We believe that the end of AIDS is possible if there is more focus on key populations. Our project in Tanzania addresses barriers faced by the LGBT community related to their sexual and reproductive health and rights. Driven by community champions, we work to realize strengthened community systems that are supportive towards LGBT people; strong civil society that holds the government to account; and increased access to legal and comprehensive health services.
LGBT identities are ‘taboo’
Tanzania (officially: the United Republic of Tanzania) is located within the Great Lakes region of East Africa. The country’s population was 51.82 million in 2014. While HIV prevalence among the general population has decreased in Tanzania, available data suggests it has increased among key populations, including men who have sex with men (MSM). HIV prevalence among men who have sex with men (MSM) is estimated at 22.2%. In Tanzania LGBT identities are perceived as taboo and male same-sex sexual activities are crimes which are punishable with up to life imprisonment. The Mainland Tanzanian Penal code does not specifically mention female same-sex sexual activity. The semi-autonomous region of Zanzibar outlaws same-sex sexual acts between women with up to five years imprisonment and a 500,000 shilling fine. Due to criminalisation, LGBT people often live in isolation and their human rights are often violated by state actors, such as police and healthcare staff. There is broad stigma and discrimination in society.
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, representatives of the LGBT community developed a Theory of Change that consists of short-,medium, and long term outcomes. The specified Theory of Change of the LGBT people project describes how we plan to realize strengthened community systems that are supportive towards LGBT people; strong civil society that holds the government to account; and increased access to legal and comprehensive health services.
Through innovation and by building on previous work, we will strengthen civil society organisations’ ability to:
1. We facilitate community development
- Conducting a needs-assessment on (psychosocial) health and well-being of LGBT people on mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar.
- Completing and disseminating one lessons learned documentation process to engage in the UPR.
- Participating in a regional participatory community based needs-assessment through which information and evidence will be gathered intended to inform future interventions and advocacy for LGBT in Tanzania.
- Building the organizational capacity of LGBT-led organisations.
2. We advocate for the continuously strengthening of services and upholding human rights
- Hosting a training on human rights, documenting violence and empowerment using the Speaking Out toolkit.
- Creating a key affected population task force to organize community representation in national mechanisms, such as the Country Coordinating Committee (CCM) of the Global Fund.
3. We deliver inclusive, rights-based and gender sensitive services
- Enhancing greater awareness of specific stigma and discrimination barriers faced by key populations and key populations living with HIV when accessing services.
- Promoting greater community demand for and integration between HIV, sexual and reproductive health services for key populations.
- Training and sensitising healthcare providers and peer-educators on human rights and health needs of LGBT people.
- Increasing knowledge on safe sex through peer-education and distributing IEC materials with relevant and targeted information.
4. We foster global and in-country process and partnerships that reinforce results
Collaborating of LGBT organisations in a key population network.
Other projects in Tanzania
Bridging the Gaps also has a sex workers project in Tanzania.