Gaining by traction - activating Botswana to accountable in protecting the rights of children from sexual abuse and exploitation

Gaining by traction - activating Botswana to accountable in protecting the rights of children from sexual abuse and exploitation

Stepping Stones International (SSI) has been working in collaboration with credible networks throughout Botswana, promoting the protection of children’s rights and conducting advocacy work to prevent child abuse since 2006. In March 2012, SSI won the Runner Up award at the Gender Justice Summit for its presentation in the prevention category, 'Empowering Family Role Models to Stomp Out Sexual Abuse'.

The presentation highlighted SSI’s role in leading an anti-sexual abuse campaign, the first of its kind in Botswana, and as a result, the Mochudi police recorded an increase in the number of sexual abuse cases reported. Since this campaign, SSI has also been identified by the Gender Affairs Department to pilot a gender based violence referral system in Mochudi, which streamlines the reporting process with social, legal and medical services, to reduce secondary victimization of the child or adult reporting a case.

In April, SSI won first place in the Alliance category for Sexual and Reproductive Rights, Health, HIV/AIDS at this year’s Gender Justice Summit, for its presentation on an innovative programme, MenCare, which encourages men not to think of women as property but as partners, and to play an equal role in the raising of their children.

Despite Botswana’s domestication of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, via the Children’s Act, child sexual abuse remains a persistent social problem, hindering children from realizing their rights. There is overwhelming evidence that vulnerable children, especially girls, are not benefiting from their basic right to protection. Indicative of this are the following:

  • 13% of sexually experienced students surveyed were raped the first time they had sexual intercourse[1]
  • 12.8% of sexually experienced students were forced to have sexual intercourse during the 12 months prior to the survey.[2]
  • A study in Ngamiland West in 1999 calculated that a woman is raped every 12 minutes in this district.[3]
  • 67% of female students surveyed indicated that they have been subjected by teachers to at least one of the following behaviours: unsolicited touching, patting and pinching, dirty jokes, sexual innuendoes, pressure for dates, or whistling.9
  • Of those accepting these behaviours, 62% indicated that they feared what the teacher could do to them and 20% feared receiving lower grades.9
  • 68% of cases of sexual harassment happen at junior secondary schools, 18% at senior secondary schools and 14% at primary schools.9

Overall objective:

To promote protection and access to justice for youth vulnerable to sexual abuse and exploitation by improving the compliance with international legal conventions to which Botswana is a state party.

Specific objectives:

  1. To utilize evidence based research and advocacy to improve service provision and implementation for the protection of vulnerable youth exposed to sexual abuse and exploitation.
  2. To reduce sexual abuse in communities by equipping them with advocacy and communication skills to hold Botswana accountable to international commitments.

To improve access to justice for youth survivors of sexual violence through the provision of legal aid services and advocacy.


[1]  First Botswana Youth Risk Behavioural Surveillance Survey Among 10-19 years old Students (2013)

[2] First Botswana Youth Risk Behavioural Surveillance Survey Among 10-19 years old Students (2013)

[3] Women's Affairs Department (1999) Report on the Study on the Socio-Economic Implications of Violence

 

Benefitting zone
Botswana

KEY FACTS

  • Total cost (€)

    129 486.00

    EU contracted amount

    127 305.00

    Duration

    November 2013 - November 2015

    Implementing organisation

    STEPPING STONES INTERNATIONAL LBG

    Funding instrument

    European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR)