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Gov’t urged to advance Comprehensive Sexuality Education in schools

Various statistics point to a need for quality Comprehensive Sexuality Education in Botswana. Botswana Council of Non-Governmental Organizations (BOCONGO) says the prevalence of HIV/AIDS amongst young people is said to be a concern and has been attributed to a lack of comprehensive knowledge about HIV/AIDS and safe sex.

According to archives, in 2018, over 90% of people living with HIV/AIDS knew their status, over 83% were on free antiretroviral treatment, and 81% of people living with HIV/AIDS were virally suppressed. BOCONGO appreciated government for putting together various programmes and policies which contributed towards reaching these figures.

The communities; Acting Together to Fight HIV/AIDS, the New National Strategic Framework on HIV/AIDS III 2018-2023, played an active role in the fight against HIVE/AIDS and related opportunistic diseases.

However, the civil society says a Youth Risk Behavioural Surveillance Survey, focusing on students between 10 and 19 years, and carried out in 145 schools across Botswana, shed light on some critical issues, which need to be addressed immediately.

Of the students surveyed, 20.5% had had sex. Most of these (19.1%) said they were sexually experienced and reported having sex for the first time before the age of 13. In 2013, Botswana together with other countries committed to providing CSE and sexual reproductive health to adolescents and young people. The report compiled by the Civil Society indicates that this included efforts to curb new HIV/AIDS infections amongst youth and reduce early and unintended pregnancies.

The report says, the school environment was identified as a convenient place to do these efforts. By 2020, participating countries were to increase the number of schools and institutions offering CSE to 75%. If met, it has been said that this goal could usher in a new era of well-educated and healthy youth, knowledgeable on matters of their sexuality and health. However, it remains to be seen how countries are performing both individually and collectively, the report said.

The report acknowledges that Botswana has made progress in some areas. Botswana recently passed a law raising the age of consent from 16 to 18, in line with the Children’s Act. In their report, BOCONGO says that the junior secondary education curriculum was revised to include CSE. Although this has been met with mixed feelings, many Civil Society Organizations, hailed this as a step in the right direction. Nonetheless, the civil society says there is room for improvement, particularly at the basic education level.

One of the main challenges, it highlights, is lack of appropriate, age-specific study material and proper training for teachers on Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE). The intergenerational gap between most teachers and students has also made it difficult for teachers to reach out and discuss issues of CSE. Cultural issues, such as treating any talk of sex as taboo, further complicate this, the report indicated.

The group urges government to consider a more comprehensive approach to CSE commitment, revising the curriculum to adopt age-specific CSE material and pedagogies at different levels of education. It says teachers should be trained on CSE delivery and government should step-up partnerships with CSOs for the delivery of CSE outside of the classrooms.

BOCONGO is a Non-Governmental Organization established in 1995 to serve as the national umbrella organization coordinating the work of NGOs in Botswana. It strives to strengthen the visibility of NGO’s contribution to inclusive development and promote their collaboration with other actors for effective policy influence.



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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