Gaborone, 11 June 2021, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Botswana partnered with Men and Boys for Gender Equality (MBGE) to host the first anti-gender based violence (GBV) awards in Botswana. The awards ceremony was part of Anti-GBV project between the two organisations. Men and Boys for Gender Equality (MBGE) is a Botswana based Non Government Organisation (NGO) that engages men and boys to reduce gender inequalities, GBV, prevent HIV and promote health & well being of Women, Men and Children.
Speaking at the ceremony the UNDP Acting Resident Representative, Ms. Margunn Indreboe Alshaikh said that the project started by selecting several people to serve as ambassadors in the conversation about GBV prevention and response in November 2020. These ambassadors, she says, “were identified through Facebook following, positive social media content, and those with platforms to engage with young people.” She further explained that the selected ambassadors were oriented to develop key messaging on GBV, youth empowerment and COVID-19 to be shared on their respective platforms to advance the initiative through media.
“The inaugural anti- GBV Activism Awards given to recipients were a means to encourage members of the community, particularly men and boys, to educate their communities about ending GBV and promoting healthy lifestyles for all members of their communities—women, men and children”, Margunn
She added that the awards were therefore conceptualised to mobilise communities to actively engage in ending GBV through a competition that ran during the annual 16 Days of Activism against GBV from 25 November to 10 December.
She encouraged everyone to initiate and continue the conversations in their homes, workplaces and in all spheres of society to motivate change in mindsets and to prevent GBV from happening.
For his part, the Minister for Presidential Affairs, Governance And Public Administration, Kabo Neale Sechele Morwaeng said that in 2020, the Botswana National Assembly passed a motion that called for the establishment of an Inter-Ministerial Committee against Gender Based Violence. He said this was a response to the escalating cases of abuse that coincided with the lockdowns meant to slow the spread of COVID-19. Minister Morwaeng added that “Government moved swiftly and the committee was set up before the end of 2020. It comprises community leaders, faith-based leaders, and civic leaders, amongst others. Through it, we hope to increase advocacy against Gender Based Violence.”
The anti- GBV Activism Awards participation was open to all members of the public, including groups, companies, religious institutions, NGOs, government departments, donors, under the fourteen categories
Fourty three entries were received and, as part of the media work, the work of the entrants was shared on social media platforms, along with posters for nominees to use to showcase their GBV prevention initiatives