Botswana Health Communication Environment

  • Population:
    1,639,833 (July 2006 est)
  • Population below the poverty line:
    30.3% (2003)
  • Age structure:
    0-14 years: 38.3% (male 319,531 / female 309,074)
    15-64 years: 57.9% (male 460,692 / female 488,577)
    65 years and over: 3.8% (male 23,374 / female 38,585) (2006 est.)
  • Literacy rate:
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 79.8%
    male: 76.9%
    female: 82.4% (2003 est.)
  • Infant mortality rate:
    total: 53.7 deaths / 1,000 live births
    male: 54.92 deaths / 1,000 live births
    female: 52.44 deaths / 1,000 live births (2006 est.)
  • Life expectancy rate:
    total population: 33.74 years
    male: 33.9 years
    female: 33.56 years (2006 est.)
  • HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
    37.3% (2003 est.)
  • HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
    350,000 (2003 est.)
  • HIV/AIDS - deaths:
    33,000 (2003 est.)
  • Languages: 
    Setswana 78.2%, Kalanga 7.9%, Sekgalagadi 2.8%, English 2.1% (official), other 8.6%, unspecified 0.4% (2001 census)

Our History

PSI’s Choose Life campaign has worked with Soul City, South Africa, since 2001.

Our Mission and objectives

To impact on priority health and development issues, in particular HIV/AIDS by:

  • building local capacity for effective health communication to strengthen the country’s fight against HIV/AIDS
  • adapting Soul City’s South African media for local use
  • creating a regional network across the Southern African Development Community to share best practice in health and development communication in the region

Our philosophy

We focus on stakeholder consultation, allowing organisations representing our audience groups to give us feedback on our outputs and to help us shape our longer term strategies.

Choose Life’s edutainment methodology involves extensive formative research, literature research and empirical audience research. All materials produced are pre-tested with the target audience to ensure resonance, clarity and effectiveness.

What we’ve done

Choose Life has produced a Setswana edutainment radio series aimed at eight to 12 year olds, and we have printed a Living Positively booklet, distributed across the country, and a Violence against women booklet.

Our 2001 Evaluation Outcomes

  • creating an opportunity for communication and discussion amongst peers, and awareness around the need to communicate;
  • improving attitudes and awareness around gender based violence;
  • serving as a catalyst for assertiveness in girls,
  • improving awareness and attitudes around people living with AIDS, and stigmatisation.
  • Exposure to Choose Life has been shown to be a significant predictor of accurate knowledge of HIV/AIDS; of positive attitudes around youth sexuality, stigma, gender issues and risky behaviour; an ability to act to prevent HIV/AIDS, and reported use of condoms.
  • In addition
    • 79% of targeted 12 – 16 year olds saw the Living Positively magazine
    • 62% read it, or read parts of it
    • 31% still had a copy one year later
    • 16% of Botswana youth rated Choose Life as one of the top three sources of information on HIV/AIDS

Our 2006 Evaluation Outcomes

Quantatative measures of Choose Life 2001 – 2006 will be available towards the end of 2007.

2001 – 2006 Audience research excerpts
“I want to be like Richard because he behaves well and if I have wronged others I should rather apologize than saying bad things to them. I should tell them that I will never do what I did to them again and I have also learnt that I am not supposed to make fun of others saying their mother is sick with HIV/AIDS.” (Soul Buddyz 1 Radio, Urban listener, 8-10 year olds, Botswana)

“I thought it is a brilliant piece [referring to the Choose Life booklet] because a lot of our youth in Botswana didn’t know how to report their cases; there are many cases in which many young girls have been abused. They didn’t know where to report the cases. I think teachers should be issued with the booklets so as to teach the children about where to report such cases.” (Rural, in-school boys)

“They teach us to take care when using the road.” (Rural in-school boys)

Mid-term review process evaluation, 2004
“This evaluation shows the Soul City Regional Programme (SCRP) going from strength to strength. After a slow start (in the sense that relevant capacities were poor in the region as well as in the sense that partners joined the programme at different stages), the programme appears to be in full swing. Although the programme has had to revise downwards some of the initial delivery targets, progress remains substantial and a significant change is being made in the region’s capacity.”
(Independent Evaluator)

Contact us

For more information on PSI Botswana email

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