Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Botswana’s gender initiatives showcased internationally

The Botswana Police Service (BPS)’s television progamme, Itshireletse, recently received international recognition as it was presented to gender associations from other SADC countries as an initiative to assist fight gender-based violence offenses in partnership with the community.
The programme is a docudrama aimed at educating, informing and entertaining the nation on issues concerning GBV. It’s said to be produced internally by members of BPS.

Although it didn’t win any award, BPS submitted its project for the Gender Justice and Local government summit awards (GJALGSSA) that were held in Johannesburg during the last week on March.
The awards, which are a partnership between Gender Links and the gender justice and local government summit, were the first ever of their kind.

Awards were given to five women and four men whose programs and work on the ground won the highest accolades from judges and participants. Six women and three men were runners up, while three men and women got special commendations.

According to Kebonye Ntsabane, Co-ordinator of Gender Links Botswana, the summit is important for SADC because a lot of the projects that were presented could be replicated in other countries as a way of combating gender based violence. She said that a lot of work was done to prepare contestants before the summit. Gender links had to visit different places such as New Xade, Ghantsi to observe the participants’ projects firsthand.

“The projects had similarities to the initiatives by different councils to combat gender violence.Councillors as politicians have been silent, watching issues concerning gender inequality from the sidelines, and we decided that it was time they got involved. As we all know, politicians have influence on changing the mindset of a society, “said Ntsabane.

A Motswana woman, Rachel Jeremia’s life skills program to increase development amongst women in Sowa has impressed Gender Links groups from different African countries.

Jeremiah, a representative of Sowa Town Council (SCT) ‘s project shows how ‘STC has provided women residing in the mining town with skills, knowledge and opportunities to reduce their dependency on their male partners.

Jeremiah’s program was chosen as a good example of how town councils can build programmes to address gender violence, skills development and create economic opportunities for women.
According to one of the judges at the summit, University of Botswana lecturer, Maude Dikobe the contestants were presenting the projects that they had already started on the ground.
“The main question concerning the projects bought forward was, if they could be replicated as ways of combating gender based violence in other SADC countries, “said Dikobe.

Dikobe said that she was impressed with Batswana participants’s efforts to share the work they have been doing with other countries. She said that prior to departure, the participants also gave presentations to gender links as a way of preparing for the presentations.

“The summit was a much needed step in the right direction for combating gender violence although there is still room for improvement on Botswana’s part. In my opinion we should introduce those awards to Botswana so that we pick the best representatives on a national level before we compete with other countries, “said Dikobe.

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The Telegraph September 23

Digital edition of The Telegraph, September 23, 2020.