Kawempe community health development project, Uganda
Kawempe slum in Uganda’s capital, Kampala, is home to 300,000 people, many of whom have escaped the conflict in northern areas of the country. Its inhabitants are extremely vulnerable to diseases such as malaria, cholera, and diarrhea because the slum is located on poorly drained land with unsanitary conditions and overcrowding.
Few people living in the slum have jobs with a decent salary. Women often resort to sex work to supplement their earnings. The result is a higher than national average rate of HIV and STI infection.
AMREF’s work with urban sex workers has continued to lift barriers on talking openly and working with this vulnerable group. AMREF reaches out to commercial sex workers and encourages them to come for skills training in fields such as tailoring and hairdressing.
Main objectives of the project
- Provide support and counseling to those working in the sex industry and encourage women to participate in these and other self-help courses
- Provide vocational training in either hairdressing or tailoring and business skills to help sex workers find alternative means of earning a living
- Educate sex workers on HIV/AIDS prevention and testing, and teach them about their value to society
- Provide free family planning, testing for STIs, and treatment
- Over 500 sex workers have been registered and supported in Kawempe.
- 390 sex workers have received and completed vocational training and have been given a hairdryer or sewing machine to help set up small businesses. A significant number are now working in their trades and so far, a third of sex workers have been able to leave the sex industry.
- Four former commercial sex workers have been trained by AMREF and are now working as peer trainers in the vocational courses. Others are involved in community sensitization.
- The project has been expanded and will now lobby the Ugandan government to support efforts to reduce HIV/AIDS among these communities.
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