The African Sex Workers Alliance (ASWA) is holding a five-day workshop for national coordinators of its member organisations across Africa.
The meeting, which brings together sex workers leaders and activists from 30 countries in Africa, will among other things take stock of the progress of the sex worker movement in the continent amid shrinking human rights spaces in most countries and dwindling donor funding.
The workshop fits into a larger Global Fund funded programme, the Key Populations Representation, Evidence and Advocacy for Change in Health (KP REACH), whose one objective is strengthening regional Key Populations networks. ASWA is implementing the KP REACH programme as a consortium alongside other organizations such as the African Men for Sexual Health and Rights (AMSHeR), Coalition of African Lesbians (CAL), Southern Africa HIV and AIDS Information Dissemination Service (SAfAIDS), Gender DynamiX (Representing Southern African Trans Forum), M&C Saatchi, and Positive Vibes. The consortium members are implementing a number of interventions to facilitate the realisation of the programme’s overall goal.
In line with its 2017-2020 strategic plan, ASWA is focusing on network strengthening and capacity building among its members.
In August 2017, ASWA conducted capacity needs assessments for its members and developed a series of recommendation on filling the gaps identified, strengthening and building national organising.
The leaders attending the workshop have identified capacity gaps in their organisations such as lack of human resource, financial management, governance and advocacy skills.
Safety and security of activists was also a concern as spaces for sex work organising continue to be targeted, for instance, in Tanzania.
The workshop will develop a capacity strengthening plan that will chart the way forward for advocacy, community organising, and long-term sustainability.