Previous research conducted by VU University Amsterdam in conjuction with HOYMAS and KESWA supported by AIDSFOND revealed that close to all economic empowerment projects carried out in Kenya targeting male and female sex workers have failed so far. The design of the project is based on academic research with male and female sex workers in Kenya . A pilot study which was testing a new method of community-led economic empowerment was designed in and carried out in 2015 with 20 male sex workers (at HOYMAS), under the auspices of the VU University Amsterdam and executed by HOYMAS. It was highly successful since 80 % of the participants (all very hard-to-reach members of society) were able to improve their individual economies (and still are) within the pilot project period of 3months. This has enabled many of the young men to avoid risk behaviour –such as unsafe sex, improve their health situations and enhance their living conditions and that of their (extended) families. The key to success turned out to be threefold: 1) the awareness on belief systems guiding individual decision-making on money (i.e. money logics); 2) the multi-tiered and tailor-made guidance structure –instead of the common one-size fits all; and 3) long-term supervision and peer mentoring. The time has come now to scale-up this project to help 50 more male sex workers in Nairobi with improving their livelihoods, health and social positions, and enhance their spaces for constructive choice-making. This will also enable us to develop a model, not just for further expansion in Nairobi but also for duplication elsewhere in Kenya (and around the world). 10 participants from the pilot project will each act as mentor for 5 new participants, and a big part of the budget will go to a revolving loan, which circulates in phases. All this contributes to making the project cost-effective and sustainable in the long run.
The project is a community designed and led economic empowerment program, which is based on the different money logics of the target groups, hence the name ‘Money Logics’. Money logics are the belief systems that inform all our practices that relate to earning, saving, investing and spending money. Some money logics are detrimental to economic stability and growth, others enhance these. The program trains members to understand the difference and act accordingly, it also trains them in skills needed to achieve individual life plans (broken down in annual plans), and it is organised as a mentor and peer-support project. Successful members from previous projects will guide emerging groups and these groups also act as support groups so that guidance, peer support and expert supervision create a multi-levelled, diverse and long-term but cost-effective support system for participants. It trains the target group, i.e. male sex workers in small groups of 5to create spaces of trust and openness.It gradually and steadily guides all participants to embark on different income generating activities and follow through on their own annual plans to improve their economic situations. The project is designed in such a way that all participants are supervised according to their individual needs.
The project will train, counsel and guide the participants in a long-term trajectory so that they can make tangible steps towards fulfilling their annual plans. The training is based on their particular money logics that govern their daily practices with regard to money, and it is tailor-made to match the needs, skills and guidance each individual participant requires to achieve the goals set in their long- and short-term plans.
For the last one week,Hoymas has been offering Money Logic training to its members.The main goal of this training is to build skills,knowledge, planning personal income and planning expenditure for our community.
Some of the topics covered are;
-Dealing with expectations and pressure
-Income and expenses
Preparing a budget
-Lending and Borrowing
-Personal development plan