Matshelo Community Development Agency (MCDA), a Non Governmental Organization based in Francistown, last week held a workshop with commercial sex workers in Francistown and the surrounding areas as part of its efforts to sensitize them on health hazards and safety issues.
Speaking to The Telegraph, the Project Manager at MCDA, Gaolape Makgarapa, said that the workshop, which was dubbed “Voice of the commercial sex workers”, was geared at giving the sex workers a platform to voice their concerns and acquire information on HIV/Aids and health programmes available in the country, which they can take advantage of.
“This workshop was a very important event as it gave the sex workers a platform to raise their voices and acquire information on health issues. As MCDA we do not necessarily promote commercial sex work, but we are more concerned with helping these workers against HIV/Aids infections and their safety in general,” she said.
Makgarapa said that during the workshop, they touched on various issues, such as health care programmes and how the sex workers cope in the communities they live in. She said that several other stake holders from the Ministry of Health and some local authorities also participated at the workshop.
“These commercial sex workers expressed concerns over a number of issues such as the ill treatment they get from some of their clients and the bad attitude they get from the Police when they report cases,” she added.
Makgarapa lauded the workshop as a very fruitful event because it helped and educated the sex workers on the importance of taking care of themselves against the HIV/Aids diseases and their safety in general. She also added that by educating the sex workers on health issues, they are also protecting the community, particularly their clients against diseases such as HIV/Aids.
She concluded by saying that one of their main challenges as MCDA is the shortage of funds, which hinders them to expand their foot prints across the country and hold similar workshops.
“If we had enough funds, we would hold similar workshops across the country particularly in urban areas,” she said.
MCDA is an organization that was formed in 2000 with the prime objective to help the commercial sex workers on issues of their safety and health. The organization currently gets funding from the Research Triangle Institute (RTI) a Non Governmental Organization, which is based in United States of America.