PCI is helping to fight AIDS in Africa, including our programs for those affected by the disease in Botswana.

Global health and humanitarian organization equips 11 local Botswana organizations to serve more people

PCI Botswana concluded a three-year program called “Building Bridges”, with a goal of training and equipping local organizations to increase their effectiveness in reaching citizens with HIV/AIDS care and support. The program was supported by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and USAID.  In three years, Building Bridges reached over 13,000 people with care and education, helping to lower HIV transmission to less than 4% of infants born to HIV positive mothers.  The key component of the Building Bridges program was building the technical and organizational capacity of local partner organizations, assisting them to expand, improve and sustain their community HIV and AIDS services.

US government foreign aid is requiring more global health organizations to partner with local providers to increase their capacity to serve their own populations.  According to USAID FORWARD, USAID is changing its business processes, contracting with and providing grants to more and varied local partners, and creating true partnerships to create the conditions where aid is no longer necessary in the countries where the Agency works.  PCI Botswana’s Building Bridges program is an example of this approach, establishing it as a model for other development organizations.

By leading and equipping eleven local partners, PCI Botswana helped increase the number of HIV infected or affected adults and children who were provided by these local organizations with at least one care service from 5,759 to 10,273 during the three-year period.  In addition, the number of HIV positive clients provided with a minimum of one clinical service by these organizations increased almost three-fold, from 1,285 to 3,815.

“Over its 3 years of operation, Building Bridges has succeeded in helping its 11 NGO partners shift from “doing for” the communities they serve, to “doing with”. Old habits of dependency within communities and within the NGOs themselves have been broken, and replaced with new attitudes of self-reliance and confidence, ” stated US Ambassador to Botswana Michelle D. Gavin at the September 28 Building Bridges Conference in Gaborone.  “This new entrepreneurial spirit is evidenced by the variety of self-help initiatives underway in project communities, using communities’ own resources. ..the skills, relationships, and new ways of thinking gained through Building Bridges are helping them move towards greater long-term organizational health and viability, and we believe the prognosis is good.”

According to UNAIDS 2010 report, Botswana has been hard hit by AIDS. In 2009 there were an estimated 300,000 adults living with HIV – or one quarter of the population aged 15 and over. Considering Botswana’s population is below two million, the epidemic has reached disturbing proportions. The country has an estimated adult HIV prevalence among 15-49 year olds of 24.8%, the second highest in the world after Swaziland.