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Communities Acting Together to Control HIV (CATCH) in 2016

From the Constellation 2016 Report, p. 16.

En français dans le rapport 2016, p. 16.

Country: Botswana

Partners: UNAIDS and National AIDS Coordinating Agency (NACA)

Support team: Onesmus Mutuku (Kenya) and Ricardo Walters (South Africa); distant support by Marlou de Rouw and Dolores Rey Novoa

Time frame: June 2015 - May 2016


From the 9th to the 13th May 2016, Onesmus Mutuku and Ricardo Walters made a support visit to the facilitators and communities in Tlokweng and Ramotswa.


The process has consisted of: consultation with community leaders; introduction of CATCH and facilitators to communities; training of facilitators on home visits; home visits and discussions on community strengths; moving towards a common vision; self-assessment and planning of activities, activities and information sharing strengthening within the community. The three top strengths encountered are: knowledge about HIV, openness (welcoming, talking openly) and the will to see change of behaviour. The actions taken by communities are: HIV testing, condom distribution, construction of water tank, youth centre and ward litter picking.


Facilitators visited 5821 households, i.e. 10,952 individuals, they re-visited 651 households, i.e. 1399 individuals, and facilitated 12 dream building processes in which participated 652 individuals.



“We felt like this project was our baby, but the Botswana communities reminded us that we were the midwives... CATCH is their child”


The project has brought hope as there is evidence of impact at different levels (organisational adaptation and policy shift; community responses; indicative health and HIV outcomes).


More than a 1000 people tested for HIV less than a year after CATCH was introduced in the South East district of Botswana.


The Kgosis (Botswana’s traditional establishment) broke the yoke of protocols, and joined for SALT visits, participated in home and neighbourhood conversations, for all were working towards a common dream.


The lessons learnt from the CATCH approach presented by a traditional leader, Paramount Kgosoi Kgolo, at the 21st International AIDS Conference:

•Community competence to assess their local situation and plan for solutions improves health outcomes

•To reach men, youth and others, the household definition needs to be expanded and should reach people in their comfort zones (e.g. Youth at schools and youth clubs, men around bars, specific meeting places)

•Building trust through meaningful conversations based on internal strength (during household, envisioning, assessing and planning stages) reduces stigma and discrimination

•Community leadership through the DiKgosi are key community assets in the HIV response (and beyond)

•Adapting donor-expectations to the pace of the community will pay back


The Constellation is indebted to UNAIDS for the opportunity to connect with the Botswana landscape and learn from the wealth of experiences within the HIV response, so ably championed by NACA [National AIDS Coordinating Agency] and the Dikgosi in the South East District.

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Comment by Rituu B. Nanda on April 5, 2017 at 3:12am

Very useful. I am sharing it rightaway.

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