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Fighting Gender Based Violence

“To make development a success, each person in the community both male and female, must be included, they must take active part in creating development in their own lives and communities”

Over the past decade, Botswana has made significant strides in improving women's rights, including discrimination against women. But the country still struggles with very high levels of gender-based violence: about 67% of women have experienced some form of violence and 25% of them sexual violence in their lifetime.  There is a need to promote crucial rights for all. People are organised to discuss gender norms in relation to culture with the aim to reduce gender-based violence while mitigating its harmful effects on people. Unless women, girls, men and boys fully enjoy their human rights and are free from violence, then progress toward development will fall short.

Gender based violence has to stop

HPP Botswana has taken up this challenge. The support from Project Concern International (PCI), Family Health International 360 and Empowerment of Non-State Actors (European Union) has made HPP able to put more work together with the people to reduce gender-based violence (mostly domestic violence). As seen in the past pages the projects are addressing the linkages between poverty and vulnerability. A total of 1120 adults were involved in discussions and actions during year 2015.

Projects follow up

Projects provide introductory counselling, referral and follow up to the Department of Social and Community development and the Police services. This enables government to improve services for survivors of violence. The projects supported children who were defiled and their cases are referred for further investigations. Child Aid Area Leaders visit the families in their homes to address some of the causes for violence such as heavy alcohol consumption and men controlling the family members and the economy of the family which all lead to food insecurity and poverty. The door-to door approach to vulnerable families is very powerful to create awareness and instigate change for the better. Life skills sessions in schools were conducted for teenagers, PACT club members and groups of orphans and vulnerable children, as a way of building knowledge and self-esteem amongst them.  

Lifeskills

Volunteer mobilising a football team in Selebi-Phikwe for a discussion session on gender norms and Gender based Violence  It is important to approach old problems in new ways. We must include men as part and parcel of community mobilization as they are the most common perpetrators of rape and domestic violence. HPP first held discussion sessions with traditional authorities to get good backing for the activities. With support from PCI, HPP has trained parents, teachers and social workers in relevant life skills.
IN HER SHOES – men have to put themselves in the shoes of women and children who are victims to domestic violence. Men have to take a stand and act as the change agents to end this social ill in the community. Groups of men were meeting to hear, discuss and learn from examples in form of case stories of Gender based Violence. HPP has also conducted training sessions for social workers, Police officers and teachers. In other meetings community members pick topics that allow Child Aid Area Leaders teach a variety of needed social skills. The activities offer the community an opportunity to closely interact, observe and learn more. These events have built the community to come much closer together.

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