e-MPOWER – Partnership to Overcome Challenges of Online Learning and to Empower Youth Actors in the Field of Sexual Health Promotion in the COVID-19 Era

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The response to the COVID-19 pandemic around Europe caused several NGO’s engaged in providing support to vulnerable groups to either completely stop, postpone or adapt their activities. Organisations working with vulnerable populations had experienced extreme difficulties and pressure due to restrictions and sanitary emergencies causing severe limitations of resources to advocate for the needs and rights of those populations. This might have resulted in increased feelings of isolation, helplessness and risks for physical and mental health for their members and users. In such circumstances, building the capacity of young advocates was of extreme urgency, and was challenged by the fact that the task had to be almost exclusively transferred online.



The project focused on adapting in-person training activities for young advocates/activists, offered by organisations working in the field of sexual health (HIV and coinfections, sex workers, LGBTQI+) to the “new” virtual reality, as a consequence of COVID-19.

As a result, a peer-led online training programme was designed and piloted, which provided a platform for exchange between training participants and project partners on best practices to inform future online youth training programmes. The training programme pilot provided participants with awareness and knowledge of sexual health and rights; as well as online safety and digital rights (data protection, privacy issues, censorship) as this is especially relevant for young stigmatised or criminalised populations. During the online trainings, there was also a specific focus on mental health and personal growth; both of which were monitored and assessed during the pilot.

Once the training pilot concluded, a freely accessible online toolbox was created containing project specific and external resource materials that may be useful for youth advocates and/or organisations working in the field of sexual health and human rights, looking to design and deliver an online training programme.


With whom?

The European Sex Workers rights Alliance, ESWA (formerly ICRSE)- network of sex worker organisations and allies supporting the development of national and international law, policy and practice, which respects and upholds the human and labour rights of sex workers throughout Europe and Central Asia.

LEGEBITRA- Local Slovenian LGBTQI+ NGO, offering counselling (including online), active on HIV and sexual health, working with youth.

The project will target young advocates working or volunteering in the field of sexual health, to address the challenges of the key populations (sex workers, people living with HIV, and LGBTQI+ persons).


For whom?

Young advocates:

  • Between 18-30 years of age;
  • Located in an Erasmus+ programme country;
  • Working or volunteering in the field of sexual health;
  • And belonging to at least one of three key populations: sex workers, people living with HIV, and LGBTQI+


What are the project’s results?

IO 1: Needs assessment and recommendations.

The project partners conducted a desk research activity on previous internal trainings and related materials to inform the design of future activities with the needs of the key populations considered.


IO 2: Written recommendations.

Based on the IO1 needs assessment findings, recommendations for conducting trainings online for youth activists were extracted to inform the project training activities.


IO 3: Monitoring & Evalutaion (M&E) Framework.

This document outlines the e-MPOWER training programme monitoring and evaluation framework and provides recommendations for future evaluations of online training sessions. The document is available in English, Russian and Slovenian.


IO 4: Guide for assuring psychosocial well-being during online trainings.

This guide was written as part of the e-MPOWER project and aims to describe the importance of online learning and well-being of youth activists. During the e-MPOWER pilot sessions, we collected data from the participants and the trainers about their psychosocial well-being. The guide presents the data and its analysis, and provide some key guidelines on how to ensure psychosocial well-being during online training. The guide is available in English, Russian and Slovenian.


IO 5: Youth activist training materials online toolbox.

The e-MPOWER online toolbox is publicly available and contains 20 resource materials related to the mental health, sexual health, and rights of people living with HIV, LGBTQI+ communities, and sex workers. It also includes e-MPOWER specific reports with recommendations for delivering online sexual health training, monitoring and evaluating of training content, and assessing the personal impact of such a training on participants and trainers in a way that is mindful of participant psychological well-being and digital safety.


The e-MPOWER toolbox is intended for youth advocates, volunteers, trainers, and those who work closely with youth, who want to deliver an online sexual health and rights training programme.


IO 7: Training programme outline and training materials.

The written training outline and training materials used in the e-MPOWER online training programme pilot are publicly available. These materials may help to inform content of future online sexual health trainings geared towards young people representing the project key youth populations: people living with HIV, LGBTQI+ people and sex workers. Some slides have been omitted to protect the confidentiality of the e-MPOWER trainee participants.


EATG contact person(s):Sarah North –

For questions contact:  Ann Isabelle von Lingen –

Duration of the project/initiative:March 2021 – September 2022
Project/Initiative Leader:EATG
Project/initiative Main Partner(s):ESWA – European Sex Workers Rights Alliance (formerly ICRSE – International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe) (https://www.eswalliance.org/)

LEGEBITRA – Association Cultural, Informational and Counseling Center Legebitra (https://legebitra.si/en/)

Budget:78,398 €
Main Funding Sources:ERASMUS+
Communication Disclaimer:This project has been co-funded by the European Union’s ERASMUS+ programme under grant agreement No 008320.

The content of the project’s publications are solely the opinion of the author(s); The EU Commission and National Agency are not liable for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.

The outputs of the project are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence.

e-MPOWER Youth Activist Toolbox

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