Bar Hostess Empowerment & Support Programme (BHESP) is an organization for and by sex workers, women having sex with women (WSW), women using drugs and bar hostesses in Kenya. BHESP was founded in the year 1998 by a group of these vulnerable women as a ‘loose’ association to advocate for their rights and recognition. BHESP’s mission is to influence policy and facilitate provision of quality health services, human rights awareness, legal services and economic empowerment for sex workers, WSW, women using drugs and bar hostesses in Kenya. BHESP engages these women in Kenya in HIV/AIDS Prevention, care and support, gender/ human rights awareness, advocacy and economic empowerment. The organization serves as a common voice for these vulnerable populations in efforts to reduce stigma and discrimination, while engaging various stakeholders in advocacy and policy dialogue.
BHESP’S Mission is to influence policy and facilitate access to quality health services and human rights for vulnerable women.
This mission will be attained through:
Promoting national and local/county level policy for the human rights of sex workers, WSW, women using drugs, and bar hostesses to operate in an environment where their dignity is upheld.
Public sensitization initiatives that seek to create human rights awareness sex workers, WSW, women using drugs and bar hostesses and garner citizen support towards this noble cause.
Mobilizing donor support and resources that promote the health and wellbeing of sex workers, WSW, women using drugs and bar hostesses while providing an education on their rights to empower them to make informed choices.
Being inclusive, participatory, accountable, responsive and sensitive to the needs of sex workers, WSW, women using drugs and bar hostesses.
A society where sex workers, WSW, women using drugs and bar hostesses in Kenya are treated with respect and dignity and their rights upheld.
BHESP’S Vision is that of a society where bar hostesses, adolescent girls, young women, and other key populations are treated with respect and dignity and their rights upheld.
In order to effectively deliver on our mandate, and in an effort to emerge as a regional leader in championing the rights and dignity of sex workers, WSW, women using drugs and bar hostesses, the organization’s strategic direction and result areas will be based on its core values that form the basis of all BHESP’s operations. These are our values in action:-
Excellence: BHESP will strive to become a model of excellence. We aim to achieve this through continuous development and improvement our services by working in partnership with the people that use them and the application of local solutions to local problems.
Integrity: BHESP will carry out its activities in an honest and truthful manner.
Empowerment: BHESP’s philosophy is that of enabling not charity. While championing for their rights we shall continuously aim to provide sex workers, WSW, women using drugs and bar hostesses useful information, knowledge and skills to encourage self reliance. Arising thereof, we believe they shall make informed decisions regarding their future.
Professionalism: BHESP believes in quality outcomes. This will reflect in lean, multi-skilled workforce (employees and volunteers) and strong partnership with other credible and professional organizations.
Non-discrimination: BHESP will aim to provide relevant, evidence-based, accurate, consistent, well-presented peer education and information in a non-judgmental, empathetic manner that acknowledges sex workers, WSW, women using drugs, and bar hostesses as the experts
Accountability: BHESP will continue to be accountable to the people and communities they serve, and to donors, through prudent use of financial and non financial resources, and transparent reporting of finances and activities while seeking to post a positive impact of the organization’s efforts.
The following are the key objectives of BHESP:
Serve as a focal organization and voice for sex workers, WSW, women using drugs and bar hostesses
Provide sex workers, WSW, women using drugs and bar hostesses with information and linkages to services on key issues affecting them
Promote self and behaviour change among sex workers, WSW, women using drugs and bar hostesses
Strive for justice and welfare of sex workers, WSW, women using drugs and bar hostesses and support them to claim their rights
BHESP will realize its objectives through:
Employing thorough analysis to recognize problems and best solutions, while using derived conclusions to advocate for an influence policy change.
Actively participating in relevant forums and convening meetings that bring together all stakeholders.
Working closely with clients in the search for practical and efficient solutions to their challenges.
Building the capacity of its internal human resources to effectively deliver on programs.