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Ministry of Education neglects comprehensive sexuality education

Sexuality Education

Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) is not teaching school going children how to have sex, according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO’s International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education, “Comprehensive sexuality education is a curriculum-based process of teaching and learning about the cognitive, emotional, physical and social aspects of sexuality.”

However, with Batswana being a conservative nation, issues around sex and sexuality have been considered a taboo, immoral and never to be discussed by children with their elders, hence the reluctance to mainstream CSE into the Botswana school curriculum from primary to senior secondary school.

Despite the inherent need for CSE, Botswana has not yet adequately incorporated it in school curricula. As the 2015 UNESCO assessment of CSE revealed; CSE is not integrated in teacher training (pre-service) but is offered in in-service training of teachers.

Furthermore, critical topics such as relationships, human development, sexuality and sexual behaviours, sexual and reproductive health were missing in the school curriculum rendering it inadequate to meet the CSE standards.

During an interview, Programme Specialist (Youth) Kefilwe Koogotsitse from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) explained that, “Botswana has a national CSE for out-of-school youth manual which was developed in 2018, what remains to be done is creating partnerships with civil society organisations to implement it and ensure that all young people are reached with CSE at community level.”

According to the ESA Commitment, member countries of East and Southern Africa (including Botswana) pledged to ‘step up efforts to ensure adolescents’ and young people’s access to good quality CSE and youth-friendly SRH services in the ESA region, and to work in partnership with young people, parents, civil society, and community and religious leaders to achieve the goals set out.’

However, Thatayaone Gabositwe of the Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) African Trust is of the notion that Botswana is yet to make the transition from teaching life skills to CSE as it is only through CSE that children will learn the complexities of sexuality.

Gabositwe further emphasised that for CSE to be properly implemented the teachers must be extensively trained for them to unlearn prejudices surrounding sexuality brought about by our socialisation as Batswana. He commended the Ministry of Health and Wellness for their active participation regarding meeting the conditions of the ESA commitment and encouraged other government departments to get on board.

With children as young as ten year olds falling pregnant it is a clear indication that the sexual activity debut age is disturbingly low. Desmond Lunga, team leader of Men and Boys for Gender Equality blames the notion that if children are not taught about something they will do it.

Lunga states that they support the implementation of CSE primarily because with the multiple sources of information it is only right for the youth to get properly packaged age appropriate information through the education system. He believes CSE could also mould the attitudes of men in the future seeing as schools are the breeding places for gang rapes colloquially known as ‘streamline’ therefore through CSE they will understand better issues of consent.

The benefits of CSE include the improvement of young people’s knowledge and attitudes related to SRH behaviours, a delay initiation of sexual intercourse, reduced number of sexual partners and frequency of sexual activity, increase use of condoms and contraception and contributes to gender equitable attitudes and confidence and self – identity. It also increases communication with parents and their children on sexuality, rights awareness and self-efficacy.

As it is in Botswana, according to Koogotsitse, “Implementation of CSE for in and out of school youth has not reached all adolescents and young people in Botswana. Few teachers have been trained, therefore the majority of schools are not offering CSE to learners. Indicators on SRH and HIV have stagnated.” When reached for comment regarding CSE implementation the Ministry of Basic Education failed to provide information and was, “Still awaiting information from the various sources.”



Masisi to dump Tsogwane?

28th November 2022

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and some senior government officials are abuzz with reports that President Mokgweetsi Masisi has requested his Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane not to contest the next general elections in 2024.

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African DFIs gear to combat climate change

25th November 2022

The impacts of climate change are increasing in frequency and intensity every year and this is forecast to continue for the foreseeable future. African CEOs in the Global South are finally coming to the party on how to tackle the crisis.

Following the completion of COP27 in Egypt recently, CEOs of Africa DFIs converged in Botswana for the CEO Forum of the Association of African Development Finance Institutions. One of the key themes was on green financing and building partnerships for resource mobilization in financing SDGs in Africa

A report; “Weathering the storm; African Development Banks response to Covid-19” presented shocking findings during the seminar. Among them; African DFI’s have proven to be financially resilient, and they are fast shifting to a green transition and it’s financing.

COO, CEDA, James Moribame highlighted that; “Everyone needs food, shelter and all basic needs in general, but climate change is putting the achievement of this at bay. “It is expensive for businesses to do business, for instance; it is much challenging for the agricultural sector due to climate change, and the risks have gone up. If a famer plants crops, they should be ready for any potential natural disaster which will cost them their hard work.”

According to Moribame, Start-up businesses will forever require help if there is no change.

“There is no doubt that the Russia- Ukraine war disrupted supply chains. SMMEs have felt the most impact as some start-up businesses acquire their materials internationally, therefore as inflation peaks, this means the exchange rate rises which makes commodities expensive and challenging for SMMEs to progress. Basically, the cost of doing business has gone up. Governments are no longer able to support DFI’s.”

Moribame shared remedies to the situation, noting that; “What we need is leadership that will be able to address this. CEOs should ensure companies operate within a framework of responsible lending. They also ought to scout for opportunities that would be attractive to investors, this include investors who are willing to put money into green financing. Botswana is a prime spot for green financing due to the great opportunity that lies in solar projects. ”

Technology has been hailed as the economy of the future and thus needs to be embraced to drive operational efficiency both internally and externally.

Executive Director, bank of Industry Nigeria, Simon Aranou mentioned that for investors to pump money to climate financing in Africa, African states need to be in alignment with global standards.

“Do what meets world standards if you want money from international investors. Have a strong risk management system. Also be a good borrower, if you have a loan, honour the obligation of paying it back because this will ensure countries have a clean financial record which will then pave way for easier lending of money in the future. African states cannot just be demanding for mitigation from rich countries. Financing needs infrastructure to complement it, you cannot be seating on billions of dollars without the necessary support systems to make it work for you. Domestic resource mobilisation is key. Use public money to mobilise private money.” He said.

For his part, the Minster of Minister of Entrepreneurship, Karabo Gare enunciated that, over the past three years, governments across the world have had to readjust their priorities as the world dealt with the effects and impact of the COVID 19 pandemic both to human life and economic prosperity.

“The role of DFIs, during this tough period, which is to support governments through countercyclical measures, including funding of COVID-19 related development projects, has become more important than ever before. However, with the increasingly limited resources from governments, DFIs are now expected to mobilise resources to meet the fiscal gaps and continue to meet their developmental mandates across the various affected sectors of their economies.” Said Gare.

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TotalEnergies Botswana launches Road safety campaign in Letlhakeng

22nd November 2022

Letlhakeng:TotalEnergies Botswana today launched a Road Safety Campaign as part of their annual Stakeholder Relationship Management (SRM), in partnership with Unitrans, MVA Fund, TotalEnergies Letlhakeng Filling Station and the Letlhakeng Sub District Road Safety Committee during an event held in Letlhakeng under the theme, #IamTrafficToo.

The Supplier Relationship Management initiative is an undertaking by TotalEnergies through which TotalEnergie annually explores and implements social responsibility activities in communities within which we operate, by engaging key stakeholders who are aligned with the organization’s objectives. Speaking during the launch event, TotalEnergies’ Operations and HSSEQ,   Patrick Thedi said,  “We at TotalEnergies pride ourselves in being an industrial operator with a strategy centered on respect, listening, dialogue and stakeholder involvement, and a partner in the sustainable social and economic development of its host communities and countries. We are also very fortunate to have stakeholders who are in alignment with our organizational objectives. We assess relationships with our key stakeholders to understand their concerns and expectations as well as identify priority areas for improvement to strengthen the integration of Total Energies in the community. As our organization transitions from Total to Total Energies, we are committed to exploring sustainable initiatives that will be equally indicative of our growth and this Campaign is a step in the right direction. ”

As part of this campaign roll out, stakeholders  will be refurbishing and upgrading and installing road signs around schools in the area, and generally where required. One of the objectives of the Campaign is to bring awareness and training on how to manage and share the road/parking with bulk vehicles, as the number of bulk vehicles using the Letlhakeng road to bypass Trans Kalahari increases. When welcoming guests to Letlhakeng, Kgosi Balepi said he welcomed the initiative as it will reduce the number of road incidents in the area.

Also present was District Traffic Officer ASP, Reuben Moleele,  who gave a statistical overview of accidents in the region, as well as the rest of the country. Moleele applauded TotalEnergies and partners on the Campaign, especially ahead of the festive season, a time he pointed out is always one with high road statistics. The campaign name #IamTrafficToo, is a reminder to all road users, including pedestrians that they too need to be vigilant and play their part in ensuring a reduction in road incidents.

The official proceedings of the day included a handover of reflectors and stop/Go signs to the Letlhakeng Cluster from TotalEnerigies, injury prevention from tips from MVA’s Onkabetse Petlwana, as  well as  bulk vehicle safety tips delivered from Adolf Namate of Unitrans.

TotalEnergies, which is committed to having zero carbon emissions by 2050,  has committed to rolling out the Road safety Campaign to the rest of the country in the future.

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