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Sinikwe "Nikki" Mtetwa

The Center for Sexual Health and HIV/AIDS Research - Ziimbabwe (CeSHHAR Zimbabwe) - 2017 Fellow
Advocacy Accomplishments for the Year

Bathabile and Nikki’s work together centered on sex workers’ acceptability of PrEP ahead of Zimbabwe’s national rollout. The team worked with young sex workers, conducting over 50 community dialogues across the country, joined the Ministry of Health’s Technical Working Group on PrEP and engaged health workers, the police, church members and male partners to pave the way for culturally competent PrEP services, free of harassment and/or discrimination. They spoke on radio talk shows and drafted a position paper targeted at the Ministry of Health emphasizing the need for PrEP for young women and adolescent girls as an integral part of Zimbabwe’s comprehensive HIV prevention response.

In Bathabile’s Own Words

I had feared to be stigmatized or that some would not allow their young women to attend the dialogues I organized, as a sex worker. But I think I managed to keep the demand on PrEP and I ensured that I provided support to everyone who needed information about the pill.

In Nikki's Own Words

We also learnt that using every available resource tool when advocating is beneficial, e.g. the media, as targeted groups and the communities in which they live are reached with information. Another lesson learnt is that when advocating on one prevention tool, for example PrEP, one cannot ignore other existing prevention strategies such as condoms and VMMC and other broader issues surrounding it. I am now empowered. I learnt that with information on my fingertips, there is no need to act hesitant.

Personally, when I am passionate about something or against some injustice, it usually ended in doing things in anger or haste. Now, as an advocate, I have the capacity to clearly map the way I want to deliver certain information to exert change. I now recognize the importance of identifying a gap, a challenge, a hinderance etc to change and deal with it.

Materials

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