Since its independence in 1966, Botswana has implemented effective development policies that have achieved major poverty reductions. Unfortunately, the HIV epidemic has had significant social and public health impacts and threatens these economic gains. The Government of Botswana has developed a national strategy on HIV and AIDS, but in order for the country to achieve its goals, Botswana’s civil society must play a greater role.
WUSC is working to strengthen the capacity of civil society in Botswana to address the HIV epidemic. The program will help prevent new infections by scaling up treatment, care, and support for people living with the disease.
- WUSC will send expert volunteers for placements in non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that function as the leaders of civil society.
- WUSC staff will provide training to these organizations to strengthen their capacity to deliver quality services to their members, who are the frontline response in HIV prevention, treatment and support.
WUSC has been working in Botswana since 1980, strengthening the capacity of local organizations, government departments, and individuals in their efforts to effectively contribute to the economic and social welfare of the population.
Since 2004, WUSC’s program has focused on:
- strengthening national level NGOs to provide more inclusivity,
- improving, and increased HIV and AIDS services, to increase the integration of equality between women and men
- Engaging in policy dialogue for the benefit of disadvantaged or marginalized communities.
Botswana has one of the most severe HIV epidemics in the world. Currently in Botswana, an estimated one out of four adults aged 15-49 is HIV positive, and one out of three pregnant women is HIV positive. About 300,000 adults and children are estimated to be HIV positive, of which 160,000 are in need of antiretroviral therapy, and more than 52,000 children have been orphaned from HIV and AIDS.
Civil society organizations in Botswana play an important role in HIV prevention, treatment, care, and support at the national and community level. They are often the first point of contact for people living with HIV in rural communities. Although they are generally well-established within communities and well-placed to reach people who need HIV and AIDS services, numerous assessments over the last decade show that their capacities generally are still weak. These significant capacity gaps make it difficult for organizations to maintain programs and focus on improving services.