Bridging the Gaps Between Community Partners

Listen to our latest podcast about this convening in Siem Reap. Moderated by Nicholas Diamond, Consultant at MPact Global Action for Gay Men’s Health & Rights, with interviews from Samuel Matsikure of GALZ and Doan Thanh Tung of Lighthouse.

This October, MPact convened leaders and advocates from eight community-based organizations from Africa, South East Asia and Central Asia to reflect back and continue to build on the last few years of Bridging The Gaps-funded sexual health and human rights programs in these regions. The three-day meeting held in Siem Reap, Cambodia was a timely opportunity for our partners to conduct a retrospective review of their work at its mid-point and brainstorm ways to maximize impact. MPact will further deepen its presence in Botswana, Indonesia, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe in the next two years as part of the Dutch Foreign Ministry-funded project in partnership with these eight organizations.

By creating opportunities for peer exchange, feedback and learning, our partners were able to hone their strategies for addressing sexual health, human rights, organizational development and movement building in their respective contexts.  The agenda allowed participants to talk about entry points to link their local needs with global-level action, to develop approaches for more effectively building technical skills among their organization’s leaders, and to engage in practical exercises on self-reflection and self-care.

The process helped us each identify and acknowledge our successes, challenges and lessons learned from recent years. MPact and its partners committed to using the findings from this meeting to course correct and refine the Bridging the Gaps project for better impact, collaboration and sustainability in the coming years.  Together we articulated a set of priorities and challenges to work on going forward as well as key opportunities for leveraging peer exchange and MPact-led technical support.

As we began our journeys back home from Siem Reap, the unfolding news of threats against the LGBT and sex worker communities in Tanzania stood as a stark reminder and just another example of the fact that our work is far from finished. MPact and its partners closed the meeting by reiterating our shared sense of solidarity, and by renewing our energy to continue to build and make progress.  Together, we have developed an exciting body of work in sexual health, advocacy and human rights for 2019 and 2020.

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