The Sexuality and Equality in Africa Project
|Programme area||SOGI Advocacy at the Regional and International Level|
Through advocacy and delivering capacity developments interventions for CSOs, national, regional policymakers and other stakeholders. AMSHeR’s work is underpinned by five guiding principles – human rights based approach to health; Intersectionality of social justice issues; incremental approach; empowerment model that re-enforce autonomy and agency; and positive narratives of African LGBT persons.
The Sexuality and Equality in Africa Project of has three basic objectives –
- Provide a platform for developing alternative narratives on the experiences of LGBT persons in Africa, LGBT Africans in diaspora and LGBT persons of African descent through seminars, panel discussions, various publications, audio-visual products and advocacy campaigns with a view to informing and influencing national, regional and global policies and interventions
- Advance collaborations with civil society organisations working regionally and in the global South on the inter-sectional issues of sexuality, genders, access to health services, and other social justice issues impacting on the lives of MSM and LGBT persons; and foster learning and exchange across thematic movements [women’s rights, sex worker rights, refugee rights, prison reform, etc] and across regions in the global South and developing a strong social justice movement of organisation working laterally to support each other’s advocacy efforts
- Engage directly and proactively with international institutions and agencies including the United Nations offices in New York and Geneva, BRICS bodies, multilateral and bilateral funders of social justice work in the Global South, and other bodies to ensure that interventions and policies are informed by the voices of beneficiaries.
Till date, AMSHeR has engaged in a number of activities to advance the objectives of the Sexuality and Equality in Africa projects including –
- Developed the Voices for Freedom video documentary featuring LGBT persons from across eight countries .portraying positive narratives of their work and contributions to the societies
- Ran the Respect, Visibility and Inclusion poster campaign to raise awareness of the rights of LGBT persons in Africa
- Coordinated emergency legal aid and psycho-social support to LGBT persons facing prosecution and persecution on the basis of their SOGI. Supported LGBT asylum seekers through referrals, provisions of country origin information for refugee status determination.
- AMSHeR staff have served on a number of global platforms to advance policies for key populations and other marginalised groups including the Project Coordinating Board of UNAIDS, Southern Refugees Legal Assistance Network, Global Board of the MenEngage Alliance, International Bar Association, etc
- Supported country civil society networks to develop shadow reports for submission to the United Nations Human Rights Council – Universal Period Review [UPR] process and other UN treaty bodies
- Mobilised a global campaign at the UN Human Rights Council to voice the concerns of CSOs from the Global South on the proposed position of the Special Rapporteur on SOGI
- Led the campaign for the adoption of Resolution 275 of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights condemning violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity in Africa
- Successfully implemented the Francophone LGBT Advocates Initiative, largest European Commission LGBT project outside Europe
- Published the Reflections on Sexuality and Equality in Africa, Vol 1 , a collection of peer reviewed articles written by Africans and reflecting African perspectives and addressing various issues of sexual orientation, gender identity and equality of these issues.
- Hosted the first Pan-African Key Populations Pre-Conference to an AIDS Conference. The pre-conference held before the International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa [ICASA] 2015, brought together communities of MSM, lesbian women, transgender persons, sex workers, people living with HIV and people who use drugs to address a range of policy and service delivery issues affecting the HIV and SRHR responses for their communities, with a view to identifying common advocacy agenda.
- Hosted a Panel Discussion on BRICS, Civil Society Solidarity and Key Populations beyond 2015, featured HIV and LGBT activists, sexual and reproductive health rights advocates and social justice practitioners from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa with a guest audience of about 90 persons, including African activists, development partners and donor agencies. The Panel discussed the need for greater civil society solidarity and engagement in the development of the architecture of the BRICS and shared perspectives on the challenges and opportunities that BRICS presents for advancing the rights of key populations specifically, and social justice issues in Africa and the global South more broadly.
- Supporting a number of CSOs in the Eastern Caribbean region who are setting up a gay men’s network to address human rights violations, discriminatory policies and practices within their region. AMSHeR has been providing technical assistance on coalition building and advocacy strategies for addressing discrimination and exclusion based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
- Coordinate a CSOs listserv of organizations and activists working at the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the African Union’s human rights body. This listserv includes activists working on a range of human rights issues and provides a platform information sharing, campaigning and solidarity.