The Warembo Forum means beauty. It was chosen as a name to represent us because although our community is marginalized, we still feel beautiful and an integral part of the community.
Warembo Forum (WAFO) is a non-governmental organization established by female Sex Workers (FSWs) to advocate for health and human rights of marginalized women, particularly female sex workers. This was informed by their own experiences on the challenges that FSWs face.
Members include deaf FSWs. The organization has four full-time staff and twelve volunteers (outreach workers). The organization was established in 2011 and registered in 2013 to promote sex workers’ health and human rights.
Currently, the organization operates in seven regions in Tanzania mainland Dar es Salaam, Mwanza, Tanga Shinyanga, and Arusha, Iringa, and Morogoro with the aim of reaching more female sex workers all over the country.
After realizing the challenges and gaps among disabled FSWs we thought it was important to join forces, voices and combine energies to advocate for equal opportunities on health, human rights and in social aspects as the best way of addressing challenges facing FSWs.
Establishing Income Generating Activities among FSWs has created an option of earning income instead of depending only on sex work. This has also reduced risky sexual behavior that contributes to HIV infection.
Our activities and strategies since inception under Warembo Forum have flourished and we enjoy wide acceptance among the women we represent and work within the community.
We see our significant role in HIV prevention, address GBV and as active partners in the struggle to halt the spread of HIV in Tanzania.
An inclusive society where the rights of female sex workers are respected
WAFO is a civil society organization that exists to advocate for the rights and emancipation of female sex workers.
To advocate for, and empower FSWs in issues related to Human rights, HIV and AIDS and reproductive health rights, and other needs.
Our specific objectives are:
- To remove stigma against female sex workers infected and non infected with HIV and STIs, help them gain access to medical care without prejudice, and also include female sex workers issues to the wider women rights’ movements in Tanzania
- To document and disseminate information regarding female sex workers on human rights violation
- Capacity building and empowerment on entrepreneurship skills, life skills, income-generating establishment
- To build a stronger FSWs movement within which members are empowered with sufficient knowledge and information on health, human rights, and other related aspects to enable members to articulate for their human rights and equal opportunities economically. Politically, and socially.
In total WAFO to date was able to meet and provide service to FSWs through outreach programs. Specifically, the organization was able to reach some of the female sex workers in the different region such as Handeni Tanga , Dar es Salaam, Morogoro, Arusha, Iringa and Mwanza regions with education on HIV and AIDS with emphasis on the importance of safer sex practices by using condoms correctly and consistently to prevent the sexual transmission infections.
We have been able to link and network with other allies and partners for experience and information sharing nationally and internationally. They include ARASA, KESWA, MASWA, UN family Tanzania branches such as UNDP, UN Women, UNAIDS, UNFPA, Jhpiego, TGNP, Women Fund Tanzania WFT), TACAIDS, local government authorities in regions that WAFO operates include Dar es Salaam, Morogoro, Iringa, Mwanza, and Tanga.
The organization regular uses the media (TV talk show through the women live sessions at East Africa Television EATV) to educate the Tanzania community on the female sex workers issues.
Warembo Forum has established the FSWs Village Community Bank (VIKOBA) in Dar es Salaam and Iringa with the intention of reaching other regions that we operate in. Through VIKOBA, the groups are linked to different microfinance institutions for loan provision.
WAFO supervises the VIKOBA and facilitates the establishment of income generating activities for the FSWs.
WAFO is a member of:
- Sex Torture Coalition hosted by Women Fund Tanzania, women’s global network for reproductive rights (WGNRR), GDSS – gender development studies at TGNP
- Africa Sex Workers Alliance ASWA
- NSWP (The Global Network of Sex Work Projects)
- Key Population Expert Group and others
Warembo Forum, has also participated in different community activities, and campaigns such as constitution review process whereas on August 2013 conducted a training for Female sex workers in Dar es Salaam region to empower them participate fully on mabaraza ya katiba at ward level to make sure the 12 key women’s issues identified by Wanawake na Katiba Coalition have to be defended and not deleted on the first draft of the constitution.