MASERU — About 18 sex workers will receive funds from the Lesotho Planned Parenthood Association (LPPA) to start income generating projects.
The move is one of the objectives of the LPPA’s Mphatlalatsane project, a programme designed to address issues of sex workers.
The project coordinator, Tefo Lepheana, said the 18 sex workers have already undergone training to work on their business skills.
“We had to engage the Basotho Enterprise Development Corporation (Bedco) to equip them with skills needed to start businesses,” Lepheana said.
“The budget and business plans are ready. Their ideas are for various aspects of business like production, retail and service provision,” he said.
The challenge, however, was to find funds to give further expertise training on individuals on their various businesses.
He added that the sex workers were encouraged to suggest what they could do to generate their own income.
“The idea was not to impose ideas on them. They had to suggest what they could do to make their own money outside sex work.”
He said even though the project is not aiming to remove sex workers from the street, they were still hopeful that a certain percent would eventually stop the practice.
The Mphatlalatsane project also aims to get sex workers to seek health services.
Lepheane said the other objective, was to minimise health risks for sex workers. He said the sex workers were receiving free medical attention at LPPA.
The association also provides condoms for sex workers to protect themselves from sexually transmitted infections such as HIV.
“Sex workers are reluctant to seek health services because they do not have the health seeking behaviour. So the project encourages them to come for medical consultations so that they know their HIV status and get treated for other STIs”
Peer educators have also been trained on HIV and sexually transmitted illnesses and how they can protect themselves.
Again, they were equipped with communication skills to be able to pass accurate messages to their peers.
Lepheana said the LPPA was collaborating with other stakeholders like the Maseru City Council (MCC), the police and human rights groups to address matters of cleanliness in the streets, security and prevention of human rights violation.