Guyana-based NSWP member organisation, SASOD (The Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination) was honoured with the 2014 Red Ribbon Award for Advocacy and Human Rights earlier this week, during a special session at the 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne.
The Red Ribbon Award, presented every two years at the International AIDS Conference, recognises innovative community work andcommunity based organizations for their outstanding initiatives that show leadership in reducing the spread and impact of AIDS.
Ten winners in five separate categories -- prevention among/by people who use drugs; stopping new HIV infections in children and keeping mothers alive; advocacy and human rights; treatment, care and support, and prevention of sexual transmission -- were chosen from almost a thousand nominees from across the world. SASOD shared the Award for Advocacy and Human Rights with Perssaudaraan Korban Napza Indonesia (PKNI), and SASOD’s Co-chair and Managing Director Joel Simpson was present to accept the award, alongside SASOD member Shellon Providence. Speakers during the special session included UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé and Vice Minister of Health of Brazil Dr. Jarbas Barbosa da Silva, as well as the award winners who were given the opportunity to speak about their work and commitment to the AIDS response at the community level.Each recipient received a US$10,000 grant to expand their capacities and to improve their quality of service further.
SASOD is dedicated to the eradication of homophobia in Guyana and throughout the Caribbean and has worked to repeal discriminatory Guyanese laws; change local attitudes about the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community; and end discrimination in the government, workplace and community. SASOD also partners and works closely with local sex worker groups. Last week SASOD hosted a workshop titled “Know Your Rights: Citizens Rights vis-a-viz Police Powers” in Georgetown. The workshop was facilitated by former police commissioner Winston Felix and aimed to educate LGBT Guyanese, sex workers and other marginalised groups who frequently interact with police on their rights when coming into contact with police. Members from another NSWP member organization Guyana Sex Work Coalition were present.