Men’s Dialogue on Gender Based Violence (Pitso Ya Borre)

On the 17th of November, the French Embassy hosted a Men’s Dialogue on GBV (Pitso Ya Borre) at the French Resident.

On Tuesday 17 November 2020, the French Embassy in Botswana organized a Men’s Dialogue on GBV (Pitso Ya Borre), in partnership with the Department of Gender Affairs and the UN Resident Coordinator’s office.

Honourable Anna Maria Mokgethi, Minister of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs, His Worship Father Maphongo, Mayor of Gaborone and the UN Resident Coordinator, Mr Zia Choudhury, graced this event by their presence and their speeches. Many representatives of public institutions, the private sector, development partners and NGOs attended the event to share their views on GBV.

Kgosi Thwane, the tradional leader of Artesia village, took the responsability of animating the fruitful conversation during which many topics were discussed by the participants.

Equality between women and men is a priority of the French government. It has been declared the great cause of President Macron’s mandate. The French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs has been promoting this commitment internationally through its feminist diplomacy for many years now. Here in Botswana, we are striving to translate this feminist diplomacy into concrete actions on the ground, in collaboration with public institutions, development partners and civil society.

This year on March 4, for International Women’s Day, just before nations closed their borders to curtail the spread of Covid-19, the French Embassy organised a reception. On this specific day, in her speech, H.E. Ambassador Beau detailed her agenda for implementing the French feminist diplomacy in Botswana, consisting of two major axes.

Firstly, to work with Botswana’s civil society : our achievement this year in this respect has been the signature of 5 agreements to fund small-scale projects and development initiatives to strengthen Botswana’s civil society and promote social, economic and cultural rights in the country. We gave priority to local NGOs working on the protection, health and empowerment of women in a post Covid-19 situation, particularly targeting the most vulnerable groups of women such as victims of GBV, women in rural areas and unskilled women.

Secondly, to create a dialogue platform under the guise of a women’s conversation, but not only reserved for women whereby people interested in women’s issues could get together every two months to exchange informally on a specific theme related to women, such as women and the law, women in arts, women and health…to name but a few.

The idea was to start these dialogues in July this year but Covid 19 decided otherwise. We therefore decided to opt for a completely different, bolder option, and took the opportunity of International Men’s Day to discuss the issue of GBV. This is how the idea of bringing together a wide spectrum of men emerged and the Embassy was very honoured to be able to facilitate a discussion on an issue which is very detrimental to society.

In a space where free speech and respect for others were guaranteed, the insightful discussions helped in identifying the roots of GBV and lead to innovative solutions to reduce them. This event was therefore a kind of spin-off that will lead to the first women’s discussion at the French Residence at the beginning of next year.

Last updated on: 19 November 2020