Our approach

AMSHeR uses a human rights based framework which recognises the universality of human rights and their application, regardless of race, nationality, sexuality, and gender identity. Our goal is to use this framework to achieve the right to health for MSM and other Key populations as well as their equal recognition and non-discrimination before the law.

To ensure our development is sustainable, AMSHeR undertakes its work in line with the following guiding principles.


Human rights-based approach to health

Ensuring that human rights principles are the basis of public health interventions for MSM and LGBT individuals. This approach focuses on addressing marginalisation, exclusion and discrimination in healthcare and health service delivery. It required an analysis of the different forms of discrimination, power imbalances and structural factors that perpetuate marginalisation.



This rests on the idea that contexts are complex and made up of a range of factors that enhance or hinder the ability of peoples to access their rights. People are impacted and affected by multiple reality sets. A focus on only one reality set will invariably result in limited analyses and responses and the unachievable outcomes in regard to rights access and enjoyment. The intersectional approach requires a consideration of these multiple realities in planning, implementation of interventions and in advocacy.


Incremental approach

A recognition that while there is an ideal society where stigma, discrimination and violence eliminated, and where human rights are respected, protected and promoted, this may not be attainable immediately. Thus effective context-specific strategies require strategic engagement and planning to achieve realistic outcomes [lower hanging fruits] within particular operational contexts while working steadily towards an ideal society.


Empowerment model

Promoting partnerships and strategies that reinforce autonomy and agency of African MSM and LGBT individuals and communities instead of charity models that perpetuate dependency.


Positive narrative

Entails portraying ‘the other narrative’ that celebrates the courage and success of African MSM/LGBT individuals; and the rich diversity and humaneness of the African peoples; an acknowledgement that the ‘victim, homophobic’ narratives that dominates discourse on sexual orientation and gender identity in Africa is only one side, and not the full story of Africa or African MSM/LGBT individuals.

Our Priorities

AMSHeR focuses its efforts and resources around these five thematic areas that make up the strategic mandate.

  • Capacity strengthening of the AMSHeR secretariat and the network members.
  • Advocacy for improved visibility of African MSM health priorities and for recognition of rights regarding SOGI.
  • Information and knowledge management, research and learning.
  • Emergency management and contingency mechanisms.
  • Facilitating partner and member linkages, including with funders.