Presentation on theme: "Civil society groups in Botswana: Participation in poverty eradication DR J. T. MATSOGA MS M. PHEGELO UB FACULTY OF EDUCATION."— Presentation transcript:
Civil society groups in Botswana: Participation in poverty eradication DR J. T. MATSOGA MS M. PHEGELO UB FACULTY OF EDUCATION
Background Botswana is a middle income country Poverty still a significant development challenge Government highly committed to fight poverty Vision 2016 –By 2016, Botswana will have eradicated absolute poverty…. will have a more equitable income distribution that ensures participation in income success Numerous programmes/strategies have implemented
Partnerships in poverty eradication Government has primary responsibility Synergies with other entities including civil society are critical
Civil Society (CS) Various definitions EU- Includes wide range of actors and roles ◦Non-state, not for profit structure, non-partisan and non–violent, through which people organise to pursue shared political, cultural, social or economic objectives and ideals ◦E.g. men/women groups, trade unionists, faith/community-based, students academic etc
Civil society Widely believed to be to be a critical partner in development ◦Fosters greater participation in socio- economic development and democracy ◦Operates at all levels local, national, regional and international ◦Comprises urban and rural, formal and informal organisations
Civil society in Botswana Has been growing since independence, more in 1990s Remained generally weak possibly due to: ◦ political and social stability ◦Culture of non-questioning (Mogalakwe & Sebudubudu (2006) Reasoning probably indicates some of the CS challenges
What are some CSOs doing to empower members? In-depth interviews with 4 Teacher unions revealed: Broad goals ◦raise image of teaching profession ◦Communication links between employees and management ◦Keep teachers informed on rights, benefits. privileges (BOCONGO,2007) Gone a step further to into welfare issues
What some CSO are they doing to empower? One teacher union has a business arm venturing into property development Secured and developed estates in Gabs and F/town Sells houses to members affordably All unions involved in welfare issues -funeral schemes, housing and car loan scheme etc For upskilling purposes IT gadgets acquired on mini loans Through this members are empowered Fragmentation of these unions limit the benefits of pooling resources
Women groups Five women groups’ leadership were interviewed Four assisted by gov‘t programmes GAD a and MLGRD Engaged in SME in line with the guidelines- bakery, poultry etc One group based in a church in Tlokweng was independent ◦Voluntarily made crafts, toys, etc and, ◦donated to the needy- orphans elderly ◦Aspired to grow but limited capacity, had unsuccessfully approached S&CD their business was not in the guidelines for PE.
Challenges met by CSO groups All expressed lack of capacity including technical and business skills, inadequate resources One was not knowledgeable on how to seek assistance in spite of the existing structures Teacher unions were challenged by the fragmentation and were worried of losing members > income
Conclusion In spite of the weak nature, civil society is capable of contributing to poverty eradication Some CSOs like teacher unions are doing commendable work to empower their members. Challenges include inadequate capacity and resources, Information does not reach all and prescribed businesses may not be suitable for all situations.
Recommendations An enabling environment is necessary for CSO to contribute more to poverty Capacity development is necessary -Best practices such as those of teacher unions need to be documented and shared Information dissemination Flexibility in programmes that CSOs can engage in and be supported
References Mogalakwe M and Sebudubudu, D. 2006 "Trends in State-Civil Society Relations in Botswana", Journal of African Elections 5(2). European Commission (2012). The roots of democracy and sustainable development: Europe's engagement with Civil Society in external relations European Commission Brussels
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