CORRIDORS Project :
The CORRIDORS project is being implemented by KHPT since 2006 and covers the geographical areas of Bagalkote, Belgaum and Bijapur (3 B) in Karnataka and Sangli, Satara and Solapur (3 S) in Maharashtra through the support of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF).This cross-border/ inter-state project was conceived as there was a strong body of evidence suggesting movement of a large number of sex workers back and forth along this “corridor” from parts of rural northern Karnataka to urban southern Maharashtra and onwards to Pune and Mumbai.
The project is working in the following geographic areas: three districts of northern Karnataka (Bijapur, Bagalkot and Belgaum), three districts of southern Maharashtra (Sangli, Sholapur and Satara), and two large urban centres of Maharashtra (Mumbai and Pune), which are major destination places for Karnataka migrants. In all six districts, the project is rapidly scaling up programs and services for HIV and STI risk reduction for female sex workers and their sexual partners, and for high risk MSM. In addition, a special feature of this project is to reduce the HIV and STI vulnerability of migrant FSWs through special programs at the origin and destination points of migration, and by enhancing the social cohesion of FSWs within this geographic zone. In addition to working in these 6 districts, our team is working closely with implementers in Mumbai and Pune, which are also important destination points for migrant FSWs from northern Karnataka, to enhance their programs and services for migrant FSWs.
The programme coverage in Sangli and Satara prior to 2006 was approximately 1000 FSWs and 200 MSMs which was scaled up to 2519 FSWs and 903 MSMs. At the same time, the programme coverage in Sholapur prior to 2006 was approximately 800 FSWs which was scaled up to 2525 FSWs and 800 MSMs.
Objectives, strategies and interventions
The project has four main objectives: to reduce the transmission of HIV and STIs in the context of female sex work in Bijapur, Bagalkot and Belgaum Districts; to reduce the transmission of HIV and STIs in the context of female sex work in Sangli, Sholapur and Satara districts; to reduce the migration-related vulnerability of migrant rural female sex workers from northern Karnataka at both the migration source and destination locations; and to reduce the transmission of HIV and STIs among high risk men who have sex with men (MSM) in all six “Corridor” districts. There are three major strategies for the program i.e. risk reduction, vulnerability reduction and preparation for potential migrants. While risk reduction and vulnerability reduction will happen at the destination points (DP) as well as points of origin (PO), preparation for migration will take place only at PO.
Clinical services were established through a network of static clinics and outreach clinics which provided clinical services. Along with clinical services advocacy, creating enabling environment, awareness and campaigns about rights of FSW/MSM/TG were also taken up during these years. The hallmark of this programme is that all leadership positions have been community based since the inception with non- community members sourced only for technical and documentary support.
The programme could form 4 CBOs viz Veshya AIDS Muqabala Parishad in Sangli, Muskaan in Sangli, Kranti Mahila Sangh in Solapur and Dostana in Solapur. Out of these 4 CBOs, 2 CBOs viz Veshya AIDS Muqabala Parishad in Sangli and Kranti Mahila Sangh in Solapur are strengthened enough to implement TI projects independently. Veshya AIDS Muqabala Parishad is implementing 3 TI projects in Sangli since April 2010 and Kranti Mahila Sangh is implementing 2 TI projects in Solapur since April 2011.
Out of 8 TI projects in Maharashtra, 7 TI projects 3 FSW TIs in Solapur, 1 MSM TI in Solapur, 2 FSW TIs in Sangli and 1 composite TI in Satara) have been successfully transitioned to MSACS with effect from 1st April 2012. KHPT through the support from BMGF, will keep providing post-transition support to these TI.