Changing Faces, Changing Spaces Conference: CFCS VII Call for abstracts/Appels a propositions CFCS VII

Calling all  activists and advocates for the human rights of African sex workers and LGBTIQ communities including artists and story tellers. 

1 week left for submissions of abstracts for  the 7th Changing Faces, Changing Spaces Conference (CFCS VII) which  will be convened from 19th to 21st June 2019.


The 7th Regional Changing Faces, Changing Spaces Conference (CFCS VII)

19th-21st June, 2019.

Call for submission of conference abstracts

UHAI EASHRI is pleased to announce that the 7th Changing Faces, Changing Spaces Conference (CFCS VII) will be convened from 19th to 21st June 2019. CFCS is a pan- African biennial convening that brings together human rights activists, funding partners, health and legal professionals, allies, undertaking and supporting sex worker and LGBTIQ activism in Northern, Southern, Eastern, Western and Central Africa, to discuss issues pertinent to our movements.

CFCS conference is intentionally planned as a safe, creative and facilitative space for African activists to strategise, network, plan and reflect on achievements and challenges within our movements. CFCS is organised by pan-African sex worker and LGBTI activists who volunteer their time and form a CFCS planning taskforce to conceptualise, vision and plan for the conference including determining the conference theme, agenda and selecting abstracts that inform the programme. The theme for CFCS VII is: ‘Visibility…Voice…Freedom.’

 This theme is inspired by the perceived collective aspirations of the sex worker and LGBTIQ movements on the continent as hinged on our shared identity as African.

VISIBILITY as communities that claim our existence in all our African glory,

VOICE as citizens who have the right to speak, to be heard, to be listened to as the pathway to inclusion,

FREEDOM to be. Freedom to flourish. Freedom from discrimination, stigma and violence. Freedom in both the ideological and literal sense of the word.

The conference marks UHAI’s 10th anniversary. As such, abstracts are invited that track or include a reflection on developments over the past decade and speak to the next decade of organising on the continent. It is envisioned as an exchange forum in which we can navigate and negotiate, discuss and discover, create and correlate strategies informed by national, regional and continental movement experiences.

Your abstract…

We seek panel-based abstracts as well as proposals from artists, story tellers, poets, performers and those that seek to share innovative and non conventional approaches that seek to inspire shared learning. In a collective African space such as CFCS, how do we situate our perceivably singular experiences within our collective identities as African? We highly encourage submissions from those organising in rural and peri urban settings as well as intersex and trans identifying activists.

We invite submission of abstracts for either a) individual presentations as part of a thematic panel; b) proposals for an already constituted panel1 representative of a variety of in country, regional or continental organising backgrounds and organisations; or c) artistic expression that speak to any of the 6 identified thematic areas.


All abstracts must reflect consideration and engagement, of one or more of the intersecting contexts of :

  1. Politics: in particular the politics of religious and cultural fundamentalism;
  2. Power: Who is it that determines? Who is at the table? What are the tables?;
  3. Identity: This should include reflections of situating our LGBTIQ and sex worker identities as situated and located in our African-ness and what does/could that look like in the context of continental movement building? Solidarity?;
  4. Sustainability: This could interrogate resourcing both in terms of financially as well as with bodies. Particularly given the high levels of migration that are currently being experienced within the LGBTIQ and sex worker movements in Africa;
  5. Patriarchy…beyond the ideological to how it is rooted in and manifests as violence;
  6. Coloniality: How our lives and being sexualised and gendered continues to be shaped by experiences and ideas of former colonization that permeates current regulation, policing, naming and shaping what is insisted as sexuality and gender in


 For many LGBTIQ and sex worker identifying Africans access to health care remains an unrealized ideal that comes attached to stigma and discrimination based institutional violence. Inclusion of our communities in health discourse is typically limited to a Key Populations framing. Yet even then, there exists a hegemonising of our identities and an exclusion of some communities within these spectrums whose health needs are often deemed of lesser importance. How do we ensure that programming reflects the narratives of communities affected but not defined by HIV? Whilst discussions on HIV continue to remain relevant, this theme seeks to also engage discourse and shared learning that considers mental health, safe transitional practices for trans identifying individuals particularly when access to affordable, qualified and non discriminative medical care remains a luxury. How can we utilize positive developments in the various fields to progressively shift discourse on access to health for transgender and intersex Africans? How can we reframe or innovate discourse on sexual reproductive health for African LBQ women, trans identifying individuals and sex workers? How can we attain increased and all-inclusive access to comprehensive competent health care including but beyond HIV? What strategies can we employ that ensure health based interventions are tailored to targeted communities and not incentivised by hegemonic tick box approaches to our inclusion?

Submissions under this theme are also invited to facilitate shared learning on community driven mitigation, co-creation of strategy and linkages between documentation or tracking of community experiences on policy change.1 Given the limitations of resources as well as the intention to include as much widespread representation in the conference, we are unable to support participation by proposed panels that do not represent thematic, contextual or organizational variety.As such some proposed panels may be invited to nominate one or two people if selected.


Historically narratives about the LGBTIQ and SW communities on the continent are either of deviants and invisible citizenry with our lived struggles paraded as spectacles and threats to normative society on one part. On the other part there tends to be the framing of our movements as poor, wretched, victimised and thus in continuous need of salvation. These narratives manifest in extraction, exploitation and often with little consideration of the blow back on our movements. Where are the stories on our resilience? Pleasure? Freedom? Our various realities articulated as unattached to agendas in which we play no part determining? What are useful strategies for harnessing and engaging media and inculcating no harm as a guiding principle. How do we create alternative media? How do we use film, spoken word, theatrical performances and dance as part of advocacy? What is it to be African in our identities and in stories about us?

Submissions under this theme are expected to innovatively speak to ownership, custodianship and accountability of our narratives. Along with the intersecting concepts mentioned above, abstracts may be from all types of story tellers including but not limited to academicians, journalists, poets and artistes. Submissions are expected to facilitate discourse on collecting, archiving and disseminating community owned narratives, strategies for creating allies within media and subverting existing narratives. Proposals for workshops, panel based presentations and performances are encouraged.


Over the past decade there have been various shifts in the legal and policy landscape as pertains to civil society organising whilst disproportionately targeting and affecting LGBTIQ and sex worker activism at national, regional and continental levels. Punitive discriminatory laws continue to exist and governments continue to push back against civil society organising as well as the recognition of LGBTIQ and sex worker Africans at national and continental spaces. Litigation gives visibility to our issues on one hand but can/has fueled discrimination on the other. What does it mean that litigation has also fuelled discrimination? Who drives decisions for and how is community engagement ensured for litigative strategies? How can we effectively push back against adaptive governments that continue to innovate ways to impede human rights organising even further?

Submissions under this theme ideally interrogate strategies for addressing building continental agenda at the ACHPR including but not limited to the implementation of Resolution 275. Submissions facilitate shared learning on lessons over the litigative developments of the past decade as well as utility of existing mechanisms and legal strategy such as strategic litigation on associated human rights are encouraged. Proposals on how to enhance the trickle down effect of legal advocacy to the community at grass roots level are encouraged.

Theme 4:EM – POWER – MENT

What does our ‘power’ look like in our livelihood as sex workers and LGBTIQ people in Africa? Where does our ‘power’ lie? Who determines what we do or ought to do, who we are or ought to be, where and how we live or ought to live, how we have sex or ought to have sex, with who, why? Who says? Why do they say? Do we hold the power? if not who does? why? How does power shift between spaces? why? As African LGBTIQ and sex workers, our identities are often used as a tool for our dis-em-’power’-ment. Access to tools that could restore or enable em-’power’-ment are largely an ideal rather than a reality because aside from these identities, as Africans we continue to exist in countries that generally do not prioritise the em-’power’-ment of citizens. For our collective movements, this also manifests in continental divisions based on geography and language that affect how we do or don’t resource, build collective agenda in continental spaces and access shared learning. How then can our communities navigate and negotiate our enhanced literacy, knowledge, and capacity? How do/can we innovate our access to our own sustainability in ways that challenge the narrative of our marginalization? How do/can we innovate access to resources including but not limited to financial.

Submissions are invited to facilitate discourse on economic empowerment for our communities. Abstracts with a sex worker focus could speak to strategies of balancing and visibilising recognition of sex work as work in the context of supplementary income generation that effectively counter the disproportionate narrative of sex work as an act of limitations in choice as in the context of trafficking. Submissions are also invited to facilitate discourse on various ways in which harmful practices within our communities such as body shaming can be replaced with affirmation in ways that recognize and honor the connectivity of our lived realities. Proposals for workshops and co learning sessions are encouraged.


The common thread across our countries on the continent in spite of existing or absent criminalizing legislation is our disproportionate vulnerability to violence dismissed by largely apathetic governments. There is continued aggression and surveillance by governments against civil society organising and individuals who self identify as LGBTIQ and sex workers. Religious, and cultural fundamentalism; and forced militarization are used insistently as justification. Ineffective mechanisms for state accountability result in continued lack of access to justice Furthermore, lack of state protection has meant that sex workers and LGBTIQ people seek refuge and safety in other countries thereby drastically increasing levels of migration and mobility on the grounds of sexuality and gender on the African continent, and between Africa and other continents of Europe, Latin America, Asia and the United States of America. LGBTIQ people and sex workers are constantly facing danger, harm, arbitrary arrests and detention in Africa and in exile whilst seeking refuge and/or under asylum. This is hard. What does a responsive adaptive security strategy look like in this context?

This theme seeks to inspire shared learning on holistic security practice that address physical and digital security, mapping the evolution of violence over the past decade, shared strategies on sustainable, community led protection of Human Rights Defenders.


As some countries become increasingly hostile as well as economically volatile, activists are forced to migrate in order to survive. Forced displacement is one of multiple by products of criminalisation of LGBTIQ and sex workers on the continent. Often times members of our communities are forced to migrate from their countries with no guarantee of safety, better quality of life and protection in the countries they may flee to….within and without the continent. Globally windows for migration and asylum are closing due to right wing governments’ hostile stance on immigration. This has serious ramifications for the movement of people inter and intra continentally, particularly movements that are grounded on sexual orientation and gender identity and sex work. Submissions under this theme are invited to what does it mean to move from one hostile context to another and how do we create synergies and collaboration between movements in the home countries and activists in exile.

Submission guidelines

  • The deadline for submission of abstracts is 2359h EAT on 27th January 2019.
  • Fill the attached abstract submission template and send via email as a word document to

Submissions may be in Swahili, English, Arabic, French or Portuguese.

  • When submitting your abstract kindly put the applicable thematic area as the subject line in the
  • There is a strict word limit for abstracts synopsis of 250 words for panel or individual presentations. There are no specific limits for proposals for artistic submissions including but not limited to descriptions of intended short films, paintings or drawings and/or
  • Selected abstracts will be notified by March 2019.
  • Chosen abstracts may be asked to submit additional information on their abstracts as well as be available for online meetings with moderators of

Dates to look out for.

  • Abstract submission deadline 27th January 2019
  • Notification of task force abstract selection by March 2019
  • CFCS conference 19th-21st June 2019.

Submission template

Thank you for your interest in participating in CFCS. Send this completed form with the title of your selected theme as the subject line of your email to

Submission deadline is 23.59 EAST AFRICAN TIME on 27th January 2019.


Email address:


Gender identity:

Sexual Orientation:

Other Identity :

Do you identify as a sex worker?

Are you intersex?

Country of Origin:

Country of Residence:


  • How did you come to learn of CFCS?
  • Have you attended CFCS before?                        
  • If yes what year/s?
  • Have you or your organisation developed any relationships with other organisations/funders in previous CFCS convenings?

Yes/No         Collaboration       Funding      

 What conference theme does your submission relate to?

  1. Access to comprehensive and competent health care  
  2. Our stories retold
  3. Political and legal landscape: shifts and statistics
  4. Em-POWER-ment  
  5. Safety and security
  6. Migrating movements

 Which of the following intersections are reflected in your submission?

  1. Politics
  2. Power
  3. Identity
  4. Sustainability
  5. Patriarchy
  6. Coloniality

What is the mode of delivery of your submission?

  1. Contribution to a panel
  2. Part of an already constituted diverse panel
  3. Interactive exhibition or installation
  4. Artistic performance ( spoken word, play, musical performances, story telling)
  5. Short film with interactive session
  6. Shared learning offering/interactive lecture/talk

ABSTRACT SYNOPSIS (Max 250 words include information on community focus e.g. LGBTIQ? Sex worker? urban, peri urban or rural organising?)