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CEDEP under CISU-Improving the Lives of Transgender People in Malawi project funded by AIDS FONDET organized training workshops for Health Service Providers (HSP) and Law enforcers. The two trainings were conducted concurrently for two days at Linde Motel in Mponela, Dowa district from 22nd June to 23rd June, 2018. The facilitators of the training were from Gender Dynamix trainers from South Africa. Gender Dynamix is the first African based organization solely focusing on the transgender community.

The HSP team comprised of health officers from the following departments; General Nurse, Sexual and Reproductive Health, Clinical Officer and Mental health from the project implementing districts namely; Mangochi, Mzuzu, Blantyre and Lilongwe. The Law Enforcers team comprised of Police, Victim Support Unit, Social Welfare (Gender Officers), Immigration Officers and some of the LGBTI Organizations. The objectives of the two trainings were; to impart skills and knowledge to the service providers in order to be providing transgender friendly services and to bring about change in the attitudes of service providers towards transgendered people.

The facilitators at law enforcers’ side dwelled much on the laws that protect the rights of everyone at workplace, changing gender mark, and unfair dismissal regardless of sexual orientation. The officers were also trained on how best they can provide their services to the trans community without violating their rights such as, at the airport, the immigration officers should ask the person who to search them rather than assuming based on their appearance.

On the HSP training, the officers were trained on the following areas; Gender Affirming Health Care, Gender Affirming Hormone Therapy, effective communication and counselling.

I thank CEDEP for organizing and inviting us to this training, I have been trained on things I was not aware of, the challenges that the transgender people face and now I have a better understanding of what we need to do to help fellow Malawi. To my fellow health officers, we have to treat these people equal as any human being and provide health services that we give to everyone regardless of sexual orientation”, said one of the Health Officer

The participants also recommended CEDEP on several interventions that the organization is conducting in protecting the rights of Sexual Minorities and promised to work hand in hand by providing friendly services to the trans community. To add on, the facilitators appreciated CEDEP for inviting them to be part of the trainers, and assured to come again once contacted.

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