The Alliance of Women Advocating for Change (AWAC) is a female sex work led initiative established in 2015, by champions of the sex worker movement in Uganda. AWAC seeks to promote & coordinate the role of remote and peri-urban based female sex workers, adolescent girls and young women at high risk of HIV and Infections (e.g slums, townships, landing sites, boarder and transit routes) in driving their initiatives to overcome all forms and root causes of vulnerabilities and marginalization. These include; gender-based violence, criminalization, poverty, stigma, discrimination, other human rights violations and harmful cultural norms at individual, community and national levels.
AWAC fulfills the above mandate through; multi-level lobbying, institutional strengthening and empowerment of grassroots/peer groups to execute demand creation, trainings/orientation and mentorship, strengthening linkages and referrals, addressing stigma and discrimination, livelihoods enhancement, research and documentation and creating an enabling environment. Currently AWAC has grassroots groups in the following districts; Kampala, Mukono, Wakiso, Nakasongola, Masindi, Hoima, Gulu, Lira, Arua, Luuka, Bugiri, Tororo-Malaba, Busia, Mbale, Soroti, Buikwe, Mbarara, Kabale-Katuna,Kabarole, Kasese, Kamwenge, Ntoroko, Bundibugyo, Kyenjojo and Bunyangabo spread across the 6 regions in Uganda.
Peer Strengths Footsteps (PSF) Model: The PSF model focuses on tapping into and developing the latent strengths of the individual and the grass root group through mentorship for sustainable leadership. The essence of this model is to have whoever has been empowered to radiate enough strengths and inspiration to empower each other hence leaving footsteps of empowerment and mentorship. AWAC has successfully used this model to empower and inspire individual peer leaders to empower other members of their groups who have also emerged as leaders of other groups. Some of these groups have become CBOs, fully registered at the district and have managed to access funding to run and manage their activities and programs, while others are now running Community Health Livelihood Enhancement Groups (CHLEGs).
Community Health Livelihood Enhancement Groups (CHLEGs): The CHLEGs model was born of the need to create a community safe space for FSWs, their vulnerable children, adolescent girls and young women(AGYWs) at high risk to accelerate the achievement of 90-90-90 and treatment as prevention including; ART adherence and encouraging disclosure, partner testing, psychosocial support, counseling for drug and substance abuse, stigma reduction, tracking lost follow-up for referrals and linkage into care, positive behavioral change, knowledge and life skills sharing- i.e savings and income generation, promoting safety and health seeking behaviors, nutrition assessment and education.
Drop-in-Centre: AWAC Drop-in-Centre (DiC) is a safe space for encourage disclosure, psychosocial support, laugh, chat and share personal experiences where female sex workers, adolescent girls and young women at high risk get advice, targeted information, commodities and access comprehensive SRHR, HIV, GBV and TB services including; treatment as prevention, combination prevention, safe effective contraceptive methods, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) information.