Thailand’s national network for women sex workers, the EMPOWER Foundation, was awarded the 2008 Red Ribbon Award by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the United Nations Joint Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).
The UN laurel is presented every two years to 25 international organizations that show dedication and community leadership in addressing issues surrounding HIV/AIDS. EMPOWER Foundation was announced as one of its recipients on 10 June, 2008 – one of five groups awarded the ribbon in the Asia Pacific.
On announcing the EMPOWER Foundation as a recipient of the award, UNDP and UNAIDS said that they had received 550 nominations from 147 countries. Recipients of the award were recognized by a technical review committee of experts and were selected for their innovative programs, sustainability, community inclusion, gender sensitivity and strategic partnerships. In addition to the prestige associated with being awarded a Red Ribbon, the EMPOWER Foundation received $5000.
In addition to undertaking outreach and engaging in policy based advocacy, the EMPOWER Foundation has undertaken peer-led activism using a variety of unique strategies including: