The youth mobilization center stands as a beacon of hope for orphans and vulnerable children and youth providing opportunity to rise above the consequences of their dire situations. The services provided encourage personal strength, resilience, and a willingness to forge ahead in the face of insurmountable poverty, gender inequality, and in most cases, stigma and discrimination. The focus of our vision is to provide the necessary tools for a better quality of life in the face of adversity.
By providing basic life skills, education, and youth empowerment programs and strategies through our mobilization center, and having their participation and their accomplishments will contribute to the betterment of their respective communities and the development of Botswana as a whole. This requires open collaboration and community partnerships, where SOCOBA’s goals and activities strengthen the community and create a unified voice to fight against HIV/AIDS stigma and discrimination.
We believe in order to achieve this requires formidable programs that capacitate orphans and vulnerable children and youth to keep themselves healthy and free from disease, and become able to make life choices that promote an economically contributive future for themselves and to their families. It requires mentoring and solid, lasting relationships that offer loving and caring from people whom they can count on.
Our volunteers take a community-based approach in which the orphans and vulnerable children are all individual stakeholders in our programs and facilities. We strive to provide our children with the skills, knowledge, and hope so that they can become self-reliant and live productive lives. Our services are based on local resources and needs, which allows us the ability to work with local and international volunteers and trainers to facilitate. We ultimately strive to engage the youth of our villages in order to instill a sense of value and purpose in themselves, so they are equipped to contribute to and better their communities.
Communities We Serve
Currently, there are 450+ registered orphans and vulnerable children in our village catchment area. However, we anticipate that this number will continue to increase making the need even greater.
Our youth mobilization center and programming is aligned with Botswana’s National Strategic Framework for HIV and AIDS, and aims to strengthen the gaps that exist within this framework. Botswana’s youth face multiple key drivers of HIV transmission including: Multiple and concurrent sexual partners, intergenerational sex, alcohol abuse and high risk behavior, stigma and discrimination, and gender bias and sexual abuse. In response to these challenges, our strategies aim to:
- Provide effective behavior change education and strategies pertaining to HIV/AIDS transmission, and put an end to misinformation in our communities. (Community Surveys and Educational Campaigns)
- 0% new infections amongst our beneficiaries by 2030 (Infection reduction). (Behavioral Change Communications and routine collection of Clinical infection rate data)
- Provide a safe place for vulnerable youth and adolescents to gather, learn, discuss, and be emboldened with the information they need to make the best decisions for their futures. (Sign in records for events, educational conferences, services received, etc )
- Serve as a beacon of hope in a community stigmatized by HIV/AIDS and increase community ownership and participation in youth based programs. (Volunteerism and partnerships)
- Put an end to stigma and discrimination. (Community Surveys)
- Develop basic life skills through concrete and sustainable resource developments in partnership between Botswana schools and businesses and schools and businesses in the Washington, DC area. (Program development and usage)
- Provide meaningful and measurable evidence that can be used to shape and sustain future strategies, programs, and responses. (tracking measurable indicators)
Ultimately, we aim to strengthen community involvement and empower our youth to take control over and improve upon their own health and lifestyle, so as not to have to rely on intergenerational and economically asymmetrical relationships.
Life Skills : The youth of SOCOBA face a unique and difficult challenge due to the remoteness of their villages. Opportunities for regular income and employment are scarce and this contributes to the perpetual cycle of poverty and disease. We believe that support in the following areas will help alleviate this endless cycle and improve the quality of life and health of our beneficiaries:
- Micro-finance/Vocational Education : To help end poverty and begin a life of economic stability, providing vocational training and small business opportunities can vastly improve lives. We start with talent identification and interest, and provide guidance and financial support to help enable economic self-reliance.
- HIV Prevention/Treatment/Education : HIV prevention, treatment, and education is central to our mission and vision. Through partnerships like Praekelt and the local clinics and schools, we are able to connect with our youth and disseminate regular and reliable information through technology, as well as conduct routine health checks, scenario strategizing, and testing administration and monitoring.
- Academic : We provide academic support and tutoring to ensure that our youth are adequately prepared for standardized testing and are keeping up with a rigorous academic life.
- Transportation : The road to Mabule and our surrounding villages is a secondary road making transportation scarce and unreliable. By providing regular transportation, we can ensure that our physically disabled youth and youth who require routine medical check-ups get to them every time.
- Social/Emotional : SOCOBA recognizes that social and emotional support are non-existent in many of our youths lives. We offer a beacon of hope and a place to turn to for support and guidance in the following areas:
- Guidance and Counseling :Social and emotional support is essential for our youth. Many have been through serious loss or separation from their immediate family and have no one to turn to. We make sure they have someone to turn to whenever they need.
- Empowerment : We empower our youth through goal setting and confidence building activities.
- Crisis Intervention : Our youth face immediate and long term crises often. SOCOBA is a safe place they can go to if they need to avoid a difficult situation. Our counselors are available to talk them through difficult situations and help them see reasonable courses of action.
- Scenario Strategizing : Many of our youth face situations that place them in vulnerable positions, often leading to risky behavior and reliance on “Sugar Daddies” or intergenerational relationships. Our drama and choir groups allow participants to act out situations and paint a message to others through self-expression, song, and acting.
- Clothing : Many of our youth have high absenteeism rates due to a lack of clothing and school uniforms. We offer free clothing and uniforms to our beneficiaries through generous clothing drives and donations. The clothing we provide not only improves school attendance, but also builds self-esteem and a sense of empowerment.
- Wellness : Health and wellness builds confidence and boosts self-esteem which are two things found missing in the lives of our youth. Our wellness programs aim to build on these essential areas:
- Athletics : Athletics is essential to a healthy lifestyle. SOCOBA plans to build a soccer team, and encourage participants to have regular involvement in activities such as soccer, martial arts, Zumba, and dance.
- Yoga/Meditation : The regular practice of yoga and meditation helps improve our youths mind, body, and spirit. Our weekly mid-week yoga program and group meditation leads to healthy and clear mindfulness.
- Spiritual : Through our partnerships with the local schools and religious organizations, our youth receive regular spiritual guidance and scripture readings.
- Community Engagement :
- Home Visits : In order to keep families informed and involved, we make regular routine visits to homes in our villages. There are no surprises and SOCOBA keeps our youth’s families in touch with what is going on and we make sure consent is granted for all we do.
- Community Education and Partnership Building : SOCOBA has partnerships with the local VDC, Kgotla, clinic, and primary and secondary schools. Through monthly meetings, we make sure everyone is on the same page with the strides our programming is making.
- Drama/youth group/traditional dance performances : We have found that often our youth are the best influences of other youth, and they love to perform. Our sponsorship of the Mabule youth group Botsanang supports their performances and community outreach endeavors.
- Physical Disabilities
- Disabled sports and recreation
- Vocational training and education
- International exchanges: miusa.org
- Rehabilitation and independent living
Helping Youth In Need Help Themselves