Project Lead(s): Reena Lama
In Nepal, the criminalization of sex work often limits women’s ability to access social institutions, further marginalizing women and girls who already come from low socioeconomic backgrounds.
Female sex workers often experience poor sexual and reproductive health due to stigmatization.
Community outreach has proven to be an effective strategy for improving reproductive health and SRHR knowledge among marginalized women.
ASTHA’s ‘Women for Women’ project trained and empowered female sex workers in Nepal to provide peer-to-peer counselling for other sex workers.
The project established a community outreach model where a group of female sex workers acted to improve the sexual and reproductive health among their peers.
One-on-one counselling was provided, as well as health education and referral services.
The ‘Women for Women’ project significantly improved the health knowledge and practices of female sex workers in Nepal.
7 female sex workers were mobilized to act as peer counsellors within their communities.
The innovation reached 1006 women with SRHR education, resources, and counselling. This exceeded the project’s target of 1000. In post-test 76 missing cases was recorded, hence compared and further analysis was conducted with 930 cases only
A post-test study found 99.8% of participating female sex workers displayed “good” knowledge of sexual and reproductive health. This was a sharp increase from the pre-test rate of 50.3%.
Additionally, the project resulted in a 39.4% improvement in sexual and reproductive health practices.
In March of 2019, the Family Welfare Division of Nepal’s Government recognized female sex workers as an unreached population under its sexual and reproductive health program. The ASTHA organization hopes this revelation will lead to more government support in the future.
They are also hoping to expand to new districts in the near future.