2019 Advocacy-for-Cure Academy
Institution: Good Samaritan Association
Country of work: Botswana
What is your motivation for becoming an HIV cure advocate?
What motivates me the most in HIV cure field, is to see people’s willingness to participate in HIV Treatment. We see programs that uses community system strengthening approach. This is an approach that promotes the development of informed, capable and coordinated communities and community based organizations, groups and structures. I use Community Conversation – Community Capacity Enhancement at our organisation. But, as a country we have recently engaged a model called Community Acting Together to Control HIV (CATCH). Social science will make sure these interventions are effective in the real world and are embraced by affected communities.
What advocacy work are you currently engaged in?
Our organization is currently implementing on Adolescents Sexual Reproductive Health Rights supported by Positive Action for Girls and Women in UK. We have involved our chiefs as our advocacy target to lead the campaign. Chiefs are seen as people of great influence on their people in Botswana and many programs done with the involvement of chiefs has yielded satisfying results. Chiefs conduct consultations and engagements in their meetings with their people. Batswana have a background of doing consultations at their kgotla meetings with their chiefs (dikgosi) where everyone participates in discussions and decision-making. In October, we conducted a midterm review for our project implemented by dikgosi. They advised stakeholders present that young people need to be reached with SRH and HIV prevention messages.
How do you think knowledge learned from the Advocacy-for-Cure Academy will influence your current work?
I will conduct consultations with chiefs, their assistants and headmen to share knowledge and tools gained at academy and train them through a workshop to increase their knowledge on HIV cure research. Dikgosi are part of policy makers under customary law and hence they are considered as people who have positive power over their people. Furthermore, communities believe so much in their chiefs hence they are the right advocacy target, I will further engage the Ministry of Health and Wellness through face-to-face dialogues address gaps that might be existing in their processes for HIV cure research.