LGBTQI+ Economies of Support
Tags: LGBTQIA, Queer, HIV
The gap between those who openly seek healthcare services and those who don’t due to fear of stigamisation and discrimination keeps increasing. These forms of disparities cause communities of people living below the poverty line to remain at most risk of contracting HIV based on practices of sex exchange for money and/or food, adding to HIV prevalence. This is especially true given the economic challenges faced by individuals following the Covid-19 period. So how can we utilise on the model of a sharing economy or Economic Commons, as presented by blockchain technology and community building, to mitigate the serious consequences of sexual abuse and exploitation?
Answer: By educating ourselves and empowering each other on the reality of creating a supportive and inclusive Economic Commons, as is the case with Malindi Desire Initiative's voucher (MDI). The Malindi Desire Initiative community created digital voucher on a blockchain called MDI redeemable for their collective goods and services. They have understood the concept of mutual commitment and support enough to integrate the acceptance of their MDI Vouchers inorder to encourage those infected and affected by HIV to actively and openly seek healthcare services.
The LGBTQI+ Community is Abundant but cash is not.
Integration of CIC-Vouchers into Healthcare Provision
In addition to offering members an opportunity to access committed products and services like eggs, pastries, counselling, motorcycle rides, and others, the current circulating pool of 11,039 MDI vouchers offers supporters and well wishers the opportunity to ensure continued HIV/STI related services such as: outreach, counselling, education about HIV prevention, safer sex practices, PrEP uptake, and HIV testing to the wider community.
Source: Sarafu Network Dashboard
Tweets by @DesireMalindi reveal their journey towards owning their community currency voucher as individual members to ensure financial inclusion, as seen below. Caption: Privileged to mark this #transpride day by creating our own community currency voucher called MDI that would mean we are financially included despite what happens to Kenyan Shillings.
Next Steps We’re partnering towards the engagement of more LGBTQI+ groups who want to further their impact by embracing a financial inclusion tool that will fulfil their shared agenda of economically empowering all members. We aim to connect with those who agree or support in one way or another the need for community sensitization to achieve economic and health empowerment. Given the fact that an Economic Commons is a community activity that can be inclusive, relationships forged between humanitarian organisations and local communities allows for capacity building in ensuring overall inclusivity through more participation by the wider community, through the use of MDI vouchers. For example, MDI vouchers can be redeemed as payment for available goods and services from those who seek for HIV Testing Services (HTS) related services during outreach activities. In this case, increased participation will minimise the stigma that comes with openly seeking HIV related services.
Implementation Malindi Desire Initiative will continue to integrate their community inclusion currency (MDI) sensitisation into HIV/STI testing, prevention and management education, as well as counselling by offering these services in exchange for MDI Vouchers that can be redeemed during Market Day activities. This opens an opportunity for capacity building by more CIC issuing CBOs who engage in Income Generating Activities (IGAs) such as with poultry farming like Malindi Desire Initiative. Empowering group members with business development tools such as entrepreneurship training programs, funding, and mentorship will require us to forge new relationships through engaging in networking activities both on ground and online. As worthy investments for any CBO, these long term financial inclusion solutions can help solve problems of financial insecurity, as they encourage openness in seeking much needed HTS services.