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Wise Up

Wise Up


Wise Up is a nationwide HIV prevention program targeting sex workers, their clients and other most targeting sex workers, their clients and other most at-risk populations (MARPs). at-risk populations (MARPs). It is funded by DKT Ethiopia and implemented by Timret Lehiwot Ethiopia. It is aimed at expanding HIV prevention services among sex workers and their clients. This is planned to be made happen by bringing HIV prevention services to venues associated with transactional sex so that we can reach sex workers and their clients and address the underlying factors, like limited access to condoms and other information and services that go hand-in-hand with HIV transmission.

Sex workers training, condom promotion events, drop-in centers service provision, stakeholder meetings, trainings for police officers and establishment owners are among the major activities and services launched by the program to prevent HIV/AIDS. Recognizing that many women and girls rely on transactional sex because they have few alternatives for making a living, the program also incorporates income generating activities. The program operates in 28 Cities found in all regions of the country.

Program Goal

To reduce the transmission of HIV/STIs by increasing condom use among sex workers and clients.


  1. Increase the percentage of sex workers who practice safe sex by promoting the use of condoms and by providing HIV prevention information, commodities and services.
  2. To increase the percentage of venues that maintains stocks of condoms.
  3. To increase the % of venue owners, managers, and other gatekeepers who advocate correct and consistent condom use.
  4. To increase the percentage of sex workers that access reproductive health, STI, HCT, ART, psychosocial, and economic support services.
  5. To Empower sex workers to improve their condom negotiation skills and power (economic empowerment)
  6. Improve Networking & Capacity Building for Sustainable HIV Prevention Programming for adults and young people engaged in transactional sex.

Primary Target Groups – Female Sex Workers (FSWs)

Due to their high HIV prevalence, to their increased ability to transmit HIV when co-infected with other STIs and to the broad population groups they reached through their clients, sex workers (SWs) have often been described as most at-risk and hence are the main targets of the program.

Other Target Groups:

There are other MARPs specific for regions, districts, towns, urban centers or rural hotspots within their own peculiar features.

Identified during mapping and situational analysis are:

  • Mobile Workers
  • (Daily Laborers, construction workers, seasonal workers including factory and commercial farm workers)
  • All drivers including taxi and truck drivers, tour car drivers, and long distance transport drivers
  • Civil servants and others who spend good portion of their time away from home
  • Mobile merchants
  • In School Youth (aged 15-24) (enrolled in secondary school and/or tertiary level education including vocational and technical colleges and universities
  • Uniformed Services (aged 18-45) include members of national defense forces, federal and regional police officers, and federal and regional prison administrations. They stay away from home for long time and most of them are single.
  • Inmates (prisoners).

Project Implementation Sites

Tigray (Mekelle, Axum, Alamata, Adigrat and Shire), Amhara (D/Markos, B/Dar, Gondar and Dessie) Afar (Awash40), Oromiya (Dukem, Adama, Assela, Shashemene, Robe, Wolliso, Jimma and Nekempte), SNNPR (Hawassa, W/Sodo, Arba Minch and Mizan) B/Gumuz (Assosa), Gambella (Gambella town), Dire Dawa, Harari (Harar), Somali (Jigjiga), Addis Ababa (5 DICs). A total of 32 DICs found throughout the country.

Major Program Activities

  • Establishing/Strengthening of drop-in centers and provide services for sex workers,
  • Conducting Training for sex workers
  • Conducting outreach activities
  • Distribution of different IEC/BCC and promotional materials
  • Conducting Training for other vulnerable groups
  • Conducting bi-monthly condom promotion events
  • Conducting by-monthly coffee ceremony sessions for sex workers in DICs to share experiences
  • Conducting Safer life campaigns (in both A.A & All Regions)
  • Opening of Condom Sales Spots
  • Conducting orientation workshops for establishment owners and managers
  • Establishing referral system and referring clients to health facilities for appropriate services (HCT, STI, FP etc) Conducting Life Skill Training & Establish Self Help Group at DICs
  • Provision of Business Development Service Training for the SHGs
  • Provision of  Seed Money for Self Help Groups
  • Conducting sensitization workshop for Law Enforcement/Police officers
  • Conducting orientation workshops for health facility workers
  • Bi-Annual Stakeholders meetings
  • Provision of  basic literacy/numeracy skills in DICs
  • Provide Scholarship program for sex worker

Program Strategies

  • Capacity building and skill Training
  • DIC Service provision
  • Community Wide Events
  • Distribution of IEC and promotional material
  • Condom promotion and social marketing
  • Economic Empowerment
  • Peer-to-Peer Networking
  • Formation of Social Support Groups
  • Networking and referrals

Major Partners

  1. DKT Ethiopia
  2. DFID
  3. Nikat Women Association
  4. UNFPA
  5. Pact Ethiopia
  6. JHU-Tsehai
  7. Designlab
  8. Sewgna
  9. Rotary and Rotaract Clubs
  10. Federal & Regional HAPCOs
  11. Music Mayday Ethiopia (MMET)
  12. Chilanchil Children and Youth Development Organization
  13. Atronus Art Studio and Gallery
  14. Arbol Studio
  15. Sheger FM 102.1

Achievements made so far

  • Around more than 7000 stakeholders and bar owners sensitized
  • Approximately16,000 Sex Workers trained on HIV/STIs
  • Approximately 1.5 million IEC/BCC materials distributed
  • 21 Sex Workers Cooperatives and 8 SHGs formed
  • 350 mass events organized
  • Altogether, more than 4 million people addressed

Award and recognitions

  • Best health program award district 9200, Rotary International,2009
  • Best Cooperatives Award, Rotary International, 2009
  • Red Ribbon Award: 18th World AIDS Conference, Austria, Vienna
  • Poster Exhibition “ Invisible Theater”: 17th World AIDS Conference, Mexico
  • Poster Exhibition “Condom and Kerosine” : 18th World AIDS Conference,  Austria, Vienna
  • Poster Exhibition “Sex Work and Law Enforcement in Ethiopia” : 19th World AIDS Conference, USA, Washington DC
  • And Many more awards and recognition from Federal and Regional Government Bureaus

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