e-MPOWER - Partnership to Overcome Challenges of Online Learning and to Empower Youth Actors in the Field of Sexual Health Promotion in the COVID-19 Era
eMPOWER has been specifically designed to combat the additional challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. With NGO capacity impacted by limited resources and legal restrictions, eMPOWER aims to increase the capacity of young advocates and activists working or volunteering in healthcare to help meet the needs of the sex worker community. Recognising the need for such training to be provided in remote, rather than in-person, settings, eMPOWER aims to meet the challenges and provide tools for effective online learning.
The project, running until September 2022, will:
- Adapt training activity for young advocates/activists previously offered by sexual health orgs so that it can be online
- Focus on mental health - particularly the impact of structural issues such as criminalisation and stigma - and offer tools to the community to deal with mental health issues
- Focus on sexual health - meeting the specific needs of the sex worker community, as well as those who may be living with HIV or a member of the LGBTQ+ community, and understanding how criminalisation and stigma interacts with these needs
- Provide knowledge of online safety and digital rights - such as data protection, privacy issues and censorship - which can be relevant to young stigmatised or criminalised populations
- Provide the means to exchange knowledge and best practices through an online platform providing a clear and implementable model of training that can be accessed by other organisations and advocates with a focus on sexual health
ESWA envisions the following outcomes from the eMPOWER project:
- Needs assessment and research to inform the design of future activities
- Written recommendations based on the above
- Monitoring and evaluation framework of trainees to assess the impact of training activities
- Wellbeing guide for trainees
- Youth activist training materials online toolbox that will be freely accessible
- Presentation of the project outcomes via a public webinar, recorded and shared online via project partner social media platforms
- Pilot training to test the programme and materials
Disclaimer for e-MPOWER
This project has received funding from the European Union’s ERASMUS+ programme under grant agreement No 008320
The content of the project's outputs is solely the opinion of the author(s); The EU Commission is not liable for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.
The outputs of the project are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence.
Mental Health Programme
In 2021, ESWA implemented its first programme to support the mental health of sex workers and advocate for the inclusion of sex workers in mental health services. The programme was designed to offer tools on how to prevent and address mental health crises in the community while developing a briefing paper exploring the issues related to access to mental health care for sex workers.
The capacity-building part of the programme included:
5 thematic session webinars open to all ESWA members: presentations and discussions on thematics such as sexual violence, anxiety, addiction, suicide, wellbeing
7 support sessions in a closed group of LGBTQI sex workers’ rights activists
The resources include a briefing paper as well as a small ‘organisation tool kit’. The briefing paper is developed through an e-consultation with all ESWA members, focus groups and case studies on community-led projects in Europe and Central Asia. In parallel, an awareness campaign is being developed showcasing sex workers as part of the support sessions through illustrations and testimonies (illustrations by Ambrose).