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The third edition of the LGBT festival, Awawalé, took place this weekend of May 13 in Abidjan. Côte d’Ivoire is one of the countries on the continent where homosexuality is not penalised, but it is still stigmatized within the population. The NGO Gromo, which organizes this festival, wants to warn about the socio-economic vulnerability of LGBT people.
A concert, short films, clothing and jewelery stands… the Awawalé festival is not just a party, it is also a diversified program over two days.
The objective, explains the executive director of the NGO Gromo, Brice Donald Dibahi, is to promote the know-how of LGBT people and living together: “ The first day, we have the LGBTQ visibility conference. After the conference, we have the trades exhibition where we promote the know-how of our community. The exhibition serves to promote the talents of the members of our community and to promote the young entrepreneurs that there are in our community to also show our know-how. We bring more to the development of our country. We bring added value to the emergence of this country. »
Unlike other NGOs defending LGBT rights in Côte d’Ivoire which mainly focus on the health component, Gromo first defends the financial empowerment of LGBT people.
” You can’t be gay and poor, it doesn’t go together. We know that economic power is a very important issue in emancipation, we can see that. So if you work, you have a good job, you are able to help the family, you have respect. In the African community, that’s it. When you have financial independence, you can live your sexual orientation in Abidjan “Said Stéphane Djédjé, doctoral student in anthropology and consultant for the NGO.
According to a study carried out by the NGO, 70 to 80% of LGBT people have been victims of homophobic acts in the Ivorian capital.