USING INTERNATIONAL EVENTS AND ENTERTAINMENT SPORTS AS INNOVATIONS TO ADDRESS STIGMA AND DISCRIMINATION IN COMMUNITIES OF KENYA
BACKGROUND: NYARWEK, MAAYGO and GALCK collaborated to provide HIV/STIs prevention information and case detection during the 2011 world AIDS Day National celebration at Kisumu
OBJECTIVE: Use international day events and spaces for action against stigma and discrimination due to sexual orientation and identity.
DESIGN: This exercise was based on convenience meeting events on World AIDS Day. NYARWEK organised a booth where IEC materials and HIV, Counselling and Testing was done without discriminating beneficiaries.
SETTING: This was in Kisumu during the 2011 National World AIDS Day commemoration.
PARTICIPANTS: The lead participants were teams that engaged in volleyball, football and netball.
INTERVENTION: To use sports to show that one’s sexuality, gender or identity does not stop them from being normal and responsible citizens.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASUREMENT: The primary outcomes were showing that sexual minorities like other human beings have the need to belong and contribute to their own society or community.
RESULTS: NYARWEK managed to attend in a space side by side with other organisations and communities from far and wide in Kenya. The games were a means to influence change of opinion towards same sex practicing persons. We managed to reach out to over 400 beneficiaries at their stand who demanded for HCT services. Sexuality education booth was attended by over 1500 people whose curiosity beyond heterosexuality was assuaged by our counsellors and the IEC leaflets they picked. Such questions like who are “homosexual” were answered in an informative atmosphere.
LIMITATION: This was an exercise carried out to improve focus and understanding same sex practicing Kenyans. However, it was a onetime event we hope to continue in order to assess impact.
CONCLUSION: Innovations to improve interface with sexual minorities are an effective way to create opportunities for understanding sexuality and orientation.