtie has been vocal on issues concerning Sex Workers and their increased vulnerability to HIV/AIDS and took a front line in advocating for inclusion for sex workers and other Key Populations in Africa. Overwhelmed by the honour, Daughtie promised to continue with her work.
“I am honoured to receive this award and would like to dedicate it to my community of Key Population, Sex Workers and People Living with HIV for their passion and resilience in the struggle,” she said at the event held at Sofitel Hotel Ivoire on the December 6, 2017.
The esteemed winner said that the award showed that despite sometimes the challenges of addressing issues of marginalised communities, whose voices are often unheard, her work had been recognised.
“ It is encouraging, as an activist as a leader, while you may think that no one sees what you are doing. However, this award shows that so many people take note of the work that we do. It is also an encouragement for young people and young activists joining the movement to be committed to promoting social justice, gender equality and human rights”.
For the community, Daughtie says this award shows that sex workers are a critical actor in the HIV response in Africa and globally and that the meaningful involvement and participation of sex workers and Key Population is key to ending Stigma and Discrimination in order to End AIDS by 2030”
Whilst at ICASA, ASWA alongside “Blety”, Ivorian sex worker led organisation are co –hosting the Sex Workers Networking Zone Bléty means ‘hope. According to Daughtie this has given ASWA an opportunity to get in-touch and support with its Francophone ASWA members directly.
The ICASA conference theme is “Africa: Ending AIDS-delivering differently.”. Daughtie’s award , recognizes her outstanding work with a marginalized community of sex workers in closing the Gap for community engagement and their meaningful participation.
Prior to the main conference, ASWA’ along side other regional key population networks –African Men Sexual and Health Rights (AMSHeR), Coalition of African Lesbians (CAL) and Southern Africa Trans Forum (SATF) hosted the
Youth Key Populations Pre-Conference to usher in young people into the fight against HIV and Aids and human rights movement.
The Pre-Conference at was dubbed; ‘Onto the African Map: Youth Key Populations and HIV. The pre-conference took to highlight the importance of young people and their critical involvement in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
The 4 Key populations’ regional networks called for the inclusion of young key populations in programs that affect them in order to close the gap.
“Key Populations will intensify efforts to engage with governments, regional and sub-regional bodies and other relevant stakeholders; educate and sensitize government, other relevant stakeholders and our peers; be present and committed in the forefront of interventions; hold ourselves, governments, and stakeholders accountable” –Abidjan Declaration of Key Populations –ICASA 2017.