Botswana: Party capacity building

See also Botswana: Party poll watching

Work to increace the capacity of political parties in Botswana has been undertaken by EISA's Governance Institutions and Political Processes (GIPPS) department, under its Political Parties Support Programme, aims to contribute to an open, inclusive and democratic political system, by strengthening this crucial set of stakeholders in the processes of democratic governance. The political parties capacity building activities are focused on ensuring that political parties are democratic and function effectively.


Gender Audit, Social Cohesion and Social Media research

12-15 Jan 2021

From 12-15 January, GIPPS held online consultative meetings with five political parties, namely the: Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD), All Progressives (AP), Botswana National Front (BNF), Botswana Congress Party (BCP) and the Botswana Peoples Party (BPP). The consultative meetings provided an opportunity for GIPPS to strategise and solicit party interest in participating in the second phase of the gender audit process which will result in the production of customised gender audit reports for each political party.

All political parties consulted, confirmed their participation and GIPPS is following up with political parties to ensure that they receive the necessary support to complete the questionnaire which is available online through survey monkey. The anticipated outputs of these activities will be comprehensive gender audits and action plans for participating parties on how to strengthen the participation and representation of men, women and youth, and the promotion of more equitable demographics amongst public office bearers in the party.

GIPPS's work under this project on social cohesion and democratic elections has produced a concept paper which will be presented to a group of academics and CSO partners on social cohesion or democratic participation in May 2021. The paper, the outcomes of the online presentation meeting and the development of a research tool into the issue will be the outputs of this activity, due for the end of 2021.

GIPPS commissioned a research paper into better categorising types of political parties in Africa (as a response to the ongoing gender audit work it is conducting, mentioned above). This paper has been finalised by a consultant, and will be discussed by a cross-section of political party academics and experts in April 2021. The paper and a better framework for analysing and understanding the types of political parties that exist in Africa in 2021 will be the outputs of this activity.


Youth and people with disabilities: Methodology review

26-28 June 2019

Youth and people with disabilities methodology review meeting was held in Johannesburg from 26 - 28 June 2019 and included country partners, as well as staff from EPP and gender experts. Botswana activities had to be deferred due to national elections in 2019.

The gender audit reports which have been drafted for political parties will be discussed with the respective parties beginning in December 2019 and continuing in 2020.


Youth and people with disabilities

Following successful consultative meetings and workshops with political parties in 2018, GIPPs has continued to update the 'Gender audit and action plans' to include other vulnerable groups, specifically youth and people with disabilities. This work entails amending the survey questionnaires for political parties as well as the related final report templates.

Party leadership Gender audit workshops

Sep/Nov 2018

GIPPS held consultative meetings with parliamentary political parties, introducing the parties to the EISA/ODIHR methodology for conducting gender audits, developing action plans to strengthen intra-party democracy within the party and securing the parties' support for the project and participation in the pilot workshops. Subsequently, gender audit workshops were held in Gaborone, Botswana on 6-7 November 2018.

In Botswana current parliamentary parties ensured that multiple representatives from their party were present during the workshops. These representatives included: Executive Committee members, and members from the women's and youth wings of the parties. Feedback from both workshops was extremely positive.

Diversity Audit Workshop, Gaborone, 7 November 2018

Enhancing equitable gender participation in political parties through gender audits and action plans

The GIPPs team met with Corien Jonker from ODIHR to discuss the development of a concept and programme to enhance gender partition in political parties using a political party gender auditing tool developed by ODIHR combined with training materials developed by EISA. As a former MP from the Netherlands, Corien's insights on gender participation as well as assistance developing a useful network have been invaluable. GIPPs has started reaching out to political parties to participate in the two workshops/seminars planned.


Southern African Regional Political Party Conference

14-15 September 2017

The International Republican Institute approached EISA to assist in the planning, preparation, invitation of parties and programme content for its southern African political party conference in Botswana in September 2017. The conference was attended by 23 political parties from 9 SADC states including the ruling MPLA from Angola. Grant Masterson made three presentations at the event, on:

  1. The shifting demographics of voters in SADC states;
  2. The evolution of technology and the challenges/opportunities this presents for political parties;
  3. Electoral trends and developments in Africa.


Monitoring and Evaluation Workshop

22-23 Jun 2016

In preparation for training workshops on "Introduction to Monitoring and Evaluation Tools for Enhancing Oversight and Accountability" scheduled for 2016, material was developed to further the knowledge and understanding of participants in using monitoring and evaluation tools in a policy context. This content covered focuses on Understanding Governance, Accountability and Oversight; Exploring the link between Oversight and Accountability; Introduce Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) terms and concepts; Demonstrate through practical application how M&E can be used in a policy context and how M&E tools can be used for Oversight and Accountability and Demonstrate the application of a Theory of Change in a Policy context.

Training was attended by 17 participants on the 22 and 23 June in Gaborone attended by 27 participants eight of whom were women, nine were male and ten below the age of 35.. All of the five major parties in Botswana - the BDP. CP, BMD, BNF and BPP attended Notable attendees of the Parties were the Secretary Generals, Councillors, Member of Parliament, Presidents of the youth leagues and provincial secretaries.

Gender Sensitive Budgeting workshop conducted

12-13 Apr 2016

In preparation for a training workshops on "Understanding Gender and Gender budgeting" materials that promote an undersatanding of gender, understanding the different definitions and understanding of gender in different spheres of public life, as well as identifying the nature of the changing priorities amongst women as they progress through diferent stages of life were developed and published. In addition understanding budgets as an instrument of governance, budget analysis and budget prioritisation in favour of expenditure areas that have a high impact on women are explored.

Held on the 12 and 13 April, this workshop was attended by 15 participants including The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD), The Botswana Congress Party (BCP), Botswana National Front (BNF), and the Botswana Peoples Party (BPP). This workshop attracted the participation of the Vice President of Woman's League, Secretary Generals, Deputy Exec Secretaries and Chairpersons of the respective parties. Ten of the participants were women and eight of the participants were below the age of 35.


Political Party benchmarking

Materials development

In preparation for the political parties dialaogues on the political party benchmarks (See Setting Benchmarks for Enhanced Political Party Performance for Democratic Governance in Africa and 2010 Symposium) and the diagnosis on the problems in the enhanced implementation of benchmarks in political party systems, training materials titled "Political Parties Institutional and Organisational Development" was developed. The material covered a range of themese including:

  • What is Politics and How do we Understand it?
  • What is Democracy and what is a democratic politics?
  • What is Governance and What is Democratic Governance?
  • Where do we locate political parties within a system of democratic Governance?
  • Elements of the Party System and the impact of party system interaction.
Electoral and constitutional reform dialogue conducted

11 Nov 2015

A dialogue was held on 11 November 2015 in Gaborone Botswana with the aim of dealing with the matters of electoral and constitutional reform, political parties' relationships with EMB's, the National legislature and the media. One underlying reason for this dialogue was to identify and solve the issues that impede a competitive party-system to thrive.

The five major parties in Botswana the BDP. BCP, BMD, BNF and BPP gave 2 participants each for this conference. Five of the ten participants were women and two were below the age of thirty five. Notable attendees were the Secretary General of the governing BDP, two Councillors and the Secretary for Health along with the President of the youth league of the BPP.

The workshop facilitated discussions on important constitutional and legal provisions by both sides of the governing divide that could be reformed to improve the democratic merits of the party system more broadly and the analysis of these may provide the coordinates to create mechanisms to deepen the democratic milieu of Botswana.

The workshop was able to draw out key problems that serve to entrench a conflictual environment and this was indicated by the heated interactions between the opposition and governing party representatives. There were some important constitutional and legal provisions that were discussed by both sides of the governing divide that could be reformed to improve the democratic merits of the party system more broadly.

This dialogue served to highlight the highly paternalistic and top down approach to politics and government that characterises Botswana with an increasing tendency of the Governing party to be dismissive of opposition parties and the attendant levels of heightened paternalism in the face of an emboldened opposition facilitated through an opposition coalition.

Training workshop: Understanding the Youth and Youth Sensitive Budgeting

23-25 Mar 2015

From 23 to 25 March 2015, a training workshop for a cross section of political parties was conducted in Botswana and attended by 16 participants representing four opposition political parties. Amongst the participants were three elected councillors, two MPs and a significant number of young people with nine participants under the age of 35 and 3 of the participants being women. A subsequent workshop was attended by 15 participants from the four opposition political parties in Botswana and attracted the participation of the former Deputy Speaker of Parliament. In this session, six participants were women and nine out of the 15 were below the age of 35. Notable to mention was the absence of the ruling party at both of these training sessions.


Party agent training

Training materials developed

EISA developed training materials in response to the need expressed by party poll-watchers and poll-watchers for resources to help them in fulfilling their roles and functions. The manuals were designed in line with the country's electoral system, electoral process and relevant legislation.

Workshop conducted

2-3 Oct 2014

EISA conducted a two-day training, case study and role-play simulation workshop for political parties in Gaborone, Botswana, on election poll-watching, from 2-3 October 2014. Additionally, partnering with the Department of Political Science of the University of Botswana to conduct context briefing and explanatory sessions on the legal framework for elections, this intervention strengthened the relationship between the two institutions. All five political parties contesting the Botswana elections attended the training workshop.

Gender and Gender budgeting training materials developed

In preparation for a training workshops on "Understanding Gender and Gender budgeting" EISA partnered with the Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute (SPII), who have a team of specialist researchers on budgets and pro poor budgeting strategies to develop training material. This partnership allowed for knowledge-sharing and exposure, and enabled EISA to develop materials that promote an understanding of gender, understanding the different definitions and understanding of gender in different spheres of public life, as well as identifying the nature of the changing priorities amongst women as they progress through different stages of life. In addition understanding budgets as an instrument of governance, budget analysis and budget prioritisation in favour of expenditure areas that have a high impact on women are explored.


Political party benchmarks

EISA adopted two complementary methods in the process of formulating standards for political parties.

  1. Establishing an expert reference group comprised of party representatives, academics and other stakeholders to act as an advisory body in guiding the development of the benchmarks.
  2. Running in-country workshops and dialogues with political parties.

The benchmarks reflected the role which political parties ought to play as well as their own contributions in addressing how parties in Africa ought to be institutionalized. In maintaining this, EISA developed the benchmarks by convening a series of dialogues to canvass political party input for establishing standards.

This served as input into EISA's 2010 Symposium in which Setting Benchmarks for Enhanced Political Party Performance for Democratic Governance in Africa was developed.

Internal party democracy

In strengthening internal party democracy through the conduct of credible internal elections, EISA piloted the technical expertise of its Balloting and Electoral Services Unit to facilitate elections within political parties in Botswana. Botswana was selected based on the successful marketing of this service in nearby South Africa and cost constraints.

One objective of the project was to enhance the capacity and skills of parties through training in order to provide effective social leadership in public affairs by means of resource mobilisation and management (fundraising). Other areas of training included; election campaigning and poll watching for party poll-watchers at elections, effective gender and other marginal groups balancing, public outreach, constituency relations and effective representation as well as conflict management.


EISA in line with creating a platform for the often marginalized structures, and in line with this programme, strengthened the working relationship between EISA and the electoral commission of Botswana.

Mainstream groups which are normally under-represented in political parties, such as women and the youth were brought together in this programme. Unlike in the previous years where the programme activities were mainly located in the city of Gaborone, EISA's programme managed to cover other regions of Botswana namely, Maun, Francis Town, Kasane and Palapye. Activities were attended by regional leaders, campaign managers and other office bearers at the sub-national level. Through this programme, structures perceived to be hierarchical were penetrated allowing for content of the parties to reach the grassroots level. At the end of the workshop series all the structures that took part were able to better engage with the electoral process. At least two party leaders, one from the Botswana Congress party in the Chobe constituency and another from the Botswana National front in Gaborone adopted the EISA training material and used it to run their own training within their constituencies.


Dialogue and training workshop

24-26 Oct 2007

The activities of the Governance Institutions and Processes Department's Political Parties Unit focused on political parties' capacity building through in-country dialogue and training workshops. A training manual on strengthening political parties was drafted consisting of six modules: political parties; leadership; public outreach; party coalitions/ alliances; and conflict management.

The first workshop was held in Gaborone, Botswana from 24-26 October 2007. The manual is being revised based on the observations of the facilitators during the workshop as well as on input from participants with an eye to publication as a standard training manual for parties in the SADC and beyond.

The workshops covered five thematic areas: gender representation, intra-party democracy and inter-party relations, outreach activities, conflict management and leadership in political parties.