|Nikat Women's Association - Ethiopia|
Established in 2006 by a group of sex workers, Nikat aims to improve the living conditions of low-income women and commercial sex workers in Addis Ababa in an effort to fight poverty and protect their health. Members share information about protecting themselves from HIV and violence through skills-building and other empowerment activities, such as income-generating projects. Nikat builds the economic and social development capacity of its members by increasing their confidence and employability. In addition to offering primary health care and counselling, the organisation provides workshops on HIV and STI prevention, condom use, violence, gender issues, human rights and counselling on HIV. The Commercial Sex Worker Drop-In-Center inaugurated in 2008 provides a safe place where women can access information on HIV, health and social issues. The centre has served over 4,500 sex workers and trained 75 members as peer-educators, who in turn reach out to the community with prevention education and condom distribution targeting vulnerable groups such as sex workers and truck drivers. The first grassroots community-based association established by sex workers in Ethiopia, Nikat has fought against stigma to demonstrate that by protecting the rights of sex workers and empowering them, they can play an important role in the national AIDS response.