New report from KHPT: Community mobilisation among FSWs must support livelihood options

23 October 2012
Alexandra Hyde

A new report by STRIVE member KHPT underlines the need to address multiple issues simultaneously through community mobilisation.

Since 2003, KHPT and its partners have been mobilising female sex workers (FSWs) to form community-based organisations (CBOs). Their aim is to create an enabling environment for FSWs and support groups that are strong and effective enough to challenge power structures. The new report, published with support from STRIVE, shows that targeting interconnected issues through collective mobilisation is key to reducing the risk of HIV/AIDS.

For example, access to microfinance reduced the dependence of member FSWs on informal, exploitative sources of credit such as moneylenders and clients. This led to an improvement in FSW’s ability to better negotiate condom use with their clients and refuse unprotected sex. At the same time, the research also shows that microfinance services for the sex worker community must focus on more than the provision of credit. The report argues that equal emphasis and energy should be focused on financial discipline, training women to build savings and assets for future needs and to invest in the diversification of livelihoods.

The report also shows that HIV/AIDS prevention efforts must be channelled to help FSWs overcome obstacles to social recognition, participation and inclusion, rather than merely providing access to condoms and clinical services.

Download the report here.

Read more about KHPT's work with FSW here.