Botswana Centre for Public Integrity was officially registered as a trust on September 20 2017. In the five years since that momentous occasion, the organization has grown in leaps and bounds, to now being counted among Botswana’s vibrant civil society organizations that advocate in their own ways for the betterment of Botswana. More than anything, the reception and support of Batswana has been the driving force behind BCPI’s efforts towards good governance and public integrity.
Of our many activities towards public education on good democratic governance, there are some that have stood out to not only the organization but participants as well.
Governance Regional Tours
These have been the backbone of BCPI’s advocacy activities and are to be credited for introducing BCPI to a broader audience outside of Gaborone, where the organization is based. The regional tours were born out of the idea that since Batswana in rural areas and villages vote in high numbers, they would benefit from being more informed on civic rights and responsibilities centered on accountability, integrity and transparency. BCPI saw the need to ensure that they are included in governance conversations, and that their voices are also heard. The tours are a nationwide advocacy campaign meant to evoke introspection on leadership and politics which are closely linked to the economic status of the citizens. Thus far, the governance tours have engaged representatives from civil society organizations and members of the general public in various villages across Botswana.
Young Leaders Integrity School (YLIS)
YLIS has trained close to 500 young people since its commencement 4 years ago. It is a one-of-a- kind anti-corruption and accountability training for future leaders, managed and implemented by BCPI. YLIS targets secondary school students, young people in tertiary schools and those that are out of school. It is meant to invigorate a sense of eagerness in the youth, through teachings on how to stand up against corruption and how to achieve greater transparency in the governance of their country. BCPI saw the need to create a space for reaching out to and interacting with young people, so as to get a better understanding of the thoughts and opinions of Botswana’s future leaders, on governance and integrity.
BCPI has successfully created a profile and relationships outside of Botswana, with other civil society organizations and general stakeholders in governance issues. We have leveraged these relationships to create dialogue on governance issues that are of concern to both Botswana and the SADC region. The regional webinars have so far brought awareness on issues such as transnational corruption, whistleblower protection, asset recovery to mention but a few. These webinars would not have been possible without the continued support of external stakeholders, who have graciously honored our invitations throughout the years; we are eternally grateful.
Integrity Week and the Integrity Walk
As a show of intention towards international anti-corruption initiatives, BCPI celebrates anti- corruption day annually on December 9th. The organization has created the integrity week, which runs on the week of December 9th, with various activities such as commentary on radio and print media, webinar discussions on our social media pages, the ‘I say no to corruption’ art competition and the integrity walk.
The integrity walk specifically, has grown into a brand in its own right in the past two years; The walk is a BCPI initiative meant to physically display the solidarity of Batswana towards fighting corruption. Ordinary members of society are given the chance to walk against corruption in the company of chief walkers and BCPI staff. Chief walkers are usually members of the society who in one capacity or the other, are involved in the governance of Botswana. We have previously had the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC), the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) as chief walkers, to name but a few. The integrity walk brand enjoys the support of external stakeholders such as the Botswana Defence Force Athletics club, which has consistently provided marshals for the walk. We are eternally grateful.
‘I SAY NO TO CORRUPTION’ Art Competition
The ‘I SAY NO TO CORRUPTION’ art competition is another one of BCPI’s creations that is being nurtured towards national recognition. The competition aims to bring in the creative arts industry into issues of governance through challenging artists to express different forms of corruption as per a set theme each year. Thus far, the art competition has received entrants from performance and visual arts as well as creative writing. This competition forms part of BCPI’s goal to build a demand for anti-corruption reforms through integrity and anti-corruption education.
As the organization celebrates these 5 years of existence, it cannot be overstated, that there is still much work to be done towards achieving good governance in Botswana. However, BCPI is still optimistic about the journey moving forward because Batswana have shown a willingness to support our advocacy for good governance, especially as it relates to the fight against corruption. We step out everyday with renewed strength to preach the anti-corruption message because we have seen the warmth with which our message is being received. Undoubtedly, BCPI will continue to grow in leaps and bounds and continue to reach even further parts of this great republic. We look forward to these engagements and dialogue. Thank you Batswana, re a leboga!