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VACANCY: Communications Officer

We are looking to hire a dedicated communications officer to join our team. The communications officer will support our internal and external communications strategy, write and disseminate publicity material, respond to inquiries from the public and media, and coordinate promotional events.

To succeed as a communications officer, you should be able to think creatively, and have excellent communication and interpersonal skills. A bachelor’s degree with experience as a communications officer or equivalent experience in a similar role is strongly desired.

Responsibilities:

  • Collaborate with management to develop and implement an effective communications strategy based on our target audience.
  • Write, edit, and distribute content, including publications, press releases, website content, annual reports, speeches, and other marketing material that communicates the organization’s activities, products and/or services.
  • Respond to media inquiries, arrange interviews, and act as a spokesperson for the organization.
  • Establish and maintain effective relationships with journalists, and maintain a media database.
  • Seek opportunities to enhance the reputation of the brand, and coordinate publicity events as required.
  • Maintain records of media coverage and collate analytics and metrics.
  • Proficiency in design and publishing software.
  • Manage conflict as it arises and escalate to management.

Requirements:

  • Degree/diploma in communications, journalism, or related field.
  • Minimum of 2-5 years’ relevant experience in a communications role.
  • Knowledge of desktop publishing software (InDesign/Photoshop).
  • Excellent verbal, written, and interpersonal skills.
  • Good time management and organizational skills.
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office, content management systems, and social media platforms.

APPLICATIONS DEADLINE

All interested applicants to send their CV and Cover letter to coswa215@gmail.com not later than Midnight Tuesday, 15th January 2023.

COSWA Kenya is an equal opportunity employer that is committed to diversity and inclusion in the workplace. We prohibit discrimination and harassment of any kind based on race, color, sex, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, genetic information, pregnancy, or any other protected characteristic as outlined by the laws of the Republic of Kenya.

International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers.

STATEMENT FROM SEX WORKERS WHO USE DRUGS

On December 17th, Coast Sex Workers Alliance joined other sex workers globally to mark the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. This statement is a call to action to hear our voices, to legislate and program for our protection.

Sex work in Kenya and globally has been deeply politicized as an issue of morality and punishable by law, rather than as a viable way to make a living. Sex work is largely criminalized which further infringes on our rights and subsequently our safety from multiple harms. Female sex workers who use drugs are further stigmatized, underserved and criminalized.

We continue to face overlapping challenges when accessing health services like sexual and reproductive health, HIV care and treatment, and harm reduction services, where most programs are male-centered. Criminalization of drug use does not stop its uptake but, rather, further exposes people who use drugs, especially women, to risks such as HIV acquisition and police brutality. This is why drug use must be decriminalized. Specifically, the MOHA bill, recently introduced to parliament, gives the police and the government power to recklessly persecute drug users, thus the MOHA bill must be rescinded.

The constitution of Kenya states that every citizen of the country has a right to the highest attainable standard of health. Regardless of this assurance, health facilities continue to infringe on our right to access quality health care services mostly because of ‘morality ‘issues and lack of knowledge and understanding. There is a need for stigma and discrimination training with health professionals to address negative attitudes towards sex workers who use/inject drugs.

PrEP is a potentially useful HIV prevention intervention among sex workers who inject drugs, but must be provided as part of a suite of HIV prevention approaches and alongside, NOT INSTEAD OF evidence-based harm reduction services. There’s the need to avoid over-medicalized, simplistic responses that are seen as politically easier than needle and syringe programs and/or opium agonist therapy. Community-led and peer-based approaches must be central to how PrEP is positioned and made available to sex workers who inject drugs in order to remove barriers and ensure safety from HIV acquisition.

In Summary, COSWA calls for the following actions to secure protection for all sex workers, and particularly those who use drugs:

  • Decriminalization of Sex Work
  • Decriminalization of Drug Use; rescind the MOHA bill
  • Health professionals to undergo stigma and discrimination training to address negative attitudes towards sex workers who use drugs.
  • Sex workers who use drugs are supported to design and develop their own PrEP programs alongside harm reduction services.

By Liz, COSWA, AVAC 2022 Fellow.

Sex Work in Mombasa County & The Change Happening

Mombasa is one of the fastest growing cities in East Africa located on the Coastal region of Kenya and it is among the very well-known tourists’ destinations in the world. Mombasa is celebrated for its rich culture, hospitality and tasty Swahili cuisines. Walking around in the evening in any street within Mombasa in the evening you will see kids playing outside, Women will set up small stands selling famous Swahili street food known as “viazi karai” and men will gather around to drink this traditionally brewed palm wine known as “mnazi”.

Artwork by Carys Boughton.
 | All rights reserved.

Mombasa being a tourist destination, sex work is a booming business on this part of Kenya, we have both local and international clients but besides this being  consensual sex trade between two consenting adults sex workers still experience criminalization, discrimination and human rights violations which increases sex workers vulnerabilities to contracting HIV and other life threatening conditions. The discriminative nature of the culture of Mombasa and the existing punitive laws that criminalizes consensual sell or buying of sex between two adults is amongst the contributing factors that hinder sex workers from accessing services.

Mombasa is very beautiful and calm but behind all this calm, there is a deeply rooted culture and beliefs which allows for discrimination of women and young girls, parents and guardians take advantage of the city being a tourist destination to push their children into sex work. High level of poverty forces young girls to drop out of school and help their caregivers to fend for their families and the only easy way is to also engage in sex work because of these factors sex workers have often been linked to sex trafficking.

Sex workers in Mombasa continue to suffer abuse by both law enforcers, community members and other key stake holders. When a sex worker reports any violations to the authorities usually the police take sides with the abusers and subject us to inhumane body searches looking for possession of condoms which is usually used as proof of sex work and can be used against us in the court of law. Religious leaders deny us opportunities to participate in worship places causing us starvation of spiritual nourishment and if we choose to take up spaces in such places usually the sermons are those of hate and inciting against sex workers.

All the abuse we experience are as a result of the criminalization of sex work in Kenya. A sex worker can be raped, robbed or denied services but will fear to go and report because the ones who are supposed to protect us are actually the ones who abuse and support our abusers and because of that we continue to suffer in silence and these challenges pour down to our children, friends and family.

However, over the past few years many sex workers led organizations have continued to intensify advocacy on decriminalization of sex work and protection of sex workers rights because the protection offered by the government is selective and doesn’t protect every one of its citizens. Decriminalize sex work now so that we too can feel protected.

Article by Liz