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POUVOIR -Improving the sexual and reproductive health and rights of cisgender and trans sex workers in Côte d’Ivoire through an empowerment approach

ADVOCACY FOR FAIR ACCESS TO QUALTITY HEALTH CARECAPACITY BUILDINGCommunity mobilisation and health promotionSTRENGTHENING SYSTEMS AND HEALTH SERVICESFighting HIV / AIDSPromoting Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights

Improving the sexual and reproductive health and rights of cisgender and trans sex workers in Côte d’Ivoire through an empowerment approach


The institutional and legal environment in Côte d’Ivoire has many shortcomings in the area of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). It is the only country in the Francophone sub-region that does not currently have a specific law on sexual and reproductive health (SRH). This lack of legislation has direct consequences on the health of the population, particularly on the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Côte d’Ivoire is one of the most affected countries in the sub-region, with a prevalence rate of 2.4%, particularly among key populations, including sex workers (12.6%) and transgender people (22.6%).

The criminalisation of activities related to sex work in Côte d’Ivoire creates a climate of insecurity for cis and trans female SWs who feel stalked. They are therefore driven underground, are reluctant to go to the police courts, and have difficulty accessing prevention and care. Their access to menstrual hygiene protection remains limited, they are exposed to the risk of vaginosis, and only 39% use contraception. As condom use is not systematic (large sums of money are paid for unprotected sex or clients refuse to protect them), they are highly exposed to the transmission of STIs, including HIV, unwanted pregnancies and unsafe abortions. They are also particularly exposed to gender-based violence (GBV). Indeed, HIV transmission and GBV share common determinants, and if GBV represents a direct and indirect risk factor for HIV transmission, being HIV positive is also a risk factor for GBV. Considering these intersections, it seems essential to combine efforts to fight against GBV and HIV, but also to address all the issues related to the SRHR of SWs in a holistic manner.


Key project information

Duration of the project  36 months (2022 – 2025)
Partners   COVIE, Arc en ciel +, Espace Confiance, PAC-CI research programme, National Mother and Child Health Programme, National AIDS Control Programme, Doctors of the World
Beneficiaries  9,000 cisgender and trans SW women, including 24 peer educators, 24 health professionals from 6 partner health facilities, More than 250 people from the sex workers’ environment: clients, managers, community and religious leaders, law enforcement officers and journalists
Source of funding
L'Initiative (Expertise France), L’Oréal Women’s Fund, Mairie de Paris
Countries of intervention  Côte D'Ivoire ​

General objective

To improve the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of cisgender and trans sex workers in Côte d’Ivoire and thus contribute to the achievement of national goals in the fight against HIV/AIDS

To improve cisgender and trans sex workers’ access to prevention and sexual risk reduction interventions (Sexually Transmitted Infections, HIV/AIDS, Gender Based Violence, Unintended Pregnancy) and to comprehensive, quality Sexual and Reproductive Health services.

Activities and expected results

  • Participatory planning and definition of a strengthening plan for our CSO partners, as well as organisational capacity building.
  • Strengthening of peer educators on SRH, particularly on approaches related to self-care (education, self-testing for STIs and self-use contraception) and gender based violences (GBV): training, development of tools
  • Implement or strengthen GBV prevention and referral mechanisms and empower cisgender and transgender women
  • Implementing self-care approaches: self-awareness, self-testing and self-care
  • Support for the organisation and improvement of the material conditions of SRH services in 6 health centres and at the Drop in centers of our partners for appropriate care of cisgender and trans women
  • A specific community strategy is deployed to reduce the risks of GBV, particularly in the care and professional practice of cisgender and trans women, and to strengthen access to SRH, particularly through self-care
  • The supply of SRH services is improved in the target areas, for care adapted to the specific needs of cisgender and trans women
  • A more favourable social and political environment for SRH for cisgender and trans women is established in the target areas and at the national level

Download the project sheet

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