UNDP, UNICEF and Red Cross partner to address violence against women and children

August 19, 2020

L-R, UNDP Resident Representative Jacinta Barrins, Acting Representative-UNICEF Sarah Ng’inja, BRCS Secretary General Kutlwano Mukokomani; Photo- UNDP/Lebogang Tlhaloso

Gaborone, Botswana, August 19, 2020 – Yesterday UNDP, UNICEF and the Botswana Red Cross Society (BRCS) discussed their tripartite partnership around reducing the various forms of violence, including sexual abuse, that have increased on women and children since Covid -19 began.

UNDP partnered  with Botswana Red Cross Society (BRCS) to reach out to both the District and Local level Emergency Operation Centres (DEOC and LEOC) to provide training that will reach up to 600 members of the Local Emergency Operation Centres (LEOCs) in 50 villages in all 10 districts of Botswana.

Amongst the LEOC members being trained include: Dikgosi, Dikgosana, Councillors, Village District Council Chairs, School Heads, Nurses, Social Workers, Veterinarians, Briagade Teachers, District Health Management Team Representatives, and the Police.

Photo- UNDP/Lebogang Tlhaloso

“We all need to  encourage daily conversations   within our homes on  what violence means, why it happens, how it can stop and  the affect it can have on children  for many years to come,  from watching  their elders fight “said Jacinta Barrins, UNDP Resident Representative to Botswana

Dikgosi (Chiefs) from Kgalagadi

The training helps these members to know how to respond to GBV during the lockdown. They will also go house to house and to share prevention and response messages, along with contact details of where and how to report GBV.

“To date a total of 377 people in 32 villages in Botswana were trained, which is 52% of our envisaged total of 600 LEOC members ” said Jacinta Barrins, UNDP Resident Representative to Botswana at the event.  She added that the recent lockdown presented a challenge, especially the most recent affecting Greater Gaborone region which saw the postponement of their trainings.

Photo- UNDP/Lebogang Tlhaloso

She encouraged the public at large to start “conversations”  in their homes with their husbands, dads, uncles on what violence means , why it happens, how it can stop and  the affect it can have on children  for many years to come  from watching  their elders fight.  She quickly added that it is very important to choose the time and place to have these conversations, its best when all is calm and all concerned have the time  and space to really listen. She urged the media  to  keep these conversations alive and play their part in ending GBV.

The partnership comes at a time when discussions in the public arena, including in parliament show that Gender-Based Violence (GBV), is a poignant topic and a national concern. Recent media reports from just this week note that the Police record an average of 6 rape cases per day. There are also concerns of lack of reporting GBV which could possibly be out of fear or the lack of know-how to report. This calls for an urgent concerted all-actors approach.

“In first lockdown in April 2020 the Botswana GBV Prevention and Support Centre was overwhelmed within the first few days into the lockdown,” said Jacinta Barrins, UNDP Resident Representative to Botswana at the event. She added that UNDP has actively been involved with tackling GBV issues under the joint UNDP-Botswana Government Project: Support to the Fulfillment of Human Rights, Access to Justice and the Empowerment of Youth and Women Project (2018-2021).

She also said that during the first lockdown, UNDP supported Botswana GBV Prevention and Support Centre by providing shelter to a total of 26 GBV survivors for a period of 60 days from 8 April 2020 to 6 June 2020.

Jacinta added that the UN family in Botswana, also assisted the Botswana Government—through the Ministry of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs—with  developing a National COVID-19 GBV Response Plan.

For more information and media interviews, contact:

Lebogang Tlhaloso, UNDP Communications Associate - Tell: +267 363 3745; |  Email: lebogang.tlhaloso@undp.org

Natasha Hirschfeld, Programme Specialist – Governance, - Tell; +267 36 33 709 |  Email; natasha.hirschfeld@undp.org

Photo- UNDP/Lebogang Tlhaloso

Photo- UNDP/Lebogang Tlhaloso

Photo- UNDP/Lebogang Tlhaloso