OGERA – Uganda

Project Info

Project Description

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

VISION

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

MISSION

Organization 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 stakeholders.
  • To build and strengthen OGERA’s institutional capacity.

Why sex workers

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

HISTORY

OGERA is a membership and partnership organization 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 facing 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 recognized or involved in planning leading to their health and health and human rights being overlooked.

LBT/WSW/Refugee sex workers are traumatized 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 facing 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 in case 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 sensitizing 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 training.
  • Develop and maintain links between health service providers hence provision of referrals to enable LBT/WSW/Refugee sex workers to access free and friendly health services/information.
  • Raise awareness of the welfare needs of LBT/WSW/Refugee sex workers.
  • Training and awareness creation.
  • Referring underaged 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 organizations that support the work of LGBTI and sex workers.