LGBT people project Kenya

We believe that the end of AIDS is possible if there is more focus on key populations. Our project in Kenya addresses barriers faced by the LGBT community related to their sexual and reproductive health and rights. Driven by community champions, we work to realize increased fulfilment of human rights of LGBTI people and accessible LGBT-led or informed comprehensive quality services.

Criminalisation, violence and abuse

Though Kenya is the regional trade and finance hub for East Africa, it is classed by the World Bank as a low-income country and has a low ranking on the Human Development Index (HDI). There are approximately 1,500,000 people living with HIV in Kenya. Across the 47 counties in the country, HIV prevalence ranges from 2% or less to as high as 26%. HIV prevalence is 18.2% for men who have sex with men. In Kenya same-sex activity is criminalized by the penal code, and there is widespread stigma and discrimination against LGBT people. This environment makes it difficult for LGBT people to access health services and indirectly increases their vulnerability to negative health outcomes including HIV infection. Although homosexuality is illegal, the HIV epidemic among MSM has begun to be addressed by government institutions. The Kenya National AIDS Strategic Plan includes commitments to provide services tailored to the LGBT community. Furthermore, both the National Aids and STI Control Programme and the National Aids Control Council allow for LGBT advocates to inform the national HIV response. However, outside provision of services, there has been very little progress on larger contextual issues affecting key populations, such as descriminalisation or controlling violence and abuse perpetuated by police.

LGBT people claim a right-based HIV and SRHR response

Bridging the Gaps works with a Theory of Change approach. A Theory of Change is a description of a list of events that is expected to lead to a particular desired outcome. It is a visualization how change is believed to happen. In 2016, LGBT representatives developed a specified Theory of Changethat consists of short-,medium, and long term outcomes. The Theory of Change describes how we plan to realize increased fulfilment of human rights of LGBTI people and accessible LGBT-led or informed comprehensive quality services.

Through innovation and by building on previous work, we will strengthen civil society organisations’ ability to:

1. We facilitate community development

  • Building the LGBTI movement .
  • Increasing knowledge and understanding around sexualities, gender, gender identification and expression, wellbeing and human rights.
  • Developing and distributing IEC materials.
  • Participating in in the implementation of a national need assessment on (psychosocial) health and well-being.
  • Participating in a regional participatory community based needs-assessment to be used for future programming and advocacy.
  • Developing and disseminating two lessons learned documents on clinical programming and advocacy.
  • Building the capacity of local research coordinators.
  • Facilitating a linking and learning workshop for partner organisations in Kenya.
  • Conducting research to increase understanding of the health and human rights status of LGBT communities in Nairobi and Mombasa.

2. We advocate for the continuously strengthening of services and upholding human rights

  • Participating in the national Technical Working Group on Key Populations of the Ministry of Health to support advocacy around increased and coordinated LGBT health programming.
  • Litigating on the sodomy legislation in Kenya.
  • Documenting progress of the Kenya AIDS Strategic Framework implementation.
  • Training paralegals on human rights, reporting and documentation.
  • Referring clients to human rights organizations for follow-up on human rights violations.
  • Engaging in strategic advocacy activities on national and regional level.

3. We deliver inclusive, rights-based and gender sensitive services

  • Increasing knowledge on safer sex practices through workshops, outreach and peer-education.
  • Providing direct services like HIV testing and counselling and psychosocial support.
  • Organizing health forums for healthcare providers and MSM.
  • Sensitizing healthcare providers through workshops.
  • Conducting peer-led educational and psychological support sessions.
  • Training community advocates on the MSMIT to advocate for the integration of MSM-targeted services in government clinics.

4. We foster global and in-country process and partnerships that reinforce results

  • Participating in key population network to lobby for inclusion of MSM and LGBT issues in national programming, budgeting and curriculum development.
  • Hosting and attending meetings about Global Fund and PEPFAR processes.
  • Translating Global Fund and PEPFAR materials to make it more user friendly for community members

Our partners

Our project builds on the strong advocacy work of our partners Ishtar MSM, PEMA Kenya, Jinsiangu, NGLHRCMinority Women in Action and MAAYGO to put LGBT health issues on the political agenda and get them included in national plans. Their work is internationally supported by COC and MSMGF.

Our other projects in Kenya

Bridging the Gaps also has a people who use drugs project and a sex workers project in Kenya.