The African Sex Workers Alliance (ASWA), is hosting 5 editions, or ‘academies’ of the Sex Worker Academy Africa (SWAA) in 2016.
The SWAA aims to strengthen the sex workers’ rights movement across Africa, through building the capacity of sex workers to engage in policy, program development, and implementation, and through strengthening sex worker led organisations, and national sex workers’ networks.
Currently, from October 2-8th, 2016, ASWA is hosting sex workers from Lesotho, Senegal, and Kenya, in the 11th edition since SWAA begun two and half years ago.
The SWAA is facilitated by a faculty of Kenyan sex workers who have been trained to Implement the curriculum developed through cooperation with Ashodaya Academy, and VAMP Institute (sex collective worker) in India, the Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers (APNSW), and the Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP).
The SWAA is guided by an Advisory Group of sex workers drawn from across Africa.
The Academy is an ASWA initiative implemented by Kenya Sex Workers Alliance (KESWA) in Nairobi, Kenya. The Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP) supported the concept of South-South learning and capacity building.
Apart from one on one facilitation by the faculty, participants, who number around 18, at any given Academy, also visit two organisations in Kenya – BHESP, a female sex worker organisation, and HOYMAS, a male sex worker organisation, as a learning tour of how sex worker-led organisations are providing services to their members.
Another highlight of the SWAA is the Art Advocacy, where, using paint, dance, and music, participants channel their creativity in producing works of Art that focus on a particular theme, or country situation of sex workers.
So far, over 130 sex workers, from 17 African countries, have been trained in the SWAA (PDF) since its inception.
From then on, sex workers from Tanzania, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, have gone on to form national networks of sex workers in their respective countries. Additionally, participants from Lesotho, and Swaziland, have gone on to form grass-root organisations where they was none.
ASWA further provides in-country follow-up, to help build national movements. ASWA also focuses on helping them to develop a national plan both during the Academies and in follow-up country visits so that they may continue learning and knowledge-sharing with other participants of the SWAA.