The Wise Up program works towards the Socio-economic empowerment of sex workers through alternative IGA cooperatives. Currently Timeret Lehiwot Ethiopia in partnership with DKT Ethiopia in the Wise Up program is working vigorously towards the social and economical advancement of sex workers through the establishment of cooperative societies.

Wise Up has so far helped in the establishment of 92 sex workers’ cooperatives societies and self help groups engaged in different income generating activities (IGAs).

All have legal recognition from government body and are organized under Cooperative Societies Proclamation 147/1998, implementation of Cooperative Societies 106/2004 and Cooperative Societies Amendment Proclamation No. 402/2004.

Wise Up Sex Workers’ Cooperatives and Self Help Groups

The cooperatives gained technical follow up assistance from Wise Up ranging from awareness creation & experience sharing to providing temporary operational area & initial capital, as well as assistance in formulating their bylaws and internal rules.

The main objectives of the Wise Up cooperatives,

  • Improving the economic status of sex workers’ cooperatives
  • Developing self confidence, self reliance & entrepreneurial performance of sexworkers’ cooperatives
  • Improving the living standards of sex workers
  • Minimizing and reducing the individual impact of risks and uncertainties whileforming cooperatives


Increased saving and develop income generating activities


Identification of cooperative societies, Provide capacity buiding programs, Provide techinical assistance.


Reduce number of sex workers


To enable sex workers achieve finical independence and reduce their vulnerability to HIV

Wise Up Sex Workers’ Cooperatives and Self Help Groups

Self Help Groups (SHGs)The composition of SHGs entirely consisted of Female Sex workers who have taken peer to peer education and then life skill training. Because the nature of sex workers’ toil is highly susceptible to HIV and other Sexually transmitted diseases, many sex workers exhibit high interest in engaging in other alternative income-generating activities. Aspiring for a better life and change in their life path many have started saving by respecting their self help groups’ governing bylaws.
They also meet every week and discuss their common issues and seek solutions to their problems. And most of the SHGs have now started to believe in their new ventures and are in the process of transforming their groups into cooperative with the help of Timre Lehiwot and the local small and micro enterprises government teams.

Timret Lehiwot has helped them by providing seed money, different trainings, supportive supervision, and technical self-reliance and also by linking them with the responsible local government offices.

To empower FSWs economically as part of the comprehensive HIV prevention intervention among the MARPs so that they are able to reduce vulnerability to HIV.

Organize motivated and relatively less mobile FSWs who have participated in Peer to peer education in to SHGs and provide technical support till they work on their own.