Selebi Phikwe — Community participation is imperative in the fight against gender-based violence (GBV), First Lady Neo Masisi has said.
The First Lady was speaking at a Cycling towards a GBV-free generation event in Selebi Phikwe on November 6.
She said the event was an opportunity to involve communities in the fight against GBV.
She challenged communities to speak out openly against GBV which continued to escalate.
"It is imperative for GBV conversations to involve men and boys given how they are most likely to perpetrate this cruelty. Let us commit to changing GBV trends afflicting our people," she said.
Ms Masisi also emphasised the importance of strong families and professional help for victims.
On the event, she said it represented great strides on issues of GBV as well as creating awareness.
The event was initiated by the Office of the First Lady in conjunction with the Ministry of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs to raise awareness and mobilise citizens for behavioural change towards ending GBV.
In an interview on the sidelines of the event, Minister of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs, Ms Annah Mokgethi applauded the first lady for her commitment in ensuring that women and girls were empowered as well as protected from all forms of abuse and nourished to make meaningful contribution to Botswana's development as envisaged by Vision 2036.
She explained that Ms Masisi had partnered with city and town mayors in an effort to lobby Batswana to reflect on how to go about reducing and ultimately eliminating the rapidly increasing incidences of GBV.
Ms Mokgethi pleaded with the entire nation and all stakeholders to join forces in fighting GBV.
She also implored village leaders to raise awareness at community level and form committees that would respond to the GBV ordeal and further challenged religious leaders to be well vested in GBV issues.
In addition, she urged civil societies to work with government in strengthening all modes of communicating gender equality and GBV issues to communities.
Commenting, Selebi Phikwe mayor, Mr Lucas Modimana decried the hefty costs of GBV on communities and the nation citing public wellbeing, health and safety, academic achievement, productivity, law enforcement, public programmes and budgets.
Mr Modimana said if not addressed, GBV would pose serious consequences for current and future generations, undermine efforts to ensure peace and security as well as to reduce poverty and achieve Vision 2036 objectives."The nation is engaged in a two front war, COVID-19 on one hand and GBV on the other," said Mr Modimana.
He applauded the campaign saying it had shown how awareness could bring change.
Source : BOPA