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Over 57 % of households in Botswana benefit from social nets programs

An estimated 387, 503 households in Botswana out of 669, 429 receive either one or more safety net packages from Government as a way of cushioning them against either poverty or harsh effects of low income living standards.

This has been revealed by a social safety net statistical brief (stats brief) released by Statistics Botswana this week. The stats brief gives estimates on households that received government transfers in the form of social safety nets, based on data collected in the third quarter of 2019 through the Quarterly Multi-Topic Survey.

The safety nets module was primarily included to give estimates on the number of households that benefited from safety nets and other government programmes. A total of 3, 240 households were sampled, yielding 669, 429 households after weighting. Households were asked if they have received any assistance from programmes covered under the safety nets module, taking into consideration that one household could receive more than one safety net package.

The results showed that 57.9% (387, 503) of the households received either of the social safety nets packages. Of the recipient households. 55.9% were female headed, while 44.1% were male headed households. This is consistent with all poverty survey results conducted in the country in the past, which indicated that poverty was more prevalent in female headed households compared to male headed households.

The results further indicated that the school feeding programme covered a larger proportion ofhouseholds at 41.1%, followed by vulnerable group feeding, old age pension and Ipelegeng at 23.7%,15.9% and 14.9% respectively, displaying a similar pattern of coverage observed in the BotswanaMulti-Topic Household Survey (BMTHS) of 2015/16.

Further data decomposition by domains/strata revealed that social safety nets interventions are dominant in the rural areas as compared to urban villages and cities/towns. Analysis by Statistics Botswana revealed that the proportion of Social Safety Nets (SSN) beneficiaries in rural areas was 68.3%, followed by urban villages and cities/towns at 58.9% and 40% respectively.

The results further showed thatthe most dominant social safety nets programmes in rural areas include amongst others Rural AreaDevelopment Programme (RADP), Poverty Eradication Programme, Livestock Management andInfrastructure Development (LIMID), Destitute Persons Programme and Ipelegeng at 90.8%, 81.8%,60.8%, 60.1%, & 58.7% respectively.

The Community home based package, school feeding, vulnerablegroup feeding and disability package allowance are more prominent in urban villages at 47.7%,46.7%, 44.2% and 40.1% respectively.

The dominant programmes in cities/towns, although atlower proportions compared to rural areas and urban villages, includes school feeding, disabilitypackage allowance, vulnerable group feeding and orphan care programmes at 16.1%, 15.3%, 12.1%and 11.2% respectively.

Analysis of households that benefited from various components of the orphan care programme bystrata indicated that from the total number of households that received the orphan care package,the food basket including the toiletries component covered a larger proportion of households at87.9%, followed by school uniforms, educational support and casual clothing components at 44.1%,40.8%, and 28.4% respectively.

According to the Social Protection Sector Review (World Bank and BIPDA, 2013), the targeting mechanisms vary for each programme, some programs are universal (orphan care, needy students, school feeding, OAP, Veterans), categorical (VGFP), means-tested (destitute persons, CHBC) and self-selection (Ipelegeng).

Currently Botswanas safety net packages are School Feeding Program, orphan care program , vulnerable groups feeding program , Ipelegeng , community home based care , destitute persons program , remote area development plan(RADP) amongst others.

With school feeding program, students are provided with breakfast and lunch, according to the Social Protection Sector Review. The students receive a meal equivalent to 1/3 of a childs daily nutrition needs and it consists of samp, beans, sorghum meal, beef, stew, vegetables, fruits, tea, and agricultural produce amongst others.

Under the Orphan Care Program, Botswana opted for a narrow definition of orphans as defined in the 1999-2011 Short-term Plan of Action on Care of Orphans which posits that an orphan is a child under 18 years who has lost both parents if they were married, or one parent in the case of single-parent families.

The program was introduced in 1999 and it is one of the largest assistance programs in Botswana designed to respond to the needs of orphaned children such as food, clothing, shelter, education, protection and care. The beneficiaries are not means-tested, as the program is open to all orphaned children.

The Vulnerable Groups Feeding Program (VGFP) was introduced in 1988 with the aim to distribute meals and nutritional supplements to people who are vulnerable to under-nutrition.
The program provides monthly home rations through clinics to vulnerable children aged 6-60 months, pregnant and lactating women, and to tuberculosis (TB) and leprosy patients from poor households. The ration consists of Tsabana, Malutu, beans and sunflower oil.

The Remote Area Development Plan (RADP program was originally financed projects meant to benefit marginalized communities in remote areas. After its evaluation which was approved in 2010, it now focuses on community led developments, creation of sustainable livelihoods systems and an affirmative action program for disadvantaged groups

Destitute Persons Program was established in 1980 with the aim to assist those who have no other source of support. Beneficiaries are means-tested through assessments conducted by social workers. The Village and Ward Development Committees and other local authorities or institutions at times assist in identifying potential beneficiaries prior to these assessments.


Pep Stores donates sanitary towels to Popagano JSS

26th May 2023

The Guidance and Counseling unit at Popagano Junior Secondary School received a donation of 790 sanitary towels from Pep stores on Thursday.

When presenting the donation, Mareledi Thebeng, the Dinokaneng Area Manager, highlighted their belief in giving back to the community, as their existence depends on the communities they serve. Thebeng pointed out that research indicates one in four girls miss school every day due to the lack of basic necessities like sanitary towels. Therefore, as a company, they strive to assist in alleviating this situation. She expressed hope that this donation would help ensure uninterrupted learning for girls.

Upon receiving the donation on behalf of the students, Charity Sambire, the President of the Student Representative Council, expressed her gratitude. Sambire specifically thanked Pep Store for their generous gift, speaking on behalf of the students, especially the girl child.

She conveyed their sincere appreciation for Pep Store’s compassion and quoted the adage, “Blessed is the hand that gives.” Sambire expressed the students’ hope for Pep Stores’ prosperity, enabling them to continue supporting the students. As a gesture of gratitude, the students pledged to excel academically.

During her speech, Motlalepula Madome, the Senior Teacher in Guidance and Counseling, highlighted that many students at the school come from disadvantaged backgrounds where parents struggle to provide basic necessities. Consequently, some students miss school when they experience menstruation due to this lack.
Madome emphasized the significance of the donation in preventing the girl child from missing lessons and its potential to improve the school’s overall results. She expressed the school’s gratitude and expressed a desire for continued support from Pep Stores.

Popagano Junior Secondary School, situated in the Okavango District, holds the second position academically in the North West region. Despite its location, the school has been dedicated to achieving excellence since 2017

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Botswana misses out critical PAP committee meeting

23rd May 2023

The Pan African Parliament (PAP) committee on gender, family, youth and people with disability in its sitting considered, adopted and recommended to the plenary session the preliminary report on the framework for the model law on gender equality.

According to the last week’s media release from PAP which is sitting with its various committees until June 2nd,  the committee is following up the PAP initiative to draw up a model law on gender equality to enable national governments to harmonize, modernize and standardize their legislations to address local needs is set to be discussed in Plenary.

However, what is concerning is the fact that Botswana which is a member state missed the deliberations. Kgosi Mosadi Seboko who sat in the committee representing Botswana has since been ejected by parliament and this is a huge blow for a nation that is still battling equity and gender balance.

“Although PAP has no legislative powers it makes model laws for member states to adopt. PAP also develops protocols to be ratified by countries. The input of countries at Committee state is extremely critical. It now means the voice of Botswana is missing the discussions leading up to development of protocols or model laws,” said one of Botswana’s representative at PAP Dr. Kesitegile Gobotswang who is attending the current session.

While Botswana is missing, the committee meeting took place on the sidelines of the Sixth PAP second ordinary Session being held under the African Union Theme of the Year for 2023, “The Year of AfCFTA: Accelerating the Implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area” in Midrand, South Africa and will run up to 2 June 2023. Chairperson of the Committee, Hon Mariam Dao-Gabala expressed satisfaction with preliminary processes undertaken so far towards the formulation of the Model Law,” a release from the PAP website reads.

“The law should be suitable to all countries whatever the predominant culture or religion is. The aim is to give an opportunity to women to participate in the economic, political and social development of the continent. Women are not well positioned and face a lot of obstacles. We are introducing the idea of equity in the Law because we cannot talk about equality without equity,” said Hon Mariam Dao-Gabala in the press statement.

The release has stated that among issues to be covered by the Model Law is the migratory movements of women. The Committee proffered that this has to be addressed at the continental level to ensure that migrant women enjoy all their rights and live with dignity in their destination country. The members of the Gender Committee undertook consultations to consolidate the contributions of the various stakeholders that will be the logical framework format for the Model Law.




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BDP MPs demand review of Ministers performance

22nd May 2023

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) backbenchers were left frustrated when State Minister Kabo Morwaeng failed to furnish them with reports from various ministries at a party retreat held last month.

The two-day retreat of BDP MPs at Notwane Farms was held to discuss the implementation and progress of government projects in line with the party’s 2019 general elections manifesto, in order to assert themselves and press the President to take action against ineffective members of his cabinet. They believed that the laxity of these members could cost them the elections next year.

To accomplish this, the party had requested that each ministry submit their reports to the State Ministry, as it was the most senior ministry. These reports were expected to be assessed at the retreat to evaluate service delivery and the implementation of the party manifesto.

The ministries submitted their performance reports to the Ministry as agreed, but Masisi and the MPs did not have the opportunity to review them. This was the main agenda of the retreat, but when it commenced, and many were anticipating the reports, they were nowhere to be found.

“Minister Morwaeng told us (MPs) that he forgot to prepare them, and as a result, there was nothing to discuss. He said he would share those reports in our WhatsApp group. To us, that was an insult because it is a very serious matter, and we needed to discuss it and see which ministry is failing and how it can be assisted to ensure that service delivery is met,” revealed one MP to WeekendPost.

Reliable sources have informed this publication that one of the reasons why the reports were not shared is due to the poor performance of the State Ministry. It is said that the Minister decided not to share the reports because it would portray him as incompetent, especially since President Masisi was present and seeking suggestions from MPs.

It is understood that the Ministry of Lands and Water Affairs, as well as the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, performed well, while the Ministry of Health and the State Ministry performed poorly.

The MPs are primarily concerned about the lack of correlation between the ministries’ recurrent and development budgets.

“You would notice that in some cases, a ministry would spend their recurrent budget accordingly, but when you look at their development expenditure, it is at 15 percent. That’s the money that should ensure that people receive services and amenities, and we wanted to advise ministers to communicate with bureaucrats to address this,” added the MP.

Without the reports, and with the expected agenda now in tatters, it is said that President Masisi asked MPs to come up with suggestions on how to win public confidence to secure victory in the next elections. It was at this point that backbenchers asked President Mokgweetsi Masisi to crack the whip on ineffectual ministers who had failed to fulfill their mandates. MPs expressed their concerns to the President, particularly regarding the state of affairs at the hospitals.

“There is a serious shortage of medicines and personnel in our areas, especially in rural areas. We have been complaining about this situation for some time, but there seems to be no change,” one MP told WeekendPost.

“The state of our roads and infrastructure is in disrepair. What irks us the most is that we have been complaining about these things for some time, but there has been no change. We demand progress.”

The issue of poor delivery and the significant deficit in the ruling party’s election promises is so severe that President Masisi had his ministers sign performance agreements and annual performance plans. The President effectively read them the riot act, informing them that they would be fired if they continued to fall short in delivering on their mandates.

He told journalists at a press conference that he recently had a serious engagement with Minister of Health Minister Dr. Edwin Dikoloti and Assistant Minister of Health Sethomo Lelatisitswe regarding the deplorable state of affairs at public health facilities.










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