Who do you work with?:
We work with adult sex workers with a focus on the poor and vulnerable female sex workers from urban settings of all the five regions of Uganda as our primary targets. We also work with brothel managers, police, health workers, community development workers, local government authorities, a few members of parliament, research and academia among others.
How are sex workers involved in your organisation?:
WONETHA is a sex work led organisation which strongly believes in empowerment of sex workers by actively involving them from problem identification, planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of all programme activities. These programmes include: Research and development, sexual and reproductive services, networking and advocacy, capacity building, outreach and documentation among others.
Which of NSWP priority areas does your organisation work on?:
Oppose the criminalisation and other legal oppression of sex work and support its recognition as work
Advocate for universal access to health services, including primary health care, HIV and sexual and reproductive health services
Speak out about violence against sex workers, including violence from police, institutions, clients, and intimate partners, while challenging the myth that sex work is inherently gender-based violence
Oppose human rights abuses, including coercive programming, mandatory testing, raids and forced rehabilitation
Challenge stigma and discrimination against sex workers, their families and partners, and others involved in sex work
Advocate for the economic empowerment and social inclusion of sex workers as sex workers
What are the two main challenges that the sex workers you work with face:
The main challenge is that WONETHA and sex work fraternity in Uganda operates in a criminalised environment which fuels sex worker’s vulnerability to discrimination and stigma, sex gender based violence, institutional exclusion especially in allocation of resources and opportunities in health, legal and social protection service delivery. Lack of statistics/data regarding the number of sex workers, their health, social and economic challenges, and support institutions coupled with inadequate funding.
Describe other areas of your work:
Capacity building and economic empowerment programme which involves training sex workers in personal development, savings, life and entrepreneurship skills is a new area of intervention that seeks to improve sex worker’s social and economic wellbeing. Honouring exemplary efforts of sex worker’s human rights defenders. Corporate social responsibility where we give back to the community through community service like visiting and donating to the orphanage, Road safety campaigns, sanitation as a way of positively reframing the image of sex workers.