LGBT communities from the Middle East and North Africa unite at NEDWA

Organised by the Arab Foundation for Freedoms and Equality, NEDWA is the only conference that focuses on gender and sexuality in the region. People who are LGBT in MENA are disproportionately affected by HIV, lack equitable access to HIV services, are criminalised, and face unrelenting stigma, discrimination and violence.

The Alliance has been working on community-led health initiatives designed by and for men who have sex with men (MSM) in MENA for 12 years, and is currently working on human rights and prevention programmes with MSM-led organisations in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Lebanon. These organisations will have a key presence at NEDWA as the Alliance presents the evolution of its work within the region.

The Alliance’s current work in the region stems from a groundbreaking, decade-long programme that enabled civil society organisations in Algeria, Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia to set up MSM-specific prevention and treatment services, psychosocial support and legal advice where virtually none existed previously.

The programme, which finished in 2015, leaves behind many important legacies. Several of the organisations involved in this programme have become respected actors in MENA’s HIV response, and many of its MSM peer educators have become activists.

Learnings from the programme have informed a wealth of research, toolkits and programme guides, a compilation of learning that will be shared at NEDWA to inform those interested in starting or strengthening MSM programming in their countries. Read more via AIDS Alliance