Capacity strengthening of sex workers and stakeholders

Capacity strengthening of sex workers and stakeholders

To achieve an empowered and resilient sex worker movement that demands its rights, capacity strengthening of individual sex workers and sex worker-led organisations is key. Aidsfonds and in-country partners increased capacity of sex workers, police, healthcare worker and media staff enabling them to provide services that have an added relevant and impactful value. Read here about how capacity building led to increased access to justice and health services for sex workers.



Amy and Philile's tips: needs-based training

Philile works as a peer educator for North Star Alliance in South Africa and Amy works as a programme coordinator at BONELA in Botswana. Both were trained as trainers to give workshops to sex workers. They share tips on training sex workers and share how sex workers now use the Health, Rights & Safety training manual to educate other sex workers to make safe and healthy choices.  

To read the tips from all Hands Off partners on peer educator training, click here

Best practice: training sex workers as trainers

Aidfonds created the Health, Rights and Safety manual to train sex workers as trainers to educate their peers. The manual and accompanying Train the Trainer-workshop has already had an enormous impact. More than 1200 sex workers were trained during cascade trainings. Hands Off project partners have taken ownership of the manual and adapted it for their own specific purposes, creating a huge ripple effect. 

Graduates of the Training of Trainers

Sex workers training health care workers

The Sexual Rights Centre (SRC), a human rights grassroots organisation, and Pow Wow, the sex worker-led network in Bulawayo developed and implemented trainings for healthcare professionals, to make them more open-minded in their treatment of sex workers. Read here how training healthcare workers led to increased access for sex workers to reproductive and sexual health services, like condoms and HIV testing and treatment.

Partners also put down some tips on how to engage with sex workers. These you can find here


increasing access to health care

Training manuals for sex workers

The Health, Rights & Safety training was developed to train sex workers on sexual and reproductive health, sex workers' rights, and safety at work. Each topic starts with exercises on training and facilitation skills. This training is one of the seven training manuals, developed by Aidsfonds in collaboration with the international sex worker community. Manuals are available on peer-based outreach, counselling skills for health professionals, leadership, financial skills, sensitisation of service providers in working with minors and young adults, material development and training skills. 

Training manuals for sex workers

Constructions for learning

Aidsfonds believes that directly supporting communities is the most effective approach in the response to HIV/AIDS. To fund community-led groups in complex environments, for example if they cannot register as an organisation, Hands Off used hosting constructions. Sex worker-led organisations were hosted by NGOs or civil society groups. This pairing of organisations was used to strengthen the capacity of both organisations, each bringing their strength to the project. 

Mojalifa and Charmaine
Mojalifa works for the Sexual Rights Centre (SRC) in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. He works closely with Charmaine from the sex worker-led organisation Pow Wow.

Working with SRC gave us visibility and a platform to be actively involved in the Hands Off project


What we've learned

Capacity building has been the core programme focus of Hands Off. Some of the lessons we have learned in strengthening the capacity of sex workers and allies are:  

  • To support sex worker movements to grow, it is important to provide for infrastructure such as professional and safe spaces from which sex worker-led organisations can operate
  • Sex workers know best. It is key to stimulate inter-organisation learning exchanges between established and emerging sex worker-led organisations
  • Impact is increased by engaging sex workers in all aspects of programme delivery and managing funds, receiving mentorship from both Aidsfonds and host organisations
  • Capacity building for sex worker led-organisations also includes learning about monitoring systems and finding self-confidence in formal management roles uses cookies to offer the best website experience possible and to anonymously analyze website behaviour. More information.