Ambassador Van Vranken’s Remarks for the Botswana GBV Prevention & Support Centre (BGBVC) VISIT

October 12, 2023

As prepared for delivery

  • Botswana GBV Centre CEO, Lorato (Lo-ra-to) Moalusi (Moa-lusi)
  • USAID/Botswana Acting Health Office Director, Ms. Meghan Mattingly
  • Botswana GBV Centre staff

Dumelang! Good afternoon.

I am truly delighted for this opportunity to come and visit your drop in center and appreciate in person the important work that you do in responding to GBV and supporting survivors. The U.S. government, through PEPFAR, has partnered with the Government of Botswana and civil society organizations to deliver post gender based violence (GBV) support services. Our PEPFAR program ensures that GBV is addressed through both the clinical and community interventions, including support of community outreach activities for education and awareness on gender-based violence. This is part of our overall efforts to advance the goals of the U.S. government’s Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-Based Violence globally. Additionally, GBV is one of my priority areas during my term in Botswana. I am engaging actively in this space and working with all the agencies and sections within the U.S. Embassy to show our commitment in addressing GBV in Botswana, as this is a critical issue that both of our countries face. I am also pleased with all the partnerships that the U.S. government continues to nurture and advance in supporting both the government and civil society organizations such as BGBVC. The work that you do is recognized and appreciated as one of the few organizations offering prevention and support services to survivors of GBV in Botswana.

I understand that the Botswana National Relationship Study (NRS) that was conducted by the Ministry of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs in 2018 indicates that 37% of women and 21% of men have experienced some form of GBV in their lifetime, including Intimate Partner Violence. Some of these individuals have been supported by organizations such as BGBVC through various interventions offered here. That’s why your center is so important in providing a safe space for survivors to receive help. I encourage you to continue leading in this space and working closely with others to provide comprehensive care to those who need you the most. I am told that most GBV cases go unreported or under-reported. This shows how relevant the work you do through community mobilization is, including engaging community leaders such as Dikgosi and other key stakeholders who become whistleblowers to acts of GBV. It is worth noting that creating demand for GBV services does not only educate the nation but also helps those in need to come to your drop in center for care and support.

I was thrilled to hear that BGBVC expanded emergency shelter services to men during the COVID- 19 pandemic which is a true testament of inclusive programming. I would like to commend all of you for all your efforts and hard work in addressing GBV as well as supporting those who need your services the most. Thank you all.