Botswana: Inclusive Planning Ideal

Mahalapye — Vulnerability and Risk Assessment (VRA) research methodology has been described as what the doctor ordered for community engagement in Botswana.

Officiating at a VRA training workshop in Mahalapye on Monday, Acting Minister for Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration Mr Machana Shamukuni said the methodology made development planning participatory, representative and inclusive.

He said it sought to develop a common understanding among a wide range of stakeholders regarding what they collectively considered to be the main hazards and issues affecting or likely to affect the people in a given area.

He said the VRA workshop, organised by the University of Botswana in association with Oxfam, a UK charitable organisation, for district development officers and economic planners, must be seen as one way of enhancing consultative systems.

The training would equip district level officers with requisite skills to carry out effective stakeholders consultations, he said.

Through the vulnerability assessment approach, Mr Shamukuni said participants would jointly design strategies and measures to reduce or avoid risk, while enhancing wellbeing and promoting resilience in the community.

Another variable, he said, was that VRA offered an opportunity for the vulnerable and weaker members of the society to contribute to solutions aimed at solving their own problems as well as appreciating challenges faced by other members of their community.

As an end user, Mr Shamukuni said government could not use research that was of no relevance to its needs.

Mr Shamukuni said he was pleased that the UB research team and Oxfam working together with other stakeholders such as University of Cape Town and the University of Namibia in the Adaptation at Scale in Semi-Arid Regions (ASSAR) project prioritised stakeholder engagement in their work.

He said the impact of the research was intended to inform district development planning processes.

While the ASSAR project focused on adaptation to climate change and looking at barriers in a society, Mr Shamukuni was optimistic that the methodology would be applicable to whatever hazards a community might be exposed to. BOPA

<i>Source : BOPA</i>

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