Participants from South Africa, Zimbabwe & Mozambique during a Champions training on Sexual Reproductive Health Rights in February 2022, in Zimbabwe
Advocating for the unmet Sexual Reproductive and Health Rights (SRHR) needs of young sex workers in Southern African countries.
Through funding and support from the Love Alliance, ASWA with its members from Tiyanne Vavasate in Mozambique, Zimbabwe Sex Workers Alliance (ZIMSWA) and Sisonke in South Africa is currently undertaking a project to map out the unmet sexual reproductive and sexual rights (SRHR) needs of young sex workers in the three countries. In February 2022, ASWA held a workshop in Zimbabwe to train young sex workers as champions from the 3 countries on how to collect and document information on the (SRHR) needs of young sex workers in their respective countries.
The findings from the mapping exercise will be used to advocate for the fulfillment of the unmet SRHR needs of young sex workers in the three countries. There are prospects of scaling the project to other countries in Africa.
Sex Work Movement Mapping Exercise In Francophone African Countries
ASWA with the support of UHAI-EASHRI conducted a sex work movement mapping exercise in 11 Francophone African countries (West and Central Africa). A data validation exercise was held in Nairobi earlier in February to share the data and information on movement building and sex workers’ organising in the region. The results of the mapping exercise revealed the unmet needs of sex workers’ groups such as lack of access to healthcare services, and lack of Legal Aid. The report also showed that the majority (35%) of sex worker-led organisations lack of funding as the most significant challenge sex workers, and their organisations face in the region.
The information and data from the mapping exercise will be used for advocacy to create visibility on the plight of sex workers across Africa and also support resource mobilization.
Francophone leaders from West and Central Africa during a validation workshop on data collected on Sex Work Movement building in January 2022 in Nairobi Kenya.
Mitigating the Impact of COVID-19 among sex workers in Africa
ASWA is currently undertaking a project on mitigating the impact of COVID-19 amongst sex workers in Africa. The project involves all of ASWA’s 6 sub-regional coordinators namely;
- East Africa –Clara Davis
- Southern Africa-Anglophone-Pamela Chakuvinga
- Southern Africa-Lusophone- Dibaia wa Dibaia Dirão
- West Africa-Anglophone- Amaka Enemo Oluchukwu
- West Africa-Francophone-Nehemiah Kakpo
- Central Africa-Patrick Fotso
The project also involves 24 national coordinators in the following countries; Tanzania, Uganda, South Sudan, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Eswatini, Zambia, Mali, Liberia, Cameroon, Benin, Ivory Coast, Mali, Togo, Burkina, Senegal, Angola, Mozambique, Gambia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Kenya, Ghana.
The project was prompted by the need to document the impact of COVID-19 on sex workers in Africa. The project involves the development of a data collection tool to show the impact of COVID-19 on sex workers in Africa and the inflexibility of donors. The project ends in August 2022.
Commission of the Status of Women (CSW 66)
ASWA engaged the international human rights mechanisms to advocate for the human rights of sex workers. ASWA and her members joined the 66th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW66 2022) side event which took place virtually. The platform was used to advocate for the decriminalisation of sex work. We continue to lobby for inclusion in these advocacy platforms to amplify sex workers’ voices.
ASWA continues to lobby for the inclusion of sex workers’ health and rights in this advocacy platform. ASWA Former board member Kholi Buthelezi who is also National Coordinator of Sisonke in South Africa spoke in a session entitled ‘’Women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work’’ where she called for the decriminalization of sex work in South Africa. She added that law reform leading to the decriminalization of sex work is essential to advance sex workers’ human health and rights.
The Chief Executive Officer of the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) Dr. Thembisile Xulu, said that SANAC which is headed by the President and also the highest decision-making body in regard to HIV/TB/STIs policies was committed to designing health programs tailored to meet the health needs of sex workers in South Africa. She added that SANAC recently launched second South Africa’s National Sex Worker HIV,TB and STI Plan 2019-2022
ASWA Certified by NGO source’s Equivalency Determination (ED)
ASWA is now certified by the NGO source’s Equivalency Determination (ED)and we are now equivalent to a Certified Public Charity.
For more, visit our website and click the image at the bottom of the page or https://www.ngosource.org/about-equivalency-determination-on-file-badge?ref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.aswaalliance.org%2F
Sex Worker Networks Consortium (SWNC) meeting
Grace Kamau, (ASWA) Regional Coordinator, and Sex Workers Academy Africa (SWAA) Coordinator, Laveria Mwai were among participants in the Sex Worker Networks Consortium meeting held in Barcelona, Spain in April 2022.
ASWA took part in a convening by the Sex Worker Networks Consortium (SWNC) that is led by Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP). The meeting brought together sex workers- leaders from five organisations to review the previous annual work plan and modalities of implementation of sex work projects based on human rights frameworks and social protection.
Other members are the Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers (APNSW) based in Bangkok, Thailand, the Caribbean Sex Workers Coalition (CSWC) based in Georgetown, Guyana, Sex Workers’ Rights Advocacy Network for Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia (SWAN) based in Budapest, Hungary and Plataforma LatinoAmerica de Personas que EjeRcen el Trabajo Sexual (PLAPERTS) based in Machala, Ecuador.
Sex Workers’ Represented at the Third South-South Learning network (SSLN) Regional Champions’ Meeting
The South-South Learning network (SSLN), an initiative of the Global HIV Prevention Coalition (GPC) organised a meeting in February 2022 in Nairobi Kenya.
Sex workers leaders from the African Sex Workers Alliance (ASWA) Secretariat, Zambia Sex Workers Alliance, SISONKE (South Africa) and Kenya Sex Workers Alliance (KESWA) attended the 3rd regional meeting that was attended by more than 70 HIV preventions leaders across 10 African countries.
Katlego Rasebitse (Sisonke) and Martin Zimba (Zambia Sex Workers Alliance) who are SSLN Champions discussed the models, structures and systems on HIV response that have been successful in their countries e.g. engaging sex workers in developing the HIV national strategic plans/frameworks and recommended that they should be scaled up in other African countries to enable sex workers’ HIV response in Africa to have better health outcomes.
South-South Learning network (SSLN) Champion: Katlego Rasebitse (Sisonke South Africa)during the meeting held in Nairobi in April 2022.
South-South Learning network (SSLN) Champion: Martin Zimba (Zambia Sex Workers Alliance) during the meeting held in Nairobi in April 2022.
Delivering Quality at Scale in Differentiated Service Delivery (DSD) Programs
ASWA’s Regional Coordinator Grace Kamau attended the workshop on delivering quality at scale in differentiated service delivery programs. The workshop held in South Africa was organized by International Center for AIDS Care and Treatment Programs (ICAP) through the HIV Coverage, Quality, and Impact Network (CQUIN), a multi-country learning network dedicated to expanding and improving differentiated service delivery (DSD) for people living with HIV. The goal of the workshop was to enhance DSD-specific quality management by supporting country teams to adapt and institutionalize DSD quality standards, implement DSD quality indicators and assessments, and apply these materials to their country contexts using quality improvement methods to address gaps and challenges.
Kerry Mangold; Programme Director: South-to-South Learning Network said that one of the structural barriers facing female sex workers includes, violence, Stigma and discrimination perpetrated by sexual partners, family members, healthcare workers, law enforcement officials and other community members as well as a lack of information on the levels of stigma and discrimination.
ASWA Regional Coordinator Grace Kamau and Jeff Walimbwa ISHTAR MSM (Kenya) Program Coordinator, attended the DSD meeting in April 2022 in South Africa.
Sex workers at the Global Fund 7th Replenishment Preparatory Meeting
Modeste MAMBO AMISI: Executive Director of Homme Pour Les Droits Et La Sante (HODSAS) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) attended the 7th replenishment preparatory meeting whose outcome was a request to Global Fund donors to increase funding for sex workers’ health.
The meeting was held in Nairobi Kenya in the lead-up to the Global Fund’s Seventh Replenishment Conference which will be held in the United States in September 2022.
HODSAS was joined by the Ambassadors of France and Switzerland and the India Council to advocate for ‘’the power of more, fight for what counts, meet the target, get back on track and better together’’ in the fight for HIV, Malaria and TB response.
Modeste MAMBO AMISI (Democratic Republic of Congo) attending the Global Fund 7th Replenishment Preparatory Meeting in February 2022 in Nairobi Kenya.
Sex Workers-Led Community Research
Enemo Amaka: ASWA Board member and Nigeria Sex Workers Association National Coordinator & Brian Willis Global Health Promise Director in the research in Nigeria.
ASWA partnered with Global Health Promise to conduct training and a study in Kenya and Nigeria on food insecurity among sex workers and their children during the COVID-19 pandemic. The preliminary findings showed that 98% of the respondents noted COVID-19 negatively impacted their food security,98 % of Female Sex Workers (FSW) and their children were moderate to severely food insecure and the maternal health of sex workers was negatively affected. Similar research will be done in the Democratic Republic of Congo (D.R.C).
International Transgender Day of Visibility
ASWA hosted a virtual meeting to commemorate the International Transgender Day of Visibility (TDoV) which is marked annually on March 31. The purpose of the meeting was to highlight the needs of transgender and gender-diverse sex workers. They are criminalized and experience multiple stigmas because of who they are and for the work they do-sex work. Transgender and gender-diverse sex workers are invisible in healthcare frameworks in that they are not recognised and are not meaningfully engaged in healthcare/legal programming/frameworks while they are visible in violence and rights violations. Speakers and participants noted that the programming and frameworks have ignored the unique and specific needs of transgender and gender-diverse sex workers.
International Sex Workers Rights Day 2021
ASWA and its members marked the International Sex Workers Rights Day on 3, June by calling for the decriminalisation of sex work, respect, protection and promotion of sex workers’ rights.
The International Sex Workers Rights Day was started in 2001 when over 25,000 sex workers gathered in India for a sex worker festival. The organisers wanted to celebrate the lives of sex workers as well as highlight the community’s determination and strength.
Space For Marginalised Groups In Diversity In Zimbabwe Trust (SGDZT) marking International Sex Workers Rights Day
Terminology Guide on Sex Work
ASWA developed a terminology guide that is essential and intended to debunk common myths about sex work and influence both internal and external stakeholders, encourage the use of rights-affirming language around sex work and sex workers to increase understanding of concepts that are often misunderstood. Find the guide here:
ASWA Board Election
ASWA Board is composed of eight elected members who comprise of 2 representatives from each sub-region as follows: 2 Slots Eastern Africa,2 Slots Southern Africa – one representative each from Anglophone & Lusophone countries,2 Slots West Africa – one representative each from Anglophone & Francophone countries and 2 Slots Central Africa.
ASWA board election was held in 4 sub-regions and the following candidates were elected to the Board.
- Eastern Africa: (re-elected) Sanyu Hajjara Batte from Lady Mermaid Bureau (Uganda)
- Central Africa: Wadjo Noupa Moise from Alcondoms (Cameroon)
- Southern Africa: Leeroy Mkhokheli Gumpo from Pow Wow (Zimbabwe)
- Western Africa: Néhémie Kakpo from The Solidarity Association (Benin)
Sanyu Hajjara, ASWA Board Chair, East Africa Region (Uganda)
Nehemia Kakpo, West Africa Region (Benin)
Wadjo Moise, Central Africa Region (Cameroon)
Leeroy Gumpo, Southern Africa Region (Zimbabwe)
Uganda sex workers launch the ‘Neeko’ magazine
The Lady Mermaid Empowerment Centre, in collaboration with the Uganda Network of Sex Worker-led Organizations (UNESO), launched the Neeko Magazine. The magazine is Uganda’s first sex worker magazine that speaks about the power, resilience, and agency of the community. The magazine tells the story of building the sex work movement in Uganda, which is now thriving and has increased its membership. The magazine is written for and by sex workers.
The Executive Director of UNAIDS, Winnie Byanyima, is presented with NEEKO magazine by ASWA Board Chair Sanyu Hajjara
Zimbabwe Sex Workers Alliance launches sex work decriminalisation strategy
Zimbabwe Sex Workers Alliance (ZIMSWA) recently launched a strategy to decriminalise sex work in Zimbabwe. The strategy will support the review and influence changes in laws, policies and practices that criminalize sex work.
In Zimbabwe, Selling sex is legal but soliciting,organising/managing sex work is criminalised. The launch was held together with other sex worker-led organisations to consolidate support towards shifting policies to decriminalise sex work.
ASWA NEW OFFICE
ASWA New Office in Nairobi Kenya behind Pan African Christian (PAC) University
ASWA moved to new offices early in the year.
You can find us at;
Oak Wood Springs, Mirema Rd,
Behind Pan African Christian (PAC) University,
House No 56 A.
Mobile Phone: +254740956150
P.O. Box 5986-00200 Nairobi, Kenya,