PRESS STATEMENT: Capacity Enhancement for the Political Advancement of Woman Project Launch and Symposium

Go ruta Mosadi ke go ruta Sechaba

Democracy Works Foundation launches a pioneering program, Capacity Enhancement for the Political Advancement of Women (CEPAW) at a stakeholder engagement symposium on 17 June 2021 at the Hilton Hotel in Gaborone. CEPAW is funded by the US Government through the US Embassy in Botswana.

MUST WATCH: Address by Minister Anna Mokgethi at the CEPAW launch co-hosted by DWF-Botswana.

CEPAW is a pioneering program aiming to increase the role and influence of women participating in political institutions and decision-making in Botswana, by building a platform for the emergence of women political leaders and strengthening the capacity of current women’s networks and groups across the political spectrum.

CEPAW emerges from the growing recognition of the untapped capacity and potential of women and women’s leadership. The value of women’s political participation has been proven tangible gains for democracy, including greater responsiveness to citizen needs, increased cooperation across party and ethnic lines, and a more sustainable future. Despite these benefits, in Botswana, women are under-represented in political and decision-making processes affecting their lives and livelihoods. Following the elections held in October 2019, only 7 out of 65 parliamentarians (representing 9.5%) are women. However, of the seven, four came through presidential nomination, meaning only three women managed to secure their seats through elections. It was only in 2004 when Botswana obtained the highest representation of women in Parliament, although this was a meager 17%. At a local government level, only 11% of seats are accounted for by women following the 2019 elections. Since 1965, no woman has ever been put forward as a presidential candidate by any of the political parties.

Despite Botswana being the oldest democracy in Southern Africa and having adopted progressive instruments such as the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol on Gender and Development and the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063 on gender equality as a fundamental human right, as well as endorsing the National Vision 2036 that recognizing gender equality as central to socio-economic, political and cultural development, gaps are still visible across the political and decision making structures. Even when women gain representation, their influence is limited due to the centralization of party control in male-dominated political party leadership and gendered norms and procedures in political institutions.

The CEPAW launch will introduce the program to relevant and strategic partners with a particular interest in Political Parties, Civil Society, academia, government, media, and the private sector. To engender interest and responsiveness DWF will use this platform to identify areas of coordination among strategic partners and to raise awareness about the program. This platform will also offer stakeholders an opportunity to offer reflections and advice on best practices. Other objectives include:

  • Reflecting on the history and challenges that women face in politics from the perspective and experiences of the various stakeholders.
  • Introducing the various interventions that CEPAW intends to implement in Botswana.
  • Reflecting on a current research study, and the various ways in which research findings will shape the direction of the program.

The event will close with a panel discussion on the challenges and opportunities of re-energizing the collective efforts of women. A discussion aimed at finding locally appropriate solutions to inclusion issues in the context of Botswana’s political landscape.

Key stakeholders participating in the launch include:

  • Anna Mokgethi- Minister of Nationality, Gender, and Immigration
  • E Craig Cloud- United States Ambassador to Botswana
  • Silvia-Bopp Hamrouni- Deputy Ambassador, Delegation of the European Union to Botswana
  • Ngatangue Mavis Mukungu- Chief Information Officer-Independent Electoral Commission
  • Natasha Hirschfield- Programme Specialist, Governance-UNDP
  • Dr Kebapetse Lotshwao- Head, Department of Political and Administrative Studies- University of Botswana
  • Ida Mokereitane- Executive Director- Emang Basadi
  • Thapelo Phutheo- Director- Gender Affairs
  • Dr Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi- Political Veteran
  • Dr David Mandiyanike- DWF Associate

As well as representatives from the following political parties; Alliance for Progressives, Botswana Democratic Party, Movement for Democracy, Botswana People’s Party, Umbrella for Democratic Change, Botswana National Front, and Botswana Congress Party.

Democracy Works Foundation (DWF) is a southern African non-profit organisation focused on democracy development in the region. With headquarters in South Africa, DWF works through its country offices to provide tools to develop resilient democracies. DWF is legally registered in Botswana as a non-profit organization.

For media engagement and interviews, contact:

South Africa:

Gugulethu Makhubo, Communications Manager –


Yvonne Kgwarae, Project Officer –



Melusi is a lawyer who has worked in the civil society space in Eswatini for over 15 years. He is a seasoned facilitator in human rights, constitutional law, and a number of laws in Eswatini. He has also worked in the media space, faith-based sector and has vast experience in mediation, advocacy, programme design, research, and leadership. He sits in several non-governmental organizations in Eswatini.  He is passionate about social justice, human rights, public speaking, nature conservation, and imparting knowledge on issues of law and democracy. He possesses a Diploma in Law and LLB obtained from the University of Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) and is an admitted attorney of the High Court having been admitted in 2014

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