WUSC Botswana Staff from left to right: Onalenna Gabasiane, One Morapedi, Melissa Godwaldt, Philip Landon, Olefile Seoromeng, Cindy Kelemi, Chillie Motshusi, Boipelo Baloi, Mmapaseka Seitshiro, Veronica Sejakgomo.
On Saturday, May 18th, in Gabarone, Botswana, His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, the Governor General of Canada, presented the WUSC-Botswana team with Governor General's Visit Medallions in recognition of their exceptional work delivering programs in health and education and fostering Canada-Botswana relations.
The Medallions highlight the importance of WUSC’s work in Botswana to develop human resources, to strengthen the capacities of individuals and organizations, and to promote policies that help disadvantaged people contribute to their country’s development.
WUSC has been working in Botswana since 1980, helping local organizations and government meet the changing needs of a rapidly developing country. WUSC has leveraged its strong academic connections and educational expertise to build a trained work force and strengthen capacity in science, technology and health services. WUSC has helped Botswana deal with the devastating impact of HIV and AIDS by coordinating an approach between burgeoning civil society groups and government to care for those living with the virus and to help them stay in the workforce. WUSC has become an important and committed partner in Botswana’s development.
The Governor General’s delegation, including Her Excellency Sharon Johnston visited with WUSC volunteers and partner organizations such as Stepping Stones International, which partners with WUSC to provide an after-school program for orphans and vulnerable children, aged 12 to 18. The Governor General was able to speak with WUSC volunteers and witness the importance of volunteerism in increasing health and education services and promoting gender equality.
The delegation also included many individuals with close ties to WUSC, including Members of Parliament, Peter Braid, John Rafferty and David McGuinty – all of whom worked or volunteered with WUSC in the past – as well as WUSC’s former Executive Director, Paul Davidson; and current Chair of WUSC’s Board of Directors, Dr. Amit Chakma.
Other members of the delegation present included the Secretary to the Governor General, Stephen Wallace; CUSO International’s Executive Director, Derek Evans; Co-Founder of Free the Children, Craig Kielburger; President of IDRC, Jean Lebel; President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the Honourable Perrin Beatty; First Vice President, Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada, Rodney Thomas; and Patricia Malikail, Director General of Africa Bureau, DFAIT.