Connecting local responses around the world
"Ramotswa was the breeding ground for SALT and its inevitable spontaneous transfer in the South-East District and beyond.” Those of you who have read the successful series, Ladies no. 1 Detective Agency will be familiar with the name. So where is Ramotswa?
Ramotswa is a village 20 km from the Gabarone, the capital of Botswana. I am currently posted there as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Botswana. Peace Corps is a Global Volunteer Service Program of the US Government. I am here for the next two years to work on HIV-related community issues.
The story of Constellation and SALT-CLCP began with HIV/AIDS twenty three years ago. I am most familiar with the story of SALT-CLCP to address HIV in Botswana. So when I got an invitation to serve in Botswana on HIV-related issues, I wanted to connect with the people of the ground who were part of the initiative. I reached out to the Global CLCP Community on WhatsApp to connect with the Botswana team. Tebby Joe responded. I had a SALTY connection in Botswana even before I landed there.
To my surprise and excitement, Tebby told me that Ramotswa was the village where Constellation had conducted its intervention as part of a national HIV - AIDS program from 2016-2018. CATCH (Communities Acting Together to Control HIV) was a highly successful model that used SALT-CLCP to stimulate communities to become agents of change and empower them to achieve the target of zero new infections.
Tebby was one of the SALT facilitators for the project. She noted that the village chief, Kgosi Mosadi, had been instrumental in the program's success. I was going to meet Kgosi Mosadi for an official visit the very next day. Again, I was excited. At the village meeting, during Q and A, I asked about the CATCH program. Kgosi Fisher Botlhole described the effort. He also noted that the community used SALT in its efforts to address COVID, which was exciting for the sustainability fiend in me.
My post on WhatsApp allowed Kgosi Fisher to reconnect with Gloria Rakgotla and Tebby Joe. And during a visit to the capital, I met up with Tebby and Gloria. The world is a small SALTY place!
Botswana has a strong community structure with its Kgotlas and Ksogis and I see them as a perfect platform for use of SALT-CLCP. As a Peace Corps volunteer, I am considered a community asset, which I am hopeful will help me gain access to the community. I am excited about the potential to use SALT in my community-based work to address HIV, GBV, and Alcohol Abuse.
I hope to be back with more SALTY stories from Botswana. Stay tuned.....