Connecting local responses around the world
(posted on behalf of CATCH team - Botswana)
Communities tracking and measuring community-driven actions at Ward Level in the South East pilot district of the approach called Communities Acting Together to Control HIV (CATCH).
The CATCH approach that has been piloted since June 2015 in the South East district in Botswana with the support of NACA, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Local Government, UNAIDS, US partners and the Humana People to People, has shown its power through the recent event that took place in Sefhoke ward.
The community of Sefhoke and Masetlheng wards in Tlokweng with Dikgosi, Village Development Committee (VDC) members, CATCH community facilitators and committed community members prepared and organized the launch of a community-dashboard that highlights the ward-level vision for an HIV-free and healthier future, the challenges they feel most pressing and the results they achieved so far.
As the community informed the guests and spectators during the launch, the community-dashboard will be their way of sharing information within and beyond their community and is updated every three months. The content of the board has been elaborated by the community through joint envisioning, self-assessment, prioritization, planning and activity-implementation processes, while a local artist designed and provided the construction of the community-dashboard.
Community members celebrated their achievement with joy and in a great atmosphere, surrounded by flower pots and a tent that was mobilized from neighboring communities. Botswana Television and Radio were invited by the community and covered the event, while invited guests from the district, national and international partners were present and impressed by the commitment and power shown by the community leaders and members.
Community-Dashboard in Detail
The community-dashboard is all in the local language Setswana and has three sections. The first details the common vision through paintings showing the bigger picture, such as recreational areas, education opportunities etc.
The second section looks at the challenges the community has felt are most pressing and prioritized as needing their attention and immediate action. The following challenges are listed on the board: (1) alcohol and drug abuse, (2) not telling their partner their HIV status, (3) teenage pregnancies, (4) not taking HIV treatment correctly, (5) increased number of HIV infections, (6) men not involved in health issues and HIV testing, (7) knowledge of using a condom correctly.
The dashboard has been kept a live-tool, as it can be updated regularly in terms of measuring the results in the third section. The community has highlighted their accomplishments so far which are (1) 31 people tested for HIV, (2) 700 condoms distributed, (3) workshop on condom use and demonstration held with 42 community members.
Voices from the event
‘As the community we have taken an initiative to facilitate the CATCH Model’. Kgosi Matsetse
‘CATCH is a community engagement strategy designed to fight and prevent HIV/AIDS in the communities. After discussions on challenges we sit down as a community and come with solution to the problem and act immediately. We also conduct house to house visits/SALTS to further talk about the issue identified’, VDC Chairperson, Mrs. Podile said, and ended her speech with the encouraging slogan ‘Sefhoke on the move, Sefhoke on the move, Sefhoke on the move.’
‘We still need to do more to achieve our intended goals. BORNUS together with the CATCH community facilitators have taught the community about HIV/AIDS and the dangers of alcohol abuse. The alcohol consumption has really gone down in the Sefhoke ward. Regarding HIV and other health related matters people are now using the health facilities as referred by the CATCH facilitators. As the community member I feel CATCH is a powerful mobilization strategy that needs to be taken to other places in Botswana.’ VDC Member, Mrs. Matlapeng.
‘During the Household visits the main issues communities mentioned were the low uptake of HIV testing, the low male involvement in HIV testing and health related issues and the low condom use’, CATCH Community Facilitator, Stompy.
‘In the Sefhoke ward the community members have conducted talks in the kgotla about the dangers of alcohol abuse because there is high intake of alcohol in the village. This has improved the lives of people as they have now reduced the alcohol consumption’. Community Member of Sefhoke
Honorable Councilor Lopang encouraged the Sefhoke community on keeping the good spirit of working together to reach their common goal of zero infection in their community.