In a quest to create a safe space for the LGBTI community at Dzaleka Refugee Camp and other similar places in Malawi, the Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) organised a stakeholders workshop on “Working with LGBTI PoCs (Persons of Concern)” from the 14th to 15th February, 2019 at Linde Motel, Mponela, Dowa. The workshop was carried in collaboration with project implementation partners: Community Health Rights Advocacy (CHERA) and Centre for the Development of People (CEDEP) with funding from the International HIV/AIDS Alliance (IHAA).
The two day workshop whose objective was to broaden the information and educate stakeholders about the continental trends of the LGBTI Community was co-facilitated by Michael Kaiyatsa (Senior Advocacy and Resource Mobilisation coordinator, CHRR) and Rodney Chalera (Senior Programmes Manager, CEDEP), with a brief policy presentation from Owen Nyasulu of UNHCR.
Among other key note areas covered during the workshop included “Attitudes and Value Clarification on LGBTI”, “Unpacking the LGBTIQ Acronym”, “Understanding Sexual Diversity: Demystifying Homosexuality”, “The LGBT Situation in Africa and the Problem of Forced Displacement”, “UNHCR’s Policy Towards LGBTI People of Concern” and “Best Practices in Serving LGBTI Persons of Concern: Dispelling Homo/Trans phobia in Service Provision”. Two video documentaries were also presented to the cohort: “Plight of the Intersex in Malawi” and “Africa’s Last Taboo”.
Speaking to Programs Manager from Cedep, Rodney Chalera stressed on the importance of taking active role in protecting the LGBTI Community. “The role of activists is not to promote but to protect the LGBTI community and thus why are inclined to impart knowledge with stakeholders who can set good examples to spread the knowledge acquired with their workmates and other stakeholders they might come across in their line of duty” said Chalera.
Concurring with Chalera, Senior Advocacy and Resource Mobilisation Coordinator from CHRR, Michael Kaiyatsa expressed Optimism over the outcomes of the workshop. He encouraged all participants to emulate the outcomes of the meeting by taking a big role to reach to the mass community in advocating for the rights of the LGBTI community.
Among other key participants to the workshop included Rights activists, Health representatives, Youth led organisations and government representatives from the Ministry of Homeland Security and United Nations High Commission for Refugees.