BNS: Focused Workshop

The focused workshop (FW) intervention evolved from the Organisational Workshop, which provides training and support for communities to organise themselves and create sustainable enterprises, thus improving their economic and development opportunities. Initial focus groups suggested that the FW intervention:

  • Should focus especially on empowerment of young women (aged around 15-24) who are often involved in transactional sex, especially with older men, yet who are usually not the focus of structural interventions
  • Should include more than economic aspects of empowerment, and should be sustainable
  • Should leverage access by young women to existing programmes and grants available in each country

The FW takes into account that almost all current AIDS prevention strategies address the choice-enabled – those who can take preventive measures if they want to – and many young women are not in this position. The FW helps young women to mobilise and organise, building life skills and business skills to help them make positive changes in their lives.

An initial Skills Workshop over several days aims to build self-awareness and self-esteem among groups of young women, who then work together to set up an enterprise or activity that can provide them with an income. In the Skills Workshop, the young women share personal experiences, recognise their goals, develop skills, develop positive life changing dreams and desires, and plan how to implement them. After the Skills Workshop, CIET facilitators continue to work with the FW groups and put them in touch with existing sources of support – including grants and loans for small enterprises – in their countries.

The process is constantly evolving and adapting; the team of CIET facilitators share challenges and success stories across the three countries through a newsletter. A second issue of the newsletter, published in February 2012, continues the exchange.