Botswana: Taking action for sustainable development

3 August 2017

Efforts to End the AIDS epidemic and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are closely linked and can lead to a wider, people-centred social transformation.

In Botswana, the “Communities Acting Together to Control HIV (CATCH)” approach has been implemented since June 2015, aiming to invest in communities to lead the AIDS response in the South-East District of the country.

Led by the Government of Botswana, collective efforts are being made by national stakeholders with the support of UNAIDS and USAID. Civil society partners—FHI360, Humana People to People and The Constellation—are playing a key role to implement the approach at the community level.

CATCH engages tribal leaders to drive their community members to receive the appropriate medical services on HIV and AIDS, in addition to general health checkups and tuberculosis (TB) screening and referrals.

The approach also provides an important social platform for communities. Community members discuss and take action on a variety of topics beyond HIV infections and AIDS, including drug and alcohol abuse, teenage pregnancies, youth, crime prevention and gender-based violence. Also, by undertaking a participatory assessment of needs for a community, which lays a foundation for identifying a community action plan, they come to understand what kind of collective efforts are needed for solving the challenges they face.

To this end, CATCH can be a vehicle to ensure that more people in Botswana will have access to both HIV prevention and treatment services. It is also necessary to address social norms that prevent people from accessing services.