Recently, APNSW conducted a training workshop for delegates from the four countries that have most recently joined joined our network. Sex workers came from East Timor, Laos, Nepal & Pakistan came to the four day workshop, which was supported by a grant from AJWS. The workshop titled “Together we can do it!” was an Intoductory Workshop on Sex Worker HIV Programming & Human Rights.
The workshop opened with a video about the history of APNSW followed by the Understanding Sex Work, HIV & the UN module. Rights based HIV Programming was covered next and the first day finished with an Art Activity whereby participants were each asked to illustrate the Key issues for their country.
Day Two involved several sessions including a briefer on Feedback & Film making and country groups were then asked to prioritise shared issues in country and to prepare a presentation for the Workshop outlining those issues. A discussion about how sex worker groups & projects address these issues completed the agenda for the day.
On Day Three a module was presented on HIV & Rights Based Programmes. Various elements of programming were examined as well as how they can be done in a way that is consistent with a rights based approach to health service delivery. After lunch we took an excursion to Pat Pong Road so that participants could view the Red Light District to get a feel of the way the industry operates in Bangkok. This led into a trip to the Empower office located there. As always, Empower staff were very generous with their time and knowledge of HIV programming, and many of our delegates were fascinated by some of the initiatives that Empower routinely runs for sex workers – classes, workshops, gatherings. After the field trip, there was much enthusiasm amongst group members with some delegates keep to implement some ideas they had learned at Empower into their own national programmes, in particular those with a social aspect which run alongside clinical services.
By day Four we were all starting to feel like old friends, which is just as well, because that is the day we covered The Global Fund and its complicated funding processes. Andrew then focused on a regional Global Fund proposal for sex work and what that means for sex workers groups in the region. We finished up with a discussion about being part of APNSW and how we can be more involved and work together. The feedback about the workshop from participants was overwhelmingly positive. Since then, two countries have had advocacy pieces printed in newspapers and all are busily networking in their communities to expand networks in order to reach (and teach) as many sex workers as possible.