25 October, 2018
BOCONGO AND SABF PRESENTS THE FIRST NATIONAL CSR EXPO THE POWER TO DO GOOD! Organizations that practice Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) are taking initiatives t opositively impact the environment, people, and our overall society. CSR can take many forms , from ethical sourcing to a one-for-one business model; it’s about finding a way to give back that aligns with your organisation mission. We invite you to Gaborone, Botswana in October 201 8 to the CSR EXPO to learn why CSR cannot only help you do good for others but also increase overall success for your organisation and brand. Organisations that practice CSR create strong customer relationships and have a purpose that is bigger than themselves .
07 August, 2018
PRESS STATEMENT URGENT ACTION IS NEEDED TO END THE VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND THE GIRL CHILD GABORONE, 7TH AUGUST 2018 We members of the Inclusive Social Policy Thematic Group of the Botswana Council of Nongovernmental Organizations (BOCONGO) met on, August 7th, 2018 at BOCONGO Offices and amongst many issues discussed is the concern over recent rise in cases of violence against women in Botswana. Cases in point are the recent gruesome killings of the young women in Tlokweng and Maun. We condemn in the strongest of terms these violent atrocities against women, atrocities which put even the girl child at risk. It is disheartening to note that when we are supposed to be celebrating women we are now mourning for our women. Gender based violence is now one of the most rampant violations of human rights in the world, one of the least prosecuted crimes, and one of the greatest threats to lasting peace and development even in modern societies. We need to protect our women and children collectively as Batswana. We call upon all stakeholders, government, law enforcers, parents, community leaders and general populace to act against the increasing cases of violence particularly on women befalling our society. We must all act to prevent gender-based violence by addressing all the root causes of gender inequality and discrimination. Our call is for a long-term, systemic and comprehensive approach that recognizes and protects women’s and children’s full and equal human rights through institutional and legal reform, education, awareness-raising and the full engagement of men and boys as part of the solution. Let us stand together united to protect our women and girls. Lastly, we send our heartfelt condolences to the families of those who have lost their loved ones and may the souls of the deceased rest in eternal peace. For further Questions regarding this press Statement Contact; BOCONGO Communications Office: 3911319
26 April, 2018
PRESS STATEMENT URGENT ACTION IS NEEDED TO END VIOLATION OF WOMENS’ AND GIRLS’ RIGHTS GABORONE, 26th APRIL 2018 As Human Rights defenders, Gender Activists in collaboration with the Gender and Human Rights Thematic Group of the Botswana Council of NGOs (BOCONGO), we are deeply concerned about the escalating, brutal, shocking and very painful incidences of violence against women in Botswana. A few examples reflecting security and safety risks for women and girls, whether in their homes, the streets, school environment or workplace. Brutal murder of a young woman who was coming from work in Mogoditshane; a Pastor's wife, who was attacked in her home in Mochudi; harassment of a young lady at the bus rank; raping and murder of a 9 year old in White City; recent robbery and rape cases in Tlokweng and the very unfortunate occurrence last Sunday morning where a female nurse was battered and raped while on duty at Extension 2 Clinic. Rape is not just one of the most heinous crimes, but it is also one of the most emotionally and politically charged topics of public debate. It also continues to be a contributory factor to gross violation of human rights, especially the rights of women and girls, the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. Such act of violence further entrenches gender inequality by limiting the choices of women and girls. We also note from research in Botswana and elsewhere that rape occurrence is under reported. This necessitates continued improvement of reporting procedures and quality of services that are sensitive to the preservation of the human dignity of victims of rape. We are deeply concerned that despite the increase in rape cases in Botswana, implementation of the law against rape is still very weak and impunity for perpetrators continues. There have been media reports in the recent past of people who commit crime while on bail, and such reports include rape cases. We are calling on the government to lead the nation in exercising due diligence towards the elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls through: Prevention: Targeting underlying Causes of VAW; transforming Society: Changing Mindsets and Modifying Behaviour; Eliminating Risk Factors; Providing Outreach and Ending Isolation; Broadening the Scope of VAW Programmes; Formulating Comprehensive Laws and Constitutional Guarantees; Collecting Data and Designing Programmes; Incorporating Intersectionality and Providing for At-risk Groups; Maintaining a Sustained Strategy; and robust engagement and collaboration with Gender and Human Rights Organizations to collectively support the implementation of the National GBV Strategy and the Referral System. Protection: Ensuring Availability of and Accessibility to Coordinated Support Services; Ensuring Availability of and Accessibility to Protection Orders; Upholding the Duties of First Responders; Fostering Positive Attitudes and Sensitization through Sustained Training; Implementing a Multi-Sectoral Approach and Coordinating Services. Prosecution: Addressing Victims’/ Survivors’ Needs and Fears; Developing Policies to Reduce Attrition; Providing Positive Early Victim/Survivor Engagement through the Police; Establishing Affirmative Duty to Investigate; Establishing Affirmative Duty to Prosecute; Ensuring Fair Burden of Proof and Evidentiary Standards; Ensuring Sensitivity to Confidentiality and Privacy Issues; Providing Legal Aid and Support; Reducing Delay at Every Level of the Prosecutorial Process; Fostering Confidence in the Police, Prosecutors and Judiciary; Providing Special Prosecutors and Courts; Considering Alternative Dispute Resolution (Mediation/Conciliation); Ensuring that Plural Legal Systems Align with International Human Rights Norms and Standards; and Developing a Multi-sectoral and Multi-agency Approach Punishment of Perpetrators: Holding Perpetrators Accountable: Certainty of Punishment; Ensuring Punishment is Commensurate with Offence; Meeting the Goals of Punishment: Preventing Recidivism, Rehabilitating Perpetrators and Deterring Others; Broadening the Available Punishment Regime beyond Incarceration, where Appropriate; and Ensuring Punishment is Premised on the Principle that VAW is Not Justifiable/Excusable Provision of Redress and Reparation for Victims/Survivors: Adopting a Victim/Survivor-oriented Perspective; Ensuring Proportionality to Gravity of Harm or Loss Suffered; Assuming Responsibility for Recuperating Reparation from Perpetrators; and Working towards Institutional Reform and Transformative Change In conclusion we each have to contend with the question: is this the Botswana we want for Batswana women and girls - for our grandmothers, mothers, aunts, sisters, daughters and granddaughters? The silence from structures that are charged to protect women and girls against harm and danger is deafening. We call on all government agents charged with the responsibility to protect the public against this cruel and life-altering crime; to take required urgent steps to educate the public towards its prevention and mitigation. Lastly, we call on and implore legislators and all who are at the helm of public authority or preside over institutions of influence; to speak out with the authority vested on them by Batswana; to condemn this social ill. We support the urgent call for immediate action from the Ministry of Health and Wellness to ensure that the work place in all Institutions is safe and secure for its workers. We all as a society have a singular and collective responsibility to create equal development opportunities for women and girls by providing necessary assurances of freedom of choice and safety in their private as well as public spheres; in their pursuit of their chosen personal development paths. We owe it to past, present and future generations of Batswana women and girls. For More Questions regarding this Press Statement contact: BOCONGO COMMUNICATIONS: 3911319
19 April, 2018
Ntjise Smarts of Botswana is in Accra ,Ghana as part of the works of a great initiative which started last year with UNDP to develop the PVEApp. The app is designed to help civil society involved in tackling violent extremism to develop effective communications strategies & interventions to alter and affect prevalent narratives encouraging violent extremism. Now available on the App Store.
19 April, 2018
H. E the President is in London and attended a live civil society event and spoke on stage , as thousands of Global Citizens united with leading UK artists industry leaders, and non-profit organizations for Global Citizen Live London, at the O2 Academy Brixton on in London, England. The event took place to hold Commonwealth leaders accountable for progress made towards achieving the Global Goals for Sustainable Development and ending extreme poverty by 2030. They used their collective voice in a bid to be the generation to end extreme poverty at the free-ticketed event in Brixton.
06 April, 2018
Most recently Bert Haitsma (in picture) , a Dutch filmmaker based in Botswana produced a documentary titled TESS , released in South African cinemas in February 2017. Tess was picked up for international sales by The Little Film Company of Los Angeles/ London and the film won best South African Film at the Durban International Film Festival, as well as the Best Editing and Best Actress awards; and at the Silwerskermfees won the Best Cinematography, Best Editing and Best Actress awards. The film will do the opening of Ditshwanelo Film Festival on Monday 16 April 2018 (6.45pm) in Gaborone. Theme : Women , violence & Human rights
06 April, 2018
We are now at a building opposite Air Botswana Reservation Offices by Tlale House opposite the Competition Authority in the Mall area behind South African High Commission. Contact numbers remain the same
06 April, 2018
BOCONGO congratulates the new Vice President of the Republic of Botswana . His Honour Slumber Tsogwane.
06 April, 2018
The Botswana Centre for Human Rights (Ditshwanelo) will hold it's 17th Annual Human Rights Film Festival from Monday 16 April 2018 to Thursday 19 April 2018. This year , the film festival will be integrated in the Maitisong Festival April 2018 programme of events. We will update you on which films will be showing next week in exploring critical themes on women , human rights , climate change and youth.
13 March, 2018
BOCONGO recently assisted the World Bank Group Country Representative office reach out to Civil Society Organisations for the Partnership Framework (FY16-20) Performance and Learning Review.Similar engagements for the review would be extended to the private sector , developmental partners and the Government of Botswana through the portfolio Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.
13 March, 2018
A Delegation of the European Union to Botswana and SADC has launched three projects supporting human rights actions in Botswana The projects, which are funded for P5.1 million through the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) will be carried out by BOCONGO, Gender Links and Stepping Stones International. A news release from a Delegation of the European Union to Botswana and SADC states that over the next two years, BOCONGO will be funded to work on civic education and the participation in political processes. The release states that Gender Links will receive a grant to work on empowering women and ending gender violence in Botswana, also for two years. Stepping Stones International will receive funds for their work on child protection for 18 months. The Grant award follows the November 2016 invitation by the EU Delegation to Botswana and SADC to Civil Society Organisations to submit proposals in the areas of civic education around the principles of democracy and participation in political processes, child protection, enabling communities and service providers to better address child protection issues as well as empowerment of women to strengthen female participation in decision making structures at all levels. The EIDHR is a self-standing financial instrument which promotes democracy and human rights worldwide. It aims to contribute to the development and consolidation of democracy, the Rule of Law, and respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms within the framework of the European Union’s policy on development cooperation with third countries, consistent with the European Union’s foreign policy as a whole. The EU is fully committed to supporting the work of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations and the implementation of the agreed recommendations in the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). “The EIDHR programme was first launched in 2013, bringing its overall total support to Civil Society Organizations in Botswana over the past 5 years to about P20 million Pula. Actions supported have included Civic Education, GBV, LGBTI, Disability, Minority/Indigenous people’s rights and Child Protection...........”
11 October, 2017
Joint statement by the EU Delegation to Botswana and DITSHWANELO on the World Day against the Death Penalty (10 October, 2017) The Delegation of the European Union to Botswana & SADC and DITSHWANELO - The Botswana Centre for Human Rights today joins the rest of the world in commemorating the World Day against the Death Penalty. The day which is commemorated annually on October 10 takes place at a time when Botswana is still counted amongst countries which still retain the death penalty in its statutes. At a regional level, Botswana remains the only country which still carries out executions. The latest execution in Botswana was conducted in 2016. This year's commemoration focuses on the relationship between poverty and the death penalty by highlighting the links between the application of the death penalty, poverty and socio-economic discrimination. Poverty remains a factor at all stages of the implementation of the death penalty. Socio-economic circumstances of an accused in death penalty proceedings are relevant to an assessment of the crime itself, greatly influence the criminal trial and have a significant impact on the sentencing process. It is commonly recognised that people from disadvantaged economic backgrounds are most commonly at risk of execution. While the ultimate aim is always to continue to strive for the complete abolition of the death penalty, it is also important to ensure that retentionist countries provide access to justice for all their people, without prejudice or discrimination. In a statement marking the day, the 47-nation Council of Europe and the 28-member European Union underlined their organisations’ firm opposition to capital punishment in any circumstances and called on countries still using the death penalty to commute any existing sentences and to introduce a moratorium on capital punishment as a first step towards abolition. Through the European Convention on Human Rights, the Council of Europe has created a death penalty-free zone covering 47 countries and over 820 million people. No executions have taken place in any Council of Europe member state for over 20 years. This year, under the theme Poverty and the Death Penalty, DITSWHANELO has identified four sub-themes which are: 1. Poverty, Mental Health and the Death Penalty 2. Poverty, Education and the Death Penalty 3. Poverty, Access to Justice and the Death penalty 4. Poverty, Crime and the Death Penalty As part of the commemorations, the EU and DITSHWANELO have assembled a team of local experts to discuss the sub-themes in depth. Today, (10 October 2017), at 10-11 am, these experts will share their views during a live broadcast at Yarona FM radio station. Batswana are encouraged to tune in and contribute to the debate. The team of experts comprise Mr Mothei Sejakgomo, Chairperson of the Botswana Institute for the Rehabilitation of Offenders (BIRRO) and also a former convict; Mr Kgosiitsile Ngakaagae, a practising attorney; and Dr Sethunya Mosime, a professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Botswana. Background Information Context Since the 1980s, there has been a global trend towards the abolition of the death penalty, a trend which continues to this day. According to Amnesty International, 16 countries had abolished the death penalty in law for all crimes in 1977. Today, two-thirds of all countries (141) are now abolitionist in law or in practice. However, an ongoing feature of the application of the death penalty is that it is inextricably linked to poverty. Social and economic inequalities affect access to justice for those who are sentenced to death for several reasons. Defendants often lack the social, economic and political resources to adequately defend themselves and will in some cases be discriminated against because of their social status. In India for example, a study conducted by the National Law University of New Delhi found that 74.15% of those sentenced to death (370) belong to the economically vulnerable population. In the United States, in 2007, according to the Equal Justice Initiative, 95% of people on death row have disadvantaged economic backgrounds. In those countries, a defendant who does not have the financial capacity to hire a private lawyer will have to rely on free legal aid provided by the government. Such attorneys, however, are often underpaid and unprepared for death penalty cases. Moreover, the report from the National Law University shows that often, people from disadvantaged backgrounds in India do not trust state-appointed lawyers. As a result, their families may attempt to gather funds in order to hire a private lawyer but the quality of that private representation is often ineffective. 2 / 10 A study led by Amnesty International and the Legal Defense and Assistance Project (LEDAP-Nigeria) in October 2008 suggests that the overwhelming majority of the death row population in Nigeria is also comprised of economically disadvantaged people. According to Chino Obiagwu of LEDAP “it becomes clear that questions of guilt and innocence are almost irrelevant in Nigeria’s criminal justice system. It is all about if you can afford to pay to keep yourself out of the system – whether that means paying the police to adequately investigate your case, paying for a lawyer to defend you or paying to have your name put on a list of those eligible for pardon.” Saudi Arabia remains one of the top executioners. According to Amnesty International, foreign nationals in Saudi Arabia —particularly migrant workers from disadvantaged economic backgrounds from the Middle East, Asia and Africa— are at a great disadvantage within the criminal justice system. During their trials, a lack of Arabic language skills coupled with their migrant status places them at particular risk of a death sentence. According to Ivan Simonovic, former UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, there is no tangible evidence of the deterrent effect of the death penalty on criminals. "On the other hand, there is evidence of the link between the death penalty and discrimination against vulnerable communities". He highlights that most people executed come from poor backgrounds, belong to minorities or are socially disadvantaged.
26 September, 2017
On the 21 of September 2017 there was an official opening of new day care center of the Botswana Retired Nurses Society Board and Staff done by the President of the Republic of Botswana Lt. General. Dr. Seretse Khama Ian Khama.
12 September, 2017
Over the recent past, we have been reincarnating elections as an important pillar of a democratic governance renaissance in Africa, attempting to rebuild our decent lives from the dreams differed. This reawakening arises from a long period of post-independence brutal dictatorship based on imperial presidencies that cared less about people’s aspirations, but their familial self-interests and accumulation. Since the 1960s with the advent of our independence, we have witnessed and lived through a period of dehumanisation, fear and hope, our economies, liberties and institutions (Legislature, Judiciary and Executive) supposed to anchor our liberated democracies were decimated beyond recognition. Our leaders, our liberation movements, our regional and continental institutions remained throughout this period insensible to our cries and suffering through their collective collusion and active violation of our existence as African citizens. In most instances, this dictatorship was enabled by tacit support of our erst while occupiers advanced as western liberal democratic establishments. The revival of electoral democracy is an important achievement for citizens to reclaim their social contract with their rulers, and in so doing, taking active responsibility in shaping their future. It is in this context that SADC Council of NGOs (SADC-CNGO) welcomes the Supreme Court of Kenya's ruling on the election results of August 2017 and further congratulates the Kenyans in their pursuit for justice and freedom of choosing their leaders in order to re-set the foundations of a social contract between citizens and their leaders. We recall that ten years ago the Kenyans, following the presidential elections of 2007, experienced brutal violence and many lost their lives because of electoral fraud that cheats citizens of their right to elect their preferred leaders. Exactly ten years later, the same Kenyans defied the expectations and analysis of many, chose the legal rout instead, and set a precedent in our continent through the Kenyan judiciary rendering a ground-breaking ruling to nullify the result of the presidential election of August 8, 2017. In this regards, SADC-CNGO joins Kenyans and Africans across the continent in admiring the Supreme Court judges for rising beyond party politics and exercising their utmost and supreme call in their objectively determining that the elections did not master the basic tenets of a free and fair elections, and thus annulled the poll results. Through this ruling on the election results, the Kenyan judiciary has assured the citizens of Kenya that the courts can be independent and relied on as a safe mechanism for peaceful dispute resolution which citizens can depend on. Moreover, the ruling has given hope to the rest of the African continent to overcome the vicious circle of election related violence. The Supreme Court's decision is not a declaration of a winner and loser but it is a clarification of the process of the conduct of the election which had irregularities that is contrary to the Constitution of Kenya. Therefore, it is the expectation of all peace loving Africans that Kenyans will uphold the ruling and work diligently for the smooth re-run of the election. In compliance with the Supreme Court's judgement, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission of Kenya (IEBC) gazetted 17th October 2017 as the date of the fresh presidential election. The swift move by the IEBC in gazetting the re-run election date demonstrates the adherence of the order and spirit of the 'Supreme Court order. SADC-CNGO commends the IEBC on its move in upholding the ruling but also urges to translate this spirit on the ground and ensure an environment that guarantees all stakeholders a transparent process in the upcoming second round of election and thereby redeem its credibility before the Kenyan people. Moreover, we extend our call to all political parties, candidates, and all citizens of Kenya to help to conduct themselves in a peaceful manner during the campaign period and election day, and by so doing deny those who would want to see violence as a means to create chaos and instability. We call on the international election observation missions such as the European Union and the Carter Centre, and the African Union in particular, to reflect on their conduct of election observation principles and guidelines. They must report what they observe. We further call on the East African Community to take primary responsibility in ensuring that the election re-run are free, fair, legitimate and beyond reproach. It is the future of the Kenyans at stake, with potential impact on the continent, especially the East African Community. Kenyans must be allowed space to be authors and guarantors of their own destiny. We are aware that there will be many challenges, not only financially and logistically, but also external pressure and anxieties. During these challenging times, you can rely on our solidarity. We are confident that Kenyans can, and will overcome. Boichoko Ditlhake, Executive Director, SADC-CNGO
06 July, 2017
The Botswana Council of Non-Governmental Organisations (BOCONGO) notes with concern the findings of the Auditor General Report for the year ended March 2016, which point to serious wastage of public funds and failure to account by senior public servants. Below are a few examples: Department of Tertiary Education Financing (DTEF) The Auditor General highlights rampant mismanagement of the account from which the living allowances of government sponsored tertiary students are paid. Even after repeated warnings and enquiries by the Auditor General, officers responsible for these disbursements at DTEF have failed to offer any satisfactory explanations for the lack of reconciliation and monitoring of the account, which had a balance in excess of P1billion as at March 2016. Further, the AG raises concern that the Accounting Officer (Permanent Secretary) has not delivered on his/her promise to arrest the matter, raising fears that large amounts of public funds may be lost without trace or detection. Ministry of Youth Empowerment Sports & Culture Development The Auditor General also questioned why about P1.5 million was spend on international trips by the Ministry during the Independence Day celebrations in September 2015 (particularly on trips to Stockholm, Maputo and Nairobi); and paid for by the Botswana’s Foreign Missions on behalf of the Ministry. The expenses covered performance fees, per diem, hotel expenses, transportation and rental of musical instruments. The Auditor General also noted that in these trips payments for both per diem and hotel expenses far exceeded engagement fees of the musical groups; and went beyond the limits of public service rules. Further, the Auditor General questioned why such exorbitant expenditures were not reserved for Botswana’s Golden Jubilee celebrations the next year. Serule Police Station The Auditor General also carried out an audit inspection at Serule Police Station and discovered shortcomings in the planning and execution of projects. In one instance, a fuel point facility that was constructed in 2004 was still sitting idle in 2015/16. In another instance, a contractor who was awarded a tender for upgrading a sewerage system at the police station in February 2010 had still not completed the project six years later, despite the fact that he/she had already been paid over P1.9 million. The Auditor General expressed concern at continuous cost over-runs in government projects, which are a great cost to the public.Botswana Innovation Hub Since its inception in 2010, Botswana Innovation Hub (BIH) has failed to utilise P12million set aside by government as start up capital for the Innovation Fund. Though the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of BIH has in previous years promised to take the matter up with the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, he had not done so by end of March 2016. Neither had he given any reasons for the delay. Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism The Auditor General expressed disappointment at the failure by the Department of Wildlife and National Parks to account for additional amounts paid for the elephant ivory sculpture that was erected at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport, which brought the total amount to P 806 507. In light of the above, and as the umbrella body of non-governmental organizations in Botswana, BOCONGO feels obliged to respond to such alarming findings by the auditor General. This is in line with our responsibility to forge participatory democracy in Botswana by educating government, the people and political parties about their rights and obligations as democratic citizens. As BOCONGO, we have a vision of NGOs working together for a more just, equal and integrated Botswana. Therefore it is our responsibility to lead the people of Botswana in demanding responsiveness, accountability and transparency from government. From the Auditor General report, we have observed a worrisome trend where Accounting Officers - some as senior as Permanent Secretaries and CEO’s - have repeatedly failed to account to the Auditor General. Public accountability is a hallmark of modern democratic governance. Therefore those entrusted with management of public resources must account fully to the Auditor General, failing which they must be relieved of their duties. The people have a right to know how public funds are being used. Those who have been entrusted with power, or with control of state resources, cannot use them for private gain or to the detriment of citizens. Corruption can lead to abuse of fundamental human rights and denial of certain entitlements of some members of society. It is fraud and theft of public assets for public officers to authorise payment to contractors for no work done, as was the case in Serule Police Station. Public officers at DTEF should not be allowed to get away with failing to properly manage an account carrying billions of tax payers’ money meant to pay for students’ living allowances. Those students have in the past gone on strike after their living allowances were not paid and that lends credence to allegations of embezzlement of public resources and illicit self-enrichment by paying allowances to ‘ghost students.’ As BOCONGO we cannot keep quiet while there is wanton dissipation of public resources at the expense of more pressing needs. On the one hand government policy is flouted as millions are wasted on international frolics. On the other hand government is cutting down on tertiary education sponsorships; children are left in limbo in schools as there are no books for them to read and no food for them to eat; while thousands of Batswana face threat of death due to rampant shortage of drugs and personnel in health facilities. We understand that there are competing needs, but government resources must be deployed based on need and deprivation. The people must come first. We demand transparency, financial prudence and good governance especially in these tough economic times. For more information please contact BOCONGO at 3911319 or email email@example.com
08 June, 2017
Selebi Phikwe: BOCONGO is participating in the NGO COUNCIL District Stakeholder Forum currently held in Selebi Phikwe from 8-9 June 2017. The forum is aimed at providing a space for stakeholders (civil society organisations, community based organisations, government and business) actively engaged in the development of the district to engage and discuss issues of community development, strategies and priorities that will be presented at the 2nd Annual Stakeholder Forum scheduled for July 2017 in Gaborone. Inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 391 1319