Regional updates: Africa
Regional networks in Africa are divided into Francophone and Anglophone. NSWP is building the capacity of the emerging African networks. This is a priority from 2010-2012.
John Mathenge, (HOYMAS) Kenya. John is currently Vice President of NSWP.
Aimee Furaha, (AHUSADEC) Democratic Republic of Congo.
NIKAT, a sex worker-led organisation and NSWP member has started a community-led radio project in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The founding members of NIKAT wanted to find new ways to do outreach to the community in Addis Ababa and they decided to start a sex worker-led radio programme on FM Shegar 102.1. The programme is called Betegna Radio Programme.
African sex workers’ rights activists were recently trained on how work with regional, and international human rights processes in Port Louis, Mauritius. The goal of the training was to help sex workers’ right activists work with the African Commission on Human and People's Rights (ACPHR) as well as other human rights mechanisms including treaty bodies and conventions, to hold their countries accountable when their rights are violated.
Recent media reporting on sex work in various African countries show that sex workers continue to be portrayed negatively. Media outlets are further stereotyping sex workers using unsavouraly labels as well as portraying them in negative light. For example, in Kenya, one media station said sex workers ‘prey’ on married men while another termed them as ‘greedy’.
The African Sex Workers Alliance (ASWA) is co-organising a key populations pre-conference for this year’s International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA) in Zimbabwe.
The African Sex Workers Alliance (ASWA) sends condolences to the family and friends of Joel Gustave Nana, the immediate former Executive Director of African Men for Sexual Health and Rights (AMSHER), who passed away last month.
There are unique challenges for African trans sex workers in their lives and work. Two trans sex workers in Uganda and South Africa have shared the unique challenges they face, including transphobia. ASWA board member and trans sex worker from Uganda, Beyonce Karungi as well as refugee trans sex worker, Flavina from South Africa, have both shared their life stories in articles published recently.
PrEP should be easily accessible to sex workers in Nigeria as an HIV prevention tool, an activist has urged with the Nigerian Sex Workers’ Alliance. Writing for the HIVE, an online journal on sexual and reproductive health, the coordinator of the Nigerian Sex Workers Alliance, Narah (a pseudonym), said that sex workers are being left behind when PrEP is offered.
Sex workers in three Southern African countries are the first beneficiaries of a programme that will see provide free HIV self-testing kits. Population Services International (PSI) is rolling out oral-swab HIV self-test kits to sex workers and other key populations in Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. According to PSI, the self-testing kits are important because many people have not been tested because of stigma or limited access to health care facilities.