Mike’s Peace Corps Assignment

Country: Botswana
Program: HIV/AIDS Capacity Building Project
Job Title: NGO Capacity Builder
Dates of Service: 4/17/09 – 5/31/13

Peace Corps Botswana sought to develop a program that would meet the intersecting goals of the Government of Botswana’s National Strategic Framework for HIV/AIDS (2003 – 2008), the US Mission’s PEPFAR Country Operational Plan, and Peace Corps’ commitment to addressing HIV/AIDS and supporting vulnerable populations.  Peace Corps Botswana seeks to address the need for civil society to play a more significant role in the prevention of new infections, as well as in the care and support of those affected and infected.

Specifically, Peace Corps Botswana proposed the creation of an NGO Capacity Building project. This project, funded thanks to support from the US President’s Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief (PEFPAR) placed 10 PEPFAR- funded Volunteers with 10 different Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and/or Community Based Organizations (CBOs) that strive to mobilize and implement community-based and led responses to HIV/AIDS. Priority was, and continues to be, given to those organizations presently involved or hoping to be involved in support to orphans and vulnerable children, as well as in the provision of basic palliative care (home based care).

In keeping with the goals of PEPFAR, priority was given to organizations based in areas of Botswana with the highest prevalence rates and where the greatest number of vulnerable persons are found.

Peace Corps collaborates with the Botswana Network of AIDS Service Organizations (BONASO). Many NGOs and CBOs are registered with BONASO and benefit from being a part of this network of organizations working across the country to address HIV/AIDS.

My group of ten Peace Corps Volunteers will arrive for pre-service training in mid-April 2009. Following eight weeks of training, I will most likely be placed with a small NGO or CBO working in the area of orphans and vulnerable children (OVC). NGO Capacity Building Volunteers will live in the communities where the host organizations are located, ranging from small rural villages to larger cities. I will have a mandate to work toward the following:

  • The introduction and/or strengthening of appropriate programming strategies and programming skills (i.e. design implementation, monitoring and evaluation, etc.);
  • The growth of organizational capacities (management, financial, administrative, etc.) and the establishment of appropriate and effective systems;
  • The development of networks between NGOs/CBOs, government, private sector, and international partners;
  • The stimulation of creativity and growth of both the confidence and skills needed for successful resource mobilization;
  • The reinvigoration or introduction of the value of volunteerism leading to an increase in the number of citizens participating in HIV/AIDS programming and activities at the community level;
  • The expansion of community understanding about HIV/AIDS and the growth of a commitment to the values of Botswana’s Vision 2016, leading to the reduction of stigma and discrimination;
  • The expansion of community understanding concerning available Government HIV/AIDS programs, services and resources and the increase in citizen use of what is available.

While the general mandate of every volunteer in the NGO program is the same, individual work plans are likely to vary greatly from placement to placement. These work plans will be drawn up in collaboration with the NGO director or counterpart. As such, they will reflect the strengths, challenges adn priorities of the organization and the communities where we will serve.