Botswana: VP to Launch New HIV/Aids Fighting Initiative

Gaborone — Vice President, Mr Slumber Tsogwane will on Sunday launch the Faith and Communities Initiative (FCI) in Mahalapye.

The initiative is spearheaded by spiritual leaders from different denominations, religions and faiths together with community leaders with the aim of fighting HIV/AIDs scourge.

It will be targeting men and children.

Addressing the media on Monday, US ambassador to Botswana, Mr Craig Cloud, explained that the programme was a joint initiative of Botswana and US governments through US President Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

FCI, he said, recognised the critical role faith and traditional leaders played in their communities and would draw upon their influence and wisdom.

Community leaders include pastors, religious leaders, traditional doctors and dikgosi among others.

Mr Cloud said the initiative was meant to reach HIV infected men and children with testing services by engaging faith communities, raise community awareness and bring critical prevention as well as treatment interventions.

He said it was also meant to strengthen justice for children and prevent violence against them with the influence of faith, traditional and community leaders as well as by engaging the justice sector.

Botswana Christian Council (BCC) secretary, Reverend Gabriel Tsuaneng said it was apparent that religious and faith institutions commanded a large portion of the population and were therefore in a position of influence.

<i>Source : BOPA</i>

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