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UNICEF

Botswana child monitor: A bulletin of recent events, statistics and acquisitions about children

UNICEF

November - December 2005

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  1. The National AIDS Coordinating Agency and the Central Statistics Office disseminated results of the second Botswana AIDS Impact Survey (BAIS II) on 1-2 November 2005. For the first time, the survey provides HIV prevalence information for children between the ages of 18 months and 18 years, and, from the discussions at the workshop, the need has emerged for a stronger focus on incidence monitoring and reporting.


  2. The last series of training workshops for district facilitators in the Human Rights-Based Approach to Programming (HRBAP/CCD) for Community Capacity Development took place on 7 – 11 November 2005 in Lobatse. The training was organized by the Ministry of Health, with the support of UNICEF. The HRBAP/CCD aims to promote increased uptake of PMTCT at district and community levels. In total, 100 facilitators have been trained in the HRBAP/CCD since August 2005.


  3. On 14 – 18 November 2005, UNICEF organized a training workshop on research methods and evaluation management held at the UN Conference Room. The training was attended by 40 programme managers from government, the UN and the civil society sector involved in HIV/AIDS projects, social policy, early childhood development and gender and human rights. The training sought to underscore how improving research and evaluation skills can contribute towards a strengthened understanding of the situation of children.


  4. The Botswana National Youth Council Male Involvement Project, Men, Sex and AIDS (MENSA), in partnership with the Ministry of Health and UNICEF, co-organised a Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) Male March on 19 November 2005. The objective was to promote increased male involvement in sexual and reproductive health with focus on the PMTCT programme.


  5. The French Embassy sponsored a Roundtable on Reporting on HIV/AIDS on 22 November 2005 to kickstart a ten-day training of media on how to report on HIV/AIDS. During his presentation at the roundtable, the UNICEF Representative, Gordon Jonathan Lewis, underscored the need to strengthen the capacity of local media practitioners on the child rights based approach, in order to strengthen their appreciation of how HIV/AIDS compromises the rights of children to education, protection and development


  6. The Department of Social Services organized a dissemination workshop on 23 November on the Concluding Observations for Botswana of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. The purpose of the seminar was to get inputs from stakeholders on a plan of action towards the implementation of the concluding observations and recommendations made by the Committee on the Rights of the Child, following its review in September 2004 of Botswana’s progress report on implementation on the Convention on the Rights of the Child.


  7. 25 November 2005 marked the beginning of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence, which is an international campaign aimed at placing the issue of gender violence on the agendas of both government and civil society. The national launch was held in Maun.


  8. As part of the Mid-term Review of the Government of Botswana/UNICEF Country Programme of Cooperation, UNICEF organised a Children’s Validation Meeting at BNPC on 26 November 2005 involving approximately 110 children from all over the country. The objectives of the meeting were to provide a meaningful opportunity for children to influence the content and direction of the Country Programme, as well as to contribute to the realization of their right to participate in issues that affect them.


  9. From 26 November to 4 December 2005, the Ministry of Education, in partnership with UNICEF, held a Regional Youth Forum for the North East District in Masunga to promote youth empowerment. The purpose of the forum was to give young people an opportunity to share information and experiences on a wide variety of issues that affect their lives. The activity brought together 130 young people between the ages of 10 - 20 years from both primary and secondary schools in the North East District.


  10. UNICEF and the Baylor International Pediatrics AIDS Initiative (BIPAI) held a bilateral meeting in Gaborone on 29 November 2005, to discuss strengthened partnerships for accelerated pediatric HIV/AIDS interventions in Eastern and Southern Africa. The meeting involved senior officials of UNICEF Botswana, UNICEF’s Regional Office in Nairobi Kenya, BIPAI, and the Botswana Baylor Children’s Clinical Centre of Excellence. The meeting concluded that a partnership between the two institutions could go a long way to fulfil the right of children living with HIV/AIDS to quality care, treatment and support.


  11. On 30 November 2005, BIPAI hosted a dinner in honour of President Festus Mogae, to thank him for his steadfast leadership on issues related to the impact of HIV/AIDS on children. The dinner was also attended by the Chief Executive Officer of Bristol-Myers Squibb, as well as the President of the Baylor College of Medicine. President Mogae noted his gratitude to Baylor and acknowledged the tough task of fighting the AIDS epidemic, but said it was comforting to know that Botswana Government has good allies such as Baylor and Bristol-Myers Squibb.


  12. The National Commemoration of World AIDS Day took place on 1 December 2005 in Letlhakane, under the theme “Stop AIDS: Keep the Promise.” In his keynote address at the occasion, President Festus Mogae said the day was an occasion to recommit ourselves as a nation to meeting what remains the greatest challenge our nation has faced in its entire history – keeping the promise to achieve an HIV free nation and promises to ourselves to remain faithful to our families.


  13. Minister of Health Prof. Sheila D. Tlou and the Director of the Department of AIDS Prevention and Care, Dr. Khumo Seipone, represented Botswana at the Global PMTCT Forum held in Abuja, Nigeria on 1-3 December 2005, as a precursor to the International Conference on HIV/AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections in Africa meeting. The forum called for more programmes which help prevent transmission of HIV between mother and child to be more accessible.


  14. On 3 December 2005, the Masiela Trust Fund held its annual fundraising dinner. The dinner counted with senior officers of the W.K Kellogg Foundation, which is providing an important amount of funding to the Trust Fund.


  15. On 10 December 2005, the Botswana Girl/Boy Education Movement (G-BEM) was formally launched to coincide with the end of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence. G-BEM believes that issues of gender violence manifest themselves right from early childhood, and therefore, joined the Botswana society in fighting this scourge. G-BEM advocates for a child-friendly, gender-sensitive rights-based environment for children in- and out-of-school. The launch was a collaboration of the Ministry of Education, the Women’s Affairs Division, UNICEF and the Girl/Boy ChildNetwork, a conglomerate of civil society organizations concerned with issues of the girl and boy child.


  16. Botswana Television, Radio Botswana and Gabz FM observed this year’s commemoration of the International Children’s Day of Broadcasting on 11 December 2005 by inviting children to be part of the day’s programming. Eighty-five children were involved in the Day’s productions, the theme of which was “Sport for Development and Peace.”


  17. The First Lady, Mrs Barbara Mogae held a charity luncheon in Gaborone on 17 December 2005 for orphans from Khurutshe and Kgomodiatshaba primary schools. Mrs Mogae encouraged the pupils to study hard so that they can have a better future. The pupils also had the opportunity to meet with the reigning Miss Botswana.


  18. The Eve's Club, a charitable organization in Botswana, contributed P10, 000.00 to support UNICEF's global relief efforts in Niger, where a devastating drought has been affecting thousands of young children. Niger was plunged into a food crisis early this year after a locust infestation and drought damaged the country’s crops, putting millions of children and their families at risk of starvation.
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