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 of households 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 Botswana Multi-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 that the most dominant social safety nets programmes in rural areas include amongst others Rural Area Development Programme (RADP), Poverty Eradication Programme, Livestock Management and Infrastructure 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, vulnerable group 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 at lower proportions compared to rural areas and urban villages, includes school feeding, disability package 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 by strata 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 at 87.9%, 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 Botswana’s 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 child‘s 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.
With the advent of COVID-19, mental health and psychosocial has become a major concern around the world. There is significant increase in the rates of stress, anxiety and depression globally.
In creating awareness and support on mental health and psychosocial support, the Ministry of Local Government & Rural Development, through the Department of Social Protection (DSP) hosted a virtual regional mental health and Psychosocial Support Forum (MHPSS).
The MHPSS Forum brings together stakeholders from different sectors providing Mental Health and Psychosocial Support services particularly to children, youth, families and the workforce, as well as Academia, International Cooperating Partners, Community Implementing Partners and the media.
It aims to facilitate learning, information exchange and advocacy to promote mainstreaming of Mental Health and Psycho-Social Support (PSS) into policies, programmes, services and funding priorities for children and youth in Botswana.
The event is a partnership between The Ministry of Local Government & Rural Development, through the Department of Social Protection (DSP), and the Regional Psychosocial Support Initiative (REPSSI), with Project Concern International Botswana (PCI) and Marang Child Care Network Trust (MCCNT).
The event is held every two years, and Botswana started hosting the Forum in 2014. The theme for this year is ‘Innovate, Integrate, Thrive,’ which prompts us to find new ways to survive the COVID-19 pandemic which we can mainstream into our daily activities.
The Northern Regional Forum in Mahalapye was held on 17-19 August 2021 while the Southern Regional Forum in Ghanzi, was from 21-23 September 2021. Findings from both regions will be presented at the National Forum to be held in Kasane on 12-14 October 2021. The event is held in collaboration with local authorities in each region.
The event is structured in this manner: The first day is a Special Session for Children, where children in the region will talk about the challenges they face that affect their mental health, how they cope and what they think can be done to support them.
The second day is the official opening where the lead ministry gives a keynote address, and presentations from service providers in the region. The third and last day is abstract presentations from different speakers on thematic areas under the theme.
The Southern African Science Service Centre for Climate Change and Adaptive Land Management (SASSCAL) in collaboration with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) will hold a Hybrid GMES and Africa Regional workshop from 27 – 29 September 2021, at Safari Hotel in Windhoek, Namibia.
The Global Monitoring for Environment and Security and Africa (GMES & Africa) Initiative is a programme formed out of mutual cooperation between Africa and Europe with a focus on Earth Observation (EO) systems.
It was formed to respond to the global need to manage the environment, understand and mitigate the effects of climate change and ensure civil security by providing information to policymakers, scientists, private sector and the public. GMES and Africa aims to promote development of local capacities, institutional, human and technical resources for access to and exploitation of Earth Observation (EO) based services on an operational basis for sustainable development in Africa.
In its first phase, GMES has funded 13 consortiums in Africa. In Southern African, SASSCAL-led consortia is implementing the Wetland Monitoring and Assessment Service for Transboundary Basins in Southern Africa (WeMAST) Project while CSIR is leading the Marine and Coastal Operations for Southern Africa (MARCOSouth). SASSCAL Members of the consortium include the University of Botswana, University of Zambia, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, University of the Western Cape and Midlands State University, South African National Space Agency (SANSA) and the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) of Zambia.
CSIR led consortium includes ABALOBI, Benguela Current Convention, Coastal Oceans Research and Development in the Indian Ocean, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, National Sea Rescue Institute, University of Dar Es Salaam, University of Eduardo Mondlane and the Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association).
The workshop will also provide an opportunity to promote and encourage mutual exchanges in terms of sharing best practices, knowledge and experiences as well as allow for the exchange of information and knowledge on new and innovative Earth Observation technologies developed under the programmes and their alignment with the region’s sustainable development strategies.
The workshop will also reveal trends in the use of earth observation data to monitor and assess wetland conditions, threats to sustainable utilisation of wetland resources as well as updating stakeholders on how climate change variability and drought is continually affecting Sub-Saharan Africa’s surface water resources.
The workshop’s envisaged outcomes will be to ensure shared knowledge and understanding of the new and innovative Earth Observation technologies, and their application to society. Expected to visit is a broader pool of international delegates from the two continents (Europe and Africa) both physically and virtual.
This includes the member countries policy makers, line ministers from the SADC countries, public and private sector stakeholders, implementers, Basin Commissions, researchers, and any other stakeholders whose activities are related to coastal areas, rivers, and their ecosystems.
Some vendors have been misled Vendors thrive on households goods and fresh produce
Despite the previous false allegations that the Tobacco Control Bill will lead to several 20 000 vendors across the country losing their jobs, several local vendors have expressed that they are ready for the bill and because vendors sell mostly household goods
“This is something that we openly accept and receive as street vendors, the problem is some of our counterparts were misled and made to believe that we will not be allowed to sell cigarettes on our stalls.
Some of us got to understand that the bill states that we have to be licensed to sell cigarettes, we are not supposed to sell them to children under the age of 18 years of age and eliminating the selling of single sticks. We understand that this agenda is meant to develop a healthy nation but not take us down,” said Mbimbi Tau a vendor who operates from Mogoditshane.
The Tobacco Control Bill has been passed in several countries and street vendors are operating properly without any challenges faced. Tau further mentioned that there is no way that the Tobacco Control Bill will affect their business operations, all they have to do as vendors are to get the required documentation and do what the bill requires.
Another vendor Busani Selalame who operates from Gaborone Bonnington North was not shy to express his support towards the Tobacco Control Bill, “the problem is that some people within our sector have been misled and now they think that the bill is meant to take our operations down and completely stop selling cigarettes.
I support the fact that we are not supposed to sell cigarettes to children who are under the age of 18 years of age this has always been wrong, as parents we should be cautious of such and ensure that our children are disassociated with cigarettes,” said Selalame.
The Tobacco Control Bill prohibits advertising, promotion and sponsorship by the tobacco industry to prevent messages, cues, and other inducements to begin using tobacco, especially among the youth, to reassure users to continue their use, or that otherwise undermine quitting.
Renowned economist Bakang Ntshingane is of the view that since vendors sell household goods and fresh produce they are likely to keep on making profits despite what the Tobacco Control Bill comes with. He further stated that the Tobacco Control Bill will not be of harm on the local economy since the country does not manufacture or produce any tobacco related products.