The United States of America has pledged US$250 000 (P2 million) for a project to support training women across the country who are active, or interested in politics.

This was revealed Tuesday evening by Foreign Secretary Dr. Gladys Mokhawa at a reception to mark the 246th Independence Day of the United States of America in Gaborone’s Ext.11 suburb.

Dr. Mokhawa said the funds are aimed at capacity building to increase the participation of women in politics at the grassroots and national levels.

“This support is essential for broadening participation and strengthening democracy in Botswana”, she said, echoing the words of Amanda Jacobsen, Charge d’ Affaires of the United States of America.

Jacobsen noted that women are still “seriously underrepresented” in Botswana’s legislature, but added that there was “strong evidence” that many in Botswana’s political class are working to change that dynamic.

“I am constantly impressed by how many women I meet who are entrepreneurs, leading businesses, holding high-ranking government posts, or leading civil society groups”, she said.

Jacobsen revealed that they partnered with the NGO Democracy Works Foundation in 2021 to create a training academy for women interested in running for political office.

“We were thrilled that 60 women representing all of Botswana’s political parties took part. We were also thrilled that President Masisi adopted this programme as part of Botswana’s commitments for democratic change at President Biden’s Summit for Democracy”, she said.

Jacobsen was optimistic, however, that the 2024 election will be “a good measure on how far women have come”.