Olga Ditsie

2023 IVLP Impact Award Project: Combating Gender-Based Violence in Women and ChildrenBotswana

Olga Ditsie is the mayor of Jwaneng Town, a mining town in Botswana. She is the first female mayor of the town in 40 years and the only female mayor in the country. Olga is a trained Environmental Health officer and her primary role as the mayor is to preside over council meetings. Upon assuming office in 2019, she came up with a road map, and one of the issues she wanted to address was gender-based violence towards women and children. Being a woman, Olga wants to be a voice for Jwaneng Town women.

IVLP Impact Award Project: Combating Gender-Based Violence in Women and Children

Olga's project educated the Jwaneng Town community about gender-based violence (GBV), including how to identify it and how to report it. Her project had a multifaceted approach, including many groups and activities. For example, Olga empowered 12 women by organizing a skills training session where the participants learned baking and business management skills, allowing them to become financially independent from their spouses. Later there was also a women's empowerment session where 46 women were encouraged to take on more leadership roles. Additionally, male allies were engaged when Olga reached out to six soccer teams and their fans. In this way she was able to reach 300 people and disseminate information about GBV prevention. An informational workshop was conducted for social workers, police officers, other public officials as well as church leaders and chiefs to strengthen the community's capacity to reduce GBV. Olga's project launched a sixteen-day campaign against GBV to raise awareness about the issue. The project even engaged 25 children from five different schools about the prevention of gender-based violence, empowering them to become “Gender Champions” and peer educators in their respective schools.

Today I stand before you as [a] representative of a group of empowered students who have undergone a transformative journey under the guidance of exceptional mentor and IVLP [Impact] Award winner. It is with immense gratitude and [a] heart full of inspiration that I express our appreciation for the incredible opportunity we have been given to raise voices against gender-based violence.” - Project Participant

IVLP Exchange Experience 

Olga was a participant in the IVLP Project Summit for Democracy IVLP Initiative, organized by the U.S. Department of State and Meridian International Center.

Olga's exchange experience led to the development of her IVLP Impact Award Project: "During our IVLP experience, we focused on three pillars: Democracy, Fighting Corruption, and Protecting Human Rights. With all the knowledge I gained, I wanted to bring a change and make an impact in my community."

U.S. Communities Visited

Phoenix, AZ; Denver, CO; Washington, DC

"My country and my town have a pandemic of gender-based violence, especially towards women, which is a human rights issue." - Olga Ditsie

Country: Botswana

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