Rainbow Mirrors Uganda

Who do you work with?

Rainbow mirrors Uganda (RMU) is a youth Trans women sex work led Non-governmental organization that was established in 2015 and registered as a company limited by guarantee in March 2016 under the Registration number 217479. RMU was established to support and enable young Trans women sex workers to create programmes and influence policies in the areas of gender, sexuality, health, and education. The organization promotes, protects and advances young Trans women sex workers’ human rights by building leadership, strengthening trans women sex workers capacity, supporting trans women sex workers’ led initiatives and movements. By inspiring and engaging young Trans women sex workers, Rainbow Mirrors strives to end discrimination against Trans women sex workers and realize a society that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

How are sex workers involved in your organisation?

We currently have 100 members that have accessed our services as an organisation but we are also trying to scale up our membership to other districts.
Rainbow mirrors geographical scope encompasses; central region (Kampala, Wakiso), Easter region in the districts of Kamuli, Iganga and Mbale, and Western region (mbarara)

Which of NSWP priority areas does your organisation work on?
Oppose the criminalisation and other legal oppression of sex work and support its recognition as work
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

The legislative framework of Uganda provides under art. 21 (1) of the 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda for equality and non-discrimination, but then this provision is contravened by Section 145 (a) of the Penal Code Act, Cap 120 wherein homosexuality (homosexual acts which includes all acts of LGBTQ persons) is criminalized. For such reasons and many other reasons and issues in human rights, the United Nations General Assembly, formulated the OHCHR and mandated it mandated to promote and protect the effective enjoyment of all human rights- inherent to all human beings regardless of race, gender, colour, sexual orientation and social or religious affiliation in all countries including Uganda. OHCHR country offices contributes to national efforts aimed at promoting respect for and observance of human rights law through provision of advice, capacity building and assistance to the competent authorities in relation to strategies, programmes and measures to promote and protect human rights in the country and that through monitoring activities, the Office observes the state’s and its various institutions’ adherence to human rights in the country and indicates possible gaps in the implementation of human rights at different levels, including the national legislation, public policies, indicators and statistics, trends and concrete complaints and cases of human rights violations.
Despite these efforts, the rule of law and human rights is at its lowest in Uganda, especially with the passing of draconian laws like the Anti-Homosexuality Act-Penal code Act section 136,137, and 145, and The Public Order Management Act some of whose provisions and or clauses do not only contradict the 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, but also have been seen to gravely affect Transgender people as has been noted by the Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law (CSCHRCL) with “deep concern” that “the human rights of transgender persons continue to deteriorate at an alarming rate” and this is attributed to the fact that there is an alarming discrepancy between state commitments and action” in relation to human rights for all persons regardless of their sexual orientation

Describe other areas of your work

Economic Empowerment - We are currently running three sustainable livelihood projects that include: Agriculture for sustainable Trans women sex workers’ development; Wine production; Rainbow mirrors saving and cooperative society (informal SACCO). These projects have supported 150 young Trans women sex workers.
Institutional capacity and governance - RMU was developed by young Trans woman sex worker who is supported 6 staff members and has on board a team of 6 volunteer members, who work full-time and part-time, between 18-26 years of age. RMU volunteers work to develop institutional capacities to fund raise, monitor, evaluate and assess institutional goals, coordinate media and press relationships, monitor finances and administration, due diligence and administration and oversee the content development and on-ground execution of program
Rainbow Mirrors health and human rights programs - Under this RMU through its commitment to ensuring health rights and access to services for young Trans women sex workers has run two successful programs; Blending Spectrum: Health, Education and Peer Based Counselling and Know Your Body, Know Your Rights! -Understanding Sexuality, Gender, Health, Rights and HIV/AIDS