The negative effects caused by Survival International’s campaign on the reputation of Botswana abroad, especially in Britain, could have been mitigated if the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had been more proactive in countering the slights by the London based Non Governmental Organisation from early days.
This was said by Ms Dawn Parr, a British national, hired last year by government of Botswana to engage SI in London.
Parr was in Botswana this week as part of a delegation of football luminaries sent to Botswana by the English Football Association.
Survival International is waging an international campaign on behalf of Basarwa, relocated from the Central Kalahari Game Reserve by the government of Botswana.
Parr joined the fray on the side of government last year, when it became clear that government was fighting a losing battle.
She told Sunday Standard that, as a result of her campaign, SI no longer gets prime coverage from the British leading media outlets like it used to.
She said her strategy has been to follow SI to every place where they picket and issue pamphlets countering their claims.
“They no longer get the kind of publicity they used to get,” said Parr.
She said her strategy is simple.
“I refute every wrong thing they say about Botswana and then proceed to give facts.”
She said she hoped to see her contract through.
She has just finished her first year service of a three year contract.
Parr said more and more decision makers in the United Kingdom, especially politicians are now on Botswana’s side.
She said she is working hard to convince the few that still support Survival International.
“The best way is to bring the people into Botswana, especially at the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, so that they could see for themselves the good things that the government of Botswana is doing for Basarwa,” she said.
She, however, conceded that Botswana has suffered some damage, especially in Britain as a result of the SI campaign.