From 29 January to 2 February 2017, NSWP hosted a meeting with the regional networks part of the sex worker networks’ consortium to share experiences and plan the next year of the Robert Carr Fund for Civil Society Networks’ grant (RCNF) and Bridging the Gaps (BtG) grant. RCNF provides funding to regional networks to offer training to sex workers on the Global Fund and the Sex Worker Implementation Tool.
The regional coordinators of the Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers (APNSW), the African Sex Workers Alliance (ASWA), the Caribbean Sex Workers Coalition (CSWC), the International Committee for the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe (ICRSE), the Sex Workers’ Rights Advocacy Network for Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia (SWAN) and the Plataforma Latino americana de Personas que Ejercen el Trabajo Sexual (PLAPERTS) participated in the meeting.
The goal of the meeting was to share experiences about the first year of the grants, discuss challenges, work together to find solutions, and plan the year ahead. It was “good to meet people in person to plan ahead and share,” said Stasa Plecas from SWAN.
The meeting helped create a common understanding of the reporting requirements and put system in place to ensure good monitoring and evaluating of the projects. This is essential to maintaining funding for the projects.
NSWP and the regional networks offer the trainings as equal partners. NSWP is the lead agency in the RCNF grant and NSWP builds the capacity of regional networks, including building their capacity to report to donors. This was a great opportunity to see how regions have done their reporting. They were able to discuss what has worked well and learn from each other.
“As a consortium, this meeting and as a follow-up to last year’s meeting was an opportunity to strengthen collaboration between all the regions and the global network in achieving the outcomes, not only of this project, but of the entire sex workers’ movement,” said Daughtie Ogutu from ASWA.
Many challenges were discussed. For example, working in many languages was a barrier for regional networks to report on the grants. This was particularly relevant in the regions of Asia Pacifc and Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
At the meeting, regional networks also decided what they would like to do at a national level. Some countries want to have more training on the SWIT and others want to have monthly meetings to discuss how the SWIT is being implemented. Regional networks have the freedom to decide what would work best in specific countries in order to meet sex workers’ needs and be impactful.
Currently, there is no further funding to provide workshops on the Global Fund. However, there may be opportunities in the future to apply for funding. Participants discussed ideas for future funding opportunities with the Global Fund.
“I think this meeting was very informative because, for me, it better abled me to look back at the work that I have done and prepare myself for the work to be continuing,” concluded Miriam Edwards from CSWC.