Botswana has the third highest HIV prevalence in the world, with 21.9% of the population infected. However, Botswana has achieved tremendous success in establishing the most extensive Anti-Retroviral Treatment program in Africa and attaining the lowest rate of mother-to-child-transmission. While Botswana maintains a higher income level than most African countries, approximately 19.3% of households fall below the poverty line, and it is among the poor that the impacts of HIV are most devastating. Botswana’s successes are under threat by the number of new HIV infections occurring each day, and the burden of care these infections create. Furthermore, it is estimated that approximately 16.7% of children under 18 are either double or single orphans, meaning that they have lost either one or both parents, most commonly resulting from HIV/AIDS or a related illness.
With support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and other initiatives, PCI is supporting the government of Botswana to improve the quality of life and self-sufficiency of vulnerable families in Botswana. PCI believes that communities best understand their own needs, and with the right support, can lead the way in developing appropriate, low-cost solutions to address HIV/AIDS, gender inequity and other challenges. To help communities help themselves, PCI provides its community-based NGO partners with the resources and skills needed to serve as a bridge between government services and households, extend services to where they are needed most, and become more sustainable. At the same time, PCI is helping to create a “safety net” of support for those in need by strengthening partnerships among government, private sector, civil society and communities.
BUILDING LOCAL CAPACITY TO SERVE VULNERABLE WOMEN & YOUTH
In 2011 PCI received funding from USAID for the Tsela Kgopo (“Winding Road”) Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) and Gender Project. Tsela Kgopo contributed to the national agenda of addressing factors that increase the vulnerability of OVC, adolescent girls and women, such as HIV/AIDS, chronic poverty, neglect, exploitation and abuse. The program collaborated with government, universities and other educational institutions, the private sector and Civil Society Organizations to address the needs of OVC and their families with a focus on addressing gender issues. Through community mobilization, the program raised awareness about neglect, exploitation and abuse of children, adolescents and women, and supported communities to take action to address these challenges.
Because of the success achieved in Tsela Kgopo, PCI was recently awarded the 5-year Botswana Comprehensive Care for Orphans and Vulnerable Children project, which will continue to build on its successes achieved in Tsela Kgopo and improve the care and resiliency of OVC and their caregivers in Botswana through comprehensive, integrated, gender-sensitive and evidence-based programming. In addition, local capacity at family, civil society, and government levels will be strengthened for optimal local ownership and sustainable impact.
By facilitating the formation of savings-led, social empowerment groups using PCI’s proven Women Empowered (WE) methodology, PCI/Botswana is supporting new livelihood opportunities for women and adolescent girls. Through this approach, the project seeks to empower women and adolescent girls financially, socially and as community leaders. With Tsela Kgopo as a platform, PCI facilitated the formation of 198 groups, comprised of 2,272 members. Currently, through Barclays WE Legacy, 55 groups have been formed, comprised of 458 members.
YOUTH EDUCATION & EMPLOYMENT
With support from the Barclays Bank of Botswana, PCI is currently implementing the Tweende (Let’s Go!) ReadytoWork program. Tweende seeks to motivate young people to take charge of their lives through the following objectives:
1. Build the skills of young people to prepare for the world of work.
2. Help high-growth entrepreneurs to scale-up businesses.
ReadytoWork provides youth with intensive life skills and entrepreneurial skills development, as well as internship placements to prepare youth for success. Through this program, PCI intends to reach 2,500 youth by July, 2017.
The ReadytoWork program builds on PCI and Barclays’ successful Youth Education and Employment Program which reached 820 youth and young adults in Maun with financial literacy education and entrepreneurship skills development.
RECENT PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS:
Building Local Capacity to Provide HIV/AIDS Support: Through its USAID-funded Building Bridges Program, PCI provided capacity building support to 13 Botswana HIV-oriented CSOs and two umbrella organizations to address gaps in their capacity that undermined their ability to effectively manage and sustain HIV services. Through training, technical assistance, and systems building support, PCI built the capacity of CSO partners in HIV/AIDS technical service delivery, program planning, monitoring and evaluation, financial and HR management and resource mobilization. By the project’s end, the CSOs reached over 13,000 individuals with care and education. Two of PCI’s CSO partners “graduated” to secure direct PEPFAR funding and nine CSO partners increased their funding from non-PEPFAR sources to 40%.
HIV Prevention in the Botswana Defense Force: With funding provided by the United States Department of Defense HIV/AIDS Prevention Program (DHAPP), PCI worked with the Botswana Defense Force from 2010-2014 to understand the unique challenges and opportunities for HIV prevention in the military, and to help the Defense Force strengthen existing outreach approaches such as peer education and theatre-for-development. Throughout the project, PCI trained 286 youth and officers to mobilize and disseminate information on HIV/AIDS and trained 142 commanders in their roles and responsibilities to support HIV/AIDS work within the military. Together, the strengthened outreach and leadership team successfully expanded prevention efforts, mobilizing 3,471 individuals to test for HIV and 148 men to undergo safe male circumcision.