The Botswana Federation of the Disabled (BOFOD) is the national affiliate of SAFOD which coordinates all activities through its member DPOs in Botswana
BOTSWANA: A quick Social Profile
Botswana, officially the Republic of Botswana, is a landlocked country located in Southern Africa. The citizens refer to themselves as Batswana (singular: Motswana. Formerly the British protectorate of Bechuanaland, Botswana adopted its new name after becoming independent within the Commonwealth on 30 September 1966. Since then, it has maintained a strong tradition of stable representative democracy, with a consistent record of uninterrupted democratic elections.
The following is the country’s quick facts/profile:
Population: 2 million
Area: 581,730 sq km (224,607 sq miles)
Major languages: English (official), Setswana
Major religions: Christianity, indigenous beliefs
Life expectancy: 54 years (men), 51 years (women)
GDP: 15813 (million current US$)
Source: BBC/World Bank
SAFOD and BOFOD partnership on AT-Info-Map Project
The Botswana Federation of the Disabled (BOFOD) is the national affiliate of SAFOD which coordinates all activities through its member DPOs in Botswana. BOFOD is a membership umbrella organization of Disability Peoples Organizations (DPOs) or organizations of persons with disabilities in Botswana to provide unified voice of all people with disabilities. BOFOD was formed in 2007 to advocate for rights of persons with disabilities in Botswana for purposes of inclusion in all areas of cultural, political and socio-economic development. The current members include DPOs registered under the Society’s Act whose constitution and mandates includes direct service, advocacy and lobbying of rights of persons with disabilities by persons with disabilities themselves.
BOFOD”s founding objectives include:
- To promote and advocate for the rights of people with disabilities;
- To advocate for and monitor the equalization of opportunities for people with disabilities as stipulated in the United Nation’s Standard Rules, and
- To coordinate and strengthen the capacity of the affiliated DPOs.
The vision of BOFOD is “An inclusive barrier free society, where people with disabilities fully enjoy their human rights.” The federation pursues the following mission statement:
“BOFOD is a non- profit organization that strives to lobby and advocate for a barrier free society in partnership with the Government, NGOs and private sector with the ultimate goal of ensuring that people with disabilities fully enjoy their human rights.”
BOFOD currently has a seven-member Board drawn from BOFOD affiliates that provides strategic direction through meetings throughout the year and ongoing involvement guidance of the organization. The management team is made up of the Executive Director with internship staff assisting the secretariat.
Since its inception, BOFOD has organized and has been involved in various activities towards the realization of its objectives. These have covered the following areas, among others, conducting community awareness building campaigns, workshops to sensitize the communities on disability issues; playing a significant role in lobbying for the enactment of the Bill on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities and disability policies; playing a leading role in fighting for the inclusion of disability in all programmes that are meant to sensitize the population on the dangers of HIV and Aids and other national programmes; lobbied for a Study on the Living Conditions of Persons With Activity Limitations; lobbied for access for inclusion of youth with disabilities on Youth Development fund, women and gender programmes and youth policies at national level; and building of stakeholder partnership regionally and internationally.
In this context, SAFOD has therefore benefited from the solid institutional structures and capacity that BOFOD has built over the years within its network of local DPOs, as evidenced by the various programs and activities outlined above, to effectively implement the activities of the AT-Info-Map project in Botswana. Indeed, SAFOD has relied on BOFOD’s linkages with the local environment to be able to interact with various stakeholders such as the AT suppliers, Government departments and agencies, AT service providers, the DPOs themselves, just to mention a few.
The AT situation in Botswana
In Botswana, SAFOD and Botswana’s work related to Assistive Technologies did not start with the AT-Info-Map project. AT was one of the important component in the surveys on Living Conditions among People with Activity Limitations in Developing Countries so far carried out in nine of the SAFOD’s ten countries in Southern Africa. These survey are part of SAFOD’s regional initiative to establish baseline data on living conditions among people with disabilities in Southern Africa, coordinate by the SINTEF, on behalf of the Norwegian Federation of Organizations of Disabled Persons (FFO) and SAFOD.
In Botswana the survey started in 2011 and was finalized in 2014, and the report was lunched on November 2016. In this survey, the assistive devices were categorized under information; communication; personal mobility; household items; personal care & protection; for handling products & goods; computer assistive, technology; and other devices.
The survey found that a total of 36.4% (348) use an assistive device, and that the use of assistive devices is slightly higher in urban than in rural areas, with males in Urban villages scoring particularly high. The difference between locations is however not statistically significant. More males than females report using an assistive device (39% and 33.5% respectively).
The assistive devices for personal mobility dominate completely with over 90% of those who confirm that they use an assistive device being in this category. Second is information devices with 15.2% and third communication with 5.3%.
The most important source of assistive device in Botswana is Government health services (45.9%), followed by private sources (19.4%). More than half (54.5%) obtained the device from Government services, while private/NGOs together was reported by 28.1%).
The large majority (70.4%) state that they were given the assistive device for free, while 19.2% had bought the device themselves while in 10.4% of the cases someone else bought the device for the person with disability.
A total of 66.7% of the mobility devices and 61.9% of the sensory devices were stated to be in good working condition.
The most common answer to the question about maintenance is that the device is not maintained (40.0%). This is followed by Government (22.4%), self (18.7%), and family (9.4%).