The National Gender Commission (NGC) held a two day capacity building workshop in Gaborone which concluded on Friday. The mandate of the NGC is to influence government to priorities issues relating to gender and development including gender mainstreaming, gender equality and governance. The objective of the workshop was to create space for members of the said commission to gain more knowledge and skills to effectively deliver on their mandate. It therefore capacitated attendees to facilitate the development of relevant strategies for gender mainstreaming and integration across all the sectors that were represented on the day.
While officiating at the workshop, Minister of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs Edwin Batshu said Botswana government continues to recognize gender equality as central to sustainable development. “As such deliberate effort to address gender gaps in various areas is an ongoing process,” said Batshu. He said the workshop marked another day on which the commission was achieving a milestone where members of the commission were being equipped with knowledge and skills to empower them to efficiently deliver on their obligation. “I expect that at the end of this capacity building exercise, members of the commission will have gained extensive insight into the international, regional and national gender frameworks and policies. That they will have increased knowledge, understanding as well as sharpened their skills on gender mainstreaming, human rights, lobbying and advocacy,” said Batshu.
He said in July some members of the commission went for a benchmarking exercise in South Africa from which they have brought a wealth of knowledge that will enhance their work. Batshu said they discovered that there are clear differences between the two countries commissions. “South African Commission for Gender Equality is a structure that is constituted with an Act of parliament whereas Botswana’s is developed through a Cabinet directive. Theirs is an autonomous structure which is independent from government whereas ours is within the government structure. Furthermore theirs has been established with a clear budget allocation whereas ours is serviced by the Gender Affairs Department as its Secretariat,” he revealed.
NGC was formed in September 2016 and comprises of 16 members from various sectors including government, parastatal, private sector and civil society organizations. Balete Paramount Chief Mosadi Seboko is the current chairperson of the commission. Members of NGC represent the sectors as per the prioritized areas of the National Policy on Gender and Development. The commission is expected to facilitate participatory monitoring and evaluation of the policy implementation, promote and strengthen democracy and enjoyment of human rights nationwide as well as monitor the country’s progress towards gender equality and ensure that gender equality is safeguarded. “My ministry has made an effort to facilitate the commission to effectively deliver on its mandate. NGC started work in February 2017 and I am pleased to know that they will soon be developing their strategic plan,” said Batshu. The expectation going forward is that NGC will brief Batshu periodically on progress in the implementation of the National Policy on Gender and Development so that his ministry can find ways to close identified gaps.