Strengthening People, Communities and movements
We have developed a cadre of community leaders, advocates and activators (COLAs) - These are drawn from members of the LGBTI community across the country ensuring national coverage, and engaging in advocacy and other change-oriented work at local, district and national levels. We create a new category of skilled allies and leaders within the community.
1.COLA program (Leadership development)
The project is focused on building leadership within the LGBTI community specifically focusing on strengthening skills on activism, mobilising communities and activating action for human rights. By end of 2019, LEGABIBO has committed to having developed a curriculum for COLAs, implemented the curriculum and put in place 18 COLAs across the country by the end of year 1. By September we had recruited and trained 10 COLAs from LGBTI community and PFLAG working in Gaborone, Phikwe, Francistown and Mochudi. In total before the end of 2019, we already have 13 COLAs doing work in the community.
For community strengthening work, COLAs build and strengthen community through connecting communities to each other by Organising social events such as picnics and outreaches so they keep the community connected. During such gatherings they inform the community on services offers, decrim and other agendas within the organisation.
Since our establishment in 1998, LEGABIBO has made efforts to draw attention to LBQ women needs and interest. First through creation of queer women only support group result in the formation of Iris (A queer led support groups). Through support from various partners and donors, LEGABIBO was able to draw attention to prevention and protection package appropriate for queer women. These include dental dams and finger court, leading to a comprehensive sexual and reproductive health education for queer women and healthcare workers and the product of an educational leaflet “LBQ - Dental dam illustrate pamphlet.
Black Queer DocX
The Shepherds Program
LEGABIBO works with Transgender individual activists whose aims are to transform social for Transgender people. We are currently supporting a Transgender support group called BLING which was formed by a Transgender individual who has gone through strategic litigation case for gender marker change to support other Transgender person. In August 2019, LEGABIBO in partnership with SALC, HER, Accountability International and BLING conducted a community engagement to develop a framework and strategies for Policy and legal reform on Transgender rights in Botswana. The findings of the dialogue are used to inform the development of policy guidelines.Through this, LEGABIBO has been able to connect communities and movement through Pflag initiatives, Queer Artivism, Black Queer DocX, The Shepherds Program and promoting transgender inclusion through formation of trans*diverse collectives.
Catalyzing Movement beyond the rainbow
We see movement as individuals, groups and organizations doing work on promoting and defending the human rights of LGBTI. We achieve this through joint advocacy initiatives intersecting different agendas. COLAs catalyze movement by mobilizing allies to support LGBTI work and increase increasing support for LGBTI.
Progressive Society: Social mobilization
This is public engagement project geared towards changing attitudes and mindsets and transforming societal attitudes towards members of the LGBTI community. The change is achieved through public engagement initiatives, media advocacy and engagement
REFORMING POLICY AND LAW
1. STRATEGIC LITIGATION
a.Freedom of Association
On 16 February 2012, LEGABIBO applied for registration as a soceity. On 12 March 2012, the application was rejected on the basis that the Botswana Constitution does not recognise homosexuals and that the objectives of the organisation are contrary to section 7(2) of the Societies Act. LEGABIBP appealed against this decision. On 25th March 2013, LEGABIBO filed a case before the High Court of Botswana, asking the court to review the decision to refuse to register LEGABIBO. Both the High Court and the Court of Appeal then ruled in favour of LEGABIBO and we were registered in April 2016
In November 2017, LEGABIBO was admitted as an Amicus on the case where a member of the community was challenging Section 164 of the penal code. On the 14th March the case was heard before 3 judges in the High Court of Botswana. There was high community presence. Through participation in court LEGABIBO aims to strengthen and build community to take pride in their sexuality. In addition sharing the court space is aimed at building movement so that the LGBTI community gains support from members of the public, professionals and build allies. On the 11th June 2019, a full bench of the High Court of Botswana decriminalized consensual same sex sexual acts, the Attorney General has since appealed the case and the date for the appeal hearing is yet to be set.
2. LEGAL REFORM
LEGABIBO is advocating for Policy reform and reforming anti-discrimination laws in relation to sexual orientation and gender identity.
3. NATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL AND REGIONAL ADVOCACY
We are a member of the national technical working group on the UPR; it is through these structures that we advocate to outlaw discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and gender identity and expression.
CHANGING SYSTEMS AND SERVICES
We continue to ensure access to services for members of our community. Currently we create demand for HIV prevention, testing and treatment among MSM. We also advocate for a focus on the prevention needs of LBQ women. SRHR service provision creates opportunities to learn and shape best practice models for use in advocating for change in state service delivery. We focus on paraprofessional service delivery in a variety of fields (mental health, paralegal support, business skills, etc.) through the community work of community leaders, advocates and activators developed.
1.COMMUNITY HEALTH AND WELLNESS CENTRE
LEGABIBO runs a wellness center which provides various sexual reproductive services for queer people that include HIV Testing, STI screening, psychosocial support, safe sex commodities (lubes, condoms, finger cots, dental damns). HIV testing and other sexual reproductive health services are offered through referrals to Tebelopele and BOFWA. These services are accessible through our Peer Outreach Workers, COLAS and members of staff.
2. CREATING SAFE SPACES
LEGABIBO runs a safe space for gay men and men who have sex with men, and queer women in both our Gaborone and Francistown Offices. These are accessible through Peer Outreach Workers, COLAS and members of staff
4: Movement Vehicle
LEGABIBO is guided and overseen by a skilled and committed Board, which is elected from our 40+ paid up membership. We have a secretariat of 11 staff members, led by experienced human rights defenders, development professionals and activists. Over the years, we have built up a pool of 20 skilled, and active volunteers who play a key role in leading and organizing community and movement. LEGABIBO has 2 physical centres/Drop-in-centers in Gaborone and Francistownand continues to operate in 9 districts through Community Organisers Leaders and Activators (COLAs).