The goal of Suriname Men United is to gain insight into the health and social conditions of MSM, as well as enhance social acceptance and create socioeconomic independence for MSM.
We aim to reach our goals by:
- Carrying out scientifically sound research into the living conditions/social circumstances of our target group;
- Distributing information;
- Initiating, implementing and monitoring a plan of action;
- Contributing towards/assisting in the introduction of legislation banning discrimination;
- Giving information to the Surinamese community and specific groups on subjects of relevance to the target group;
- Promoting/advancing and looking after the personal interests of the target group, with the support of third parties;
- Carrying out all activities considered necessary in promoting the interests of the target group;
- Working together with national and international groups and organizations capable of supporting and further expanding the association’s interests.
Cooperation with Schorer Nederland Foundation
- A need for psycho social care services
- Health messages through the media and internet
- Support groups
- Theme events
- Information and communication materials specifically designed for MSM.
In 2009, the website www.surinamemenunited.com was launched. This was one of the results from our needs assessment, where closeted MSM stated that they like to keep their identity private but at the same time receive health messages through a forum where there privacy is not interrupted. Several theme events and support groups were held to advance knowledge of HIV/AIDS, human rights issues, self-acceptance, and empowerment within the MSM community.
Suriname Men United would like to promote healthy lifestyles, therefore in 2010 and 2011 we hosted a gay aerobathon where MSM and their allies could exercise and socialize. During our last aerobathon, organizations working with MSM could share their work with the community and also share their knowledge regarding HIV / AIDS and other important health and human rights issues.
For the first time in March 2010, SMU participated in an anti – discrimination week. Individuals demonstrated with groups of LGBT people holding signs which displayed messages such as: “Gay is ok” and “No discrimination against LGBT.” This was the first time we took to the streets and paraded to gain attention and awareness about gay rights
One of our major activities was a media campaign to urge two dancehall artists from Jamaica who are known for the homophobic lyrics in their songs to adjust their repertoire. A phone company was going to celebrate their first anniversary with performances by these two artists. Thanks to a very powerful lobbying campaign – where we included both community members and LGBT people, the phone company’s event was successful and free from homophobic lyrics.
In the area of prevention, a group of outreach workers regularly visit gay clubs and other cruising sites to distribute condoms and lubricants. One on one intervention is also a part of these visits.
- The National AIDS program provides both technical and financial assistance.
- Stichting Lobi, which is a family planning and parenthood organization.
- Stichting Maxilinder, nowadays referred to as the Rachab Foundation works with male and female sex workers.
- The Dutch Embassy; we began our work together by organizing a movie and discussing the event on the 10th of December 2010, International Human Rights day.
- In June 2009, The US Embassy invited all LGBT organizations in Suriname to a luncheon celebrating pride month.
- Both the UNDP and UNFPA have involved SMU in projects regarding Human Rights and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights.
- The Tuberculosis Office in Suriname also involves SMU to create tuberculosis free environments for MSM in Suriname.
- CARIFLAGS, which is an LGBT organization that works to strengthen organizations in the Caribbean for Human Rights and Health.
- Caribbean Vulnerable Communities (CVC) which aims to empower the human rights and health status of LGBT people in the Caribbean.
The team of SMU consists of a director, office assistant, 3 board members, 5 outreach workers, a psychosocial care provider, a coach, and a financial officer