Arms To Lean On (ATLO)

Historical background

Having been the pioneer beneficiaries of the MARPS program by University of Nairobi in 2013, MSMs experienced discrimination in the hands of health care workers at the DICE within what was believed to be a stigma free and friendly service centers. This led to a mass drop out of MSMs from the program and the MSM community had perceived the program as a data mining exercise and we felt exploited and used as mere mobilizers to help the program get data to report to the donors. This was even worsened by the harassment from the police, and the general population, security concerns like mob justice, expulsion from home, eviction from rented house, homelessness for those of us who had ran from our hostile homes, dropping out of schools and neighborhood, violence and even death of some of our members led to the coming together of 15 peers to start a support system that would build MSM resilience midst the myriad of challenges we were facing and this coming together led to the formation of Arms to Lean On (ATLO) as a community based organization (CBO). When HWWK took over from UoN, we felt perceived their coming with prejudice from the UoN experience and for close to two years we kept off and never wanted to be associated with any organization that purported to be working for and with the MSM community until we met EMAC who advocated for collaboration with HWWK and they educated the members from the prejudices they viewed HWWK Kenya and a formal partnership was born in April 2020 by signing a partnership MOU to create demand for HIV prevention, care and treatment services, conduct health education and distribute commodities.

Who do you work with?

Arms to Lean On (ATLO) is an MSM/MSW membership organization that promotes access to HIV prevention, care and treatment services, Advocacy on addressing structural barriers to access services and opportunities for Sexual minorities based in Embu town of Embu County.
Target groups
➢ The Youth
➢ Sexual Minorities & Gender Non-conforming

How are sex workers involved in your organisation?

- They are employees,
- They access HIV & STI preventive services,
- HIV& STI treatment and care services,
- Board members

Which of NSWP priority areas does your organisation work on?
Critique the trafficking paradigm that conflates representations of sex work, migration, and mobility
Advocate for universal access to health services, including primary health care, HIV and sexual and reproductive health services
Speak out about violence against sex workers, including violence from police, institutions, clients, and intimate partners, while challenging the myth that sex work is inherently gender-based violence
Oppose human rights abuses, including coercive programming, mandatory testing, raids and forced rehabilitation
Challenge stigma and discrimination against sex workers, their families and partners, and others involved in sex work
Advocate for the economic empowerment and social inclusion of sex workers as sex workers
What are the two main challenges that the sex workers you work with face

- stigma
- Discrimination
- Violence
- Poverty
- Lack of awareness

Describe other areas of your work

- Civic education
- Advocacy
- Economic empowerment
- Primary health care.