Concerting in Botswana

Visit the Concerting page for a general description of the Concerting intervention.

In Botswana we began Concerting in communities in 2009, facilitated by a team trained centrally. Each team had 4 facilitators and a team leader. The District AIDS Coordinators (DAC) in each region helped to identify relevant service providers in each Concerting community and provided their contact details. We updated and refined these lists through organizations in the communities, such as the Village Multi Sectoral AIDS Committees (VMSAC). Word of mouth helped to identify other service providers such as traditional doctors.

We initially spoke to service providers individually to share and discuss findings about choice disability with them. We then set up a forum meeting of as many service providers as possible. After discussing choice disability together, the forum members developed plans for activities they could undertake in concert geared towards the choice disabled.

Follow up in each community, at least monthly, revealed that the service providers faced difficulties in acting as a group. Some of the formal coordination bodies for service providers, such as the VMSAC, were not active in practice. Even bodies that were active, found it difficult to combine concerting initiative with their existing work plans. Most actions related to the information about choice disability were taken by individual service providers.

Service providers at a concerting forum meeting in Botswana

We found the most successful Concerting happened when there was a strong local champion for the process, or when it could be taken up by an existing active body. Village Health Committees most commonly took the lead; we successfully fitted Concerting discussions into their scheduled meetings. In some communities, other existing groups (government or non-government) took the lead and we worked with them. Activities organised by the different Concerting lead bodies have included drama competitions, message dissemination through music, and talk shows in a clinic and at a kgotla.

To learn more about concerting activities in Botswana read a report on a drama competition organised by a concerting forum.