The youth mobilization center stands as a beacon of hope for orphans and vulnerable children and youth providing opportunity to rise above the consequences of their dire situations. The services provided encourage personal strength, resilience, and a willingness to forge ahead in the face of insurmountable poverty, gender inequality, and in most cases, stigma and discrimination. The focus of our vision is to provide the necessary tools for a better quality of life in the face of adversity.
By providing basic life skills, education, and youth empowerment programs and strategies through our mobilization center, and having their participation and their accomplishments will contribute to the betterment of their respective communities and the development of Botswana as a whole. This requires open collaboration and community partnerships, where SOCOBA’s goals and activities strengthen the community and create a unified voice to fight against HIV/AIDS stigma and discrimination.
We believe in order to achieve this requires formidable programs that capacitate orphans and vulnerable children and youth to keep themselves healthy and free from disease, and become able to make life choices that promote an economically contributive future for themselves and to their families. It requires mentoring and solid, lasting relationships that offer loving and caring from people whom they can count on.
Our volunteers take a community-based approach in which the orphans and vulnerable children are all individual stakeholders in our programs and facilities. We strive to provide our children with the skills, knowledge, and hope so that they can become self-reliant and live productive lives. Our services are based on local resources and needs, which allows us the ability to work with local and international volunteers and trainers to facilitate. We ultimately strive to engage the youth of our villages in order to instill a sense of value and purpose in themselves, so they are equipped to contribute to and better their communities.
COMMUNITIES WE SERVE
SOCOBA serves several villages in Botswana including the villages of Mabule, Tshidilamolomo, Sekutlhane, Mmakgori, Lerolwane, and Leporung. These villages are classified as very remote and are located in the southern district of Botswana along the border of South Africa. This area sits on the drought-stricken Molopo River that separates the native Barolong tribe from the neighboring South African Bahurutshe. Both Afrikaans and Setswana are native languages in this area, and most of the younger generation and government workers not local to Mabule speak English.
There are approximately 5000 people residing in these villages, and in Mabule, where our youth mobilization center is located. There is a primary school (grades 1-6), a community junior secondary school (grades 7-9) a health clinic that serves the five neighboring villages, a kgotla (Traditional Court), one main trading store, and several bar/bottle stores. The main sources of income for the villagers is cattle rearing and vegetable production, and most of the villagers live at or below the poverty line. Mabule was recently wired with electricity, and the main road is a secondary road consisting of sand and gravel, and leads to a tarred road to the nearest town of Lobatse.
Our youth mobilization center and programming is aligned with Botswana’s National Strategic Framework for HIV and AIDS, and aims to strengthen the gaps that exist within this framework. Botswana’s youth face multiple key drivers of HIV transmission including: Multiple and concurrent sexual partners, intergenerational sex, alcohol abuse and high risk behavior, stigma and discrimination, and gender bias and sexual abuse. In response to these challenges, our strategies aim to:
- Provide effective behavior change education and strategies pertaining to HIV/AIDS transmission, and put an end to misinformation in our communities. (Community Surveys and Educational Campaigns)
- 0% new infections amongst our beneficiaries by 2030 (Infection reduction). (Behavioral Change Communications and routine collection of Clinical infection rate data)
- Provide a safe place for vulnerable youth and adolescents to gather, learn, discuss, and be emboldened with the information they need to make the best decisions for their futures. (Sign in records for events, educational conferences, services received, etc )
- Serve as a beacon of hope in a community stigmatized by HIV/AIDS and increase community ownership and participation in youth based programs. (Volunteerism and partnerships)
- Put an end to stigma and discrimination. (Community Surveys)
- Develop basic life skills through concrete and sustainable resource developments in partnership between Botswana schools and businesses and schools and businesses in the Washington, DC area. (Program development and usage)
- Provide meaningful and measurable evidence that can be used to shape and sustain future strategies, programs, and responses. (tracking measurable indicators)
Ultimately, we aim to strengthen community involvement and empower our youth to take control over and improve upon their own health and lifestyle, so as not to have to rely on intergenerational and economically asymmetrical relationships.