Male Sex Workers To Launch First Ever Savings Scheme in Kenya

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Africa Regional Correspondent

A male sex work organisation based in Nairobi, Kenya is set to launch Africa’s first ever savings scheme by male sex workers. HOYMAS, a member of the Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP) and the African Sex Workers Alliance (ASWA), will launch the savings and credit scheme (SACCO) on September 11 at an event that will include representatives from UNAIDS, SOAAIDS, the Government of Kenya as well as other organisations.

In a statement, HOYMAS said its members who had undertaken economic empowerment training formed the SACCO. “We noted that accessing financial services such as small loans from financial institutions was difficult as individuals and we formed the SACCO to pull our contributions and access some of these services. Our members then approached SMEP, a microfinance institution, and the Kenya Cooperative Bank Ltd, who further trained the members on finance and saving and helped them register the scheme as well as offer some loans and benefits.”

“With technical support from SMEP, we drafted the by laws for the SACCO and have registered the SACCO in accordance with Kenyan laws,” John Mathenge, Director of HOYMAS said. HOYMAS plans to buy a vehicle that would offer taxi services as their first project with the saving they have so far. He also hopes the SACCO would advance loans to members that will be repaid back to ensure its sustainability. “We will approach organisations to contract us to offer transport services and we have had some inquiries already,” Mathenge added. With over 30 members so far, Mathenge said additional training and sensitisation of community members would be conducted in order to recruit more members.

HOYMAS will also hold its annual HIV Champions Day during the launch of the SACCO. The event, now in its fourth year, will attract around 500 participants and aims to be community reach-out and sensitisation event.