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Welcome to the quarterly newsletter of Bridging the Gaps - Health and rights of key populations.
        IN THIS EDITION:



Bridging the Gaps wants to achieve universal access to HIV/STI prevention, treatment, care and support for sex workers, LGBT people and people who use drugs. These key populations are typically 10 to 20 times more likely to become infected by HIV while only 8% have access to HIV services. In our approach we want to create added value by focusing simultaneously on all 3 key populations and on the crossovers between them in one single programme. Through our newsletter we keep you updated about the activities and results of Bridging the Gaps, which consists of 21 key population projects in 16 countries as well as 4 global advocacy projects.

In this second edition of our newsletter we are highlighting some of the work that is done on the ground in South Africa and Botswana. We hope that the results achieved by and the personal stories of our outreach workers and peer educators are an inspiration to those of you working with key populations anywhere in the world! Enjoy reading!

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A DAY IN THE FIELD WITH SINDISWA


Challenging homophobia and improving the health and rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex  people in Cape Town.

Sindiswa works as a senior field worker for Bridging the Gaps partner organization Triangle Project in Cape Town, South Africa. Every day she is driven to do what she can to improve the health and rights of LGBTI people in the region. Working very closely with the community she facilitates safe space meetings and talks to clinic staff to ensure that health care services are LGBTI-friendly.
This short video gives a good impression of what a regular working day looks like for Sindi.

Click here for more information about Bridging the Gaps' LGBTI projects in South Africa.



ACT LIKE A GIRL: THE STORY OF MUNIR VAN REENEN


My name is Munir and I am a 33-year-old trans man. I knew I was different before the age of ten because I did not “act like a girl”. I did everything the boys did, like running around without a t-shirt, playing with boys and boy’s toys. I was definitely different.
My father died when I was a baby and my mom never reprimanded me or ever told me I was a girl and should act like a girl. She bought me what I wanted in terms of clothes and toys. The boys also just accepted me as part of the friendship circle. As I grew older and into my teens, I started backing away from boys and started joining the girls’ group because that was what was expected of me. Boys started showing an interest in me, but I was only interested in girls.
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GOGO'S:


Grannies in action challenging homophobia

LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) activism is not limited to younger generations. In Paarl, just outside of Cape Town there is quite an extraordinary group of people that is concerned about the health and human rights of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders. These Gogo’s (gogo is Zulu for granny) actively promote acceptance of LGBT people in their community and beyond.
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PROGRAMMES FOR KEY POPULATIONS:
WHAT MAKES THEM WORK?

 
A survey of operational research capacity among members of the Bridging the Gaps Alliance
 
‘Operational research means that key populations get better programmes,’ states Joost van der Meer, Operational Research Consultant. Recently, he implemented a study among the partner organisations of Bridging the Gaps, to assess their capacity to implement operational research as well as monitoring and evaluation (M&E) – two closely linked fields of work. ‘I discovered that, while quantitative information is available, there are enormous information gaps related to human rights, meaningful involvement of key populations, and policy change.’ A short interview with the researcher, who will also compose the operational research plan.
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YOU CAN'T EAT BANANA IF YOU DON'T PEEL IT:


Sex workers tackle lack of knowledge and violations of rights
 
Sex workers and their clients often lack knowledge about sexual health issues, safe sex techniques, and sex workers’ rights. Stella, Jacky, Esther, and Thuy An My Do, sex workers in different parts of the world, feel very motivated to do something about it. They work at local self-organizations as outreach workers, peer educators, and spokespersons. The sex workers projects of Bridging the Gaps at country-level empowered the four women to improve their lives and health.
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FROM OUR BLOG: BEING A LESBIAN IN BOTSWANA

My Name is Lady Tabengwa. I am a lesbian woman of 25 years and I have a girlfriend. I live alone in Gaborone, the capital of Botswana. To earn money, I work as a business administrator. Being a lesbian has influenced my life in a sense that I have to work twice as hard. Those things that are easy to most people, are challenges for me. Whatever I do, I will always be undermined and discriminated against, because of my sexuality. So, I have to fill in that gap.
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