UN teams up against gender-based violence in Botswana
Nine United Nations agencies have launched an ambitious new programme to eliminate gender-based violence (GBV) in Botswana, which affects nearly two-thirds of all women across the country, and large numbers of children.
“[In Botswana], men still dominate the political landscape, and the issue of violence against women and girls is of great concern. Socially and culturally-constructed norms and roles have shaped gender relations, leading to unequal power relations,” said the Minister of Labor, Edwin Jenamiso Batshu.
“Gender-based violence is in many cases effectively keeping women away from participating fully in society and in the labor market, from expressing themselves and from realizing their full potential,” said Anders Pedersen, the UN Resident Coordinator at the launch of the event.
The scheme will work at all levels to end the practice. It will mobilize political, traditional leaders and establish a youth committee to raise nationwide awareness of the issue. In doing so, the initiative will involve increased numbers of young men as advocates.
In addition, the programme will focus on strengthening law enforcement, access to justice and assistance to victims, and create new mechanisms to monitor how well these services are being provided.
Because gender-based violence and HIV/AIDS are so closely linked with one another, the programme will also learn from Botswana’s reporting methods on the disease and adapt them to measure the evolution of GBV.
Gender-based violence has been identified as a significant driver of HIV/AIDS infections in women in Botswana and Africa, and international organizations are increasingly focusing on the elimination of the practice as key in the battle against the spread of the epidemic.