Promoting inclusion, fighting injustice
AIDS-Fondet funds and supports CEDEP in promoting social inclusion of sexual minorities and reducing social inequality and injustice experienced by the same minorities.
This is mainly done through advocating on various platforms to relevant stakeholders.
The aim is to raise awareness and garner support for sexual minorities’ rights in communities and at government level.
Through the programme CEDEP offers support to:
- strengthen advocacy capacities of non-government networks and institutions in the promotion of sexual orientation equity
- build the capacity of sexual minorities in order to increase participation in public and private decision-making spheres
- advocate for the repeal of discriminatory laws against sexual minorities in Malawi
CEDEP was established as a human rights organization in 2005.
It works to address the needs and challenges of minority groups whose rights are often neglected – Lesbians, Gays, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex (LGBTI).
CEDEP works through:
- advocacy and lobbying
- civic education
- capacity building
- providing support services for minority groups
In 2022 CEDEP had eight offices covering 15 districts in Malawi – partly through a corps of almost 600 volunteer, LGBTI peer educators.
AIDS-Fondet and CEDEP
AIDS-Fondet’s relationship with Centre for the Development of People (CEDEP) goes back to 2008 and we have collaborated on several shorter projects.
In 2022-2025 we have partnered for a second phase of a partnership funded by CISU (Civil Society in Development) – as a core partner in our programme for Malawi and Uganda – that started in 2019.
The overall programme purpose across four partners in the two countries is to reduce incidences of HIV among Key Populations with a primary focus on sex workers, men who have sex with men, and transgender persons.
Stories from CEDEP
Homosexuality is illegal in Malawi, punishable by up to 14 years in prison, although prosecutions were suspended in 2012. Nevertheless, a police officer may still prosecute someone involved in same sex acts under the provision that they are ‘breaching the peace’. The LGBT+ community continues to experience assault, arbitrary arrest and detainment at the hands of the police, often without legal basis.
LGBT+ people may also be arrested if their sexual orientation is exposed when seeking healthcare, causing many to shun HIV and other sexual health services. In addition, stigma and violence from members of the public is unfortunately commonplace in Malawi
Human rights abuses are common
A 2016 survey of around 200 men who have sex with men found that 39% had experienced human rights abuse in some form, including 12% who had been raped. Stigma and violence experienced by key populations, linked closely to their criminal status under Malawian law, often prevents these groups from accessing HIV testing, prevention and treatment services.
17.5% of Malawian men who have sex with men reported being afraid to seek healthcare of any kind
2018 video by Human Rights Watch on Malawi’s laws prohibiting consensual same-sex relations that foster a climate of fear and fuel violence and discrimination.
Stigma and discrimination
A report by Human Rights Watch in which 45 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people were interviewed found evidence of routine discrimination and stigma in healthcare settings, coupled with high levels of abuse and violence in everyday life, meant many LGBT people did not seek HIV services and treatment.
HIV-related stigma is also an issue. In Malawi’s 2015/16 national HIV impact assessment survey, 11% of adults held discriminatory attitudes towards people living with HIV. Those with low levels of education were significantly more likely to hold such attitudes.
All of these factors create a hostile environment that increases vulnerability to HIV while limiting the ability to access HIV prevention and treatment services.
High-risk behavior is also common in the LGBT+ community, including having multiple sexual partners, inconsistent condom use and exchanging sex for money. It is estimated that around 55% of men who have sex with men do not regularly use condoms (Malawi National AIDS Commission, 2015).
Funded by Civil Society in Development
AIDS-Fondet’s support for and collaboration with CEDEP is funded by Civil Society in Development (CISU) in Denmark – through the Civil Society Fund – from 2022 to 2025. It is the second phase of funding for a programme that began in 2019 and encompasses four organisations in Malawi and Uganda.
The Civil Society Fund is an independent support facility financed by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and run by CISU.
The ministry prescribes the general criteria for awarding grants based on the decisions of the Danish Parliament regarding Danish development cooperation.
The overall amount of the Civil Society Fund is appropriated annually in the Danish Finance Act (Finansloven).
Read more about CISU by clicking the logo.