Botswana: First Lady Doles Out Advice to Faith Organisations

Gaborone — Religious leaders have been urged to give teachings that emphasise gender equality and self-esteem as well as ensure there was no misinterpretation of scriptural texts that might exacerbate domestic violence.

This was said by First Lady Neo Masisi at a Faith Based Organisations (FBO) capacity building workshop on gender based violence (GBV) in Gaborone on December 7.

As custodians of religion, religious leaders must teach against abuse and empower congregants to value their own relationships to ensure strong family structures, she said.

She encouraged them to introduce GBV programmes catering for both victims and perpetrators.

Such programmes, she said, should provide safe spaces for survivors within institutions, encourage and support women to stand for leadership positions.

The First Lady challenged religious leaders and congregants to address stigma faced by victims and survivors when they came forward.

In addition, she urged them to do away with the silence surrounding GBV issues.

Ms Masisi also said religious leaders should be trained on GBV.

The First Lady applauded the Ministry of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs and FBO for organising the workshop which she said was a response to the call made by President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi in September for Batswana to collectively address challenges posed by GBV.

It was especially admirable that FBO headed the call for collective efforts in fighting escalating incidences of GBV including the brutal killing of women and defilement of children, the First Lady said.