JOINT PRESS RELEASE
Botswana: The European Union, together with the IFRC and the Botswana Red Cross Society, donate COVID-19 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and medical supplies worth more than BWP 1.4 million to the Government of Botswana
Gaborone, 25 June 2020 – In a public ceremony held at the Office of the President, “Team Europe,” the European Union (EU) and two of its Member States – France and Germany, in partnership with the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) and the Botswana Red Cross Society, handed over critical Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to the Government of Botswana, in support of the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The donated goods, worth over BWP 1.4 million, include 40,000 surgical masks and 1,500 gowns, 40,000 examination gloves, 1,500 face protective glasses, 6,250 respiratory N95 masks, infrared thermometers, disinfectants and sanitizers. The supply is intended to safeguard and protect frontline health workers who are exposed to the virus during daily screening, tracing and testing activities.
This event brought together all stakeholders, including the Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration Hon Kabo Morwaeng, the Assistant Minister Hon Dumezweni Mthimkulu; the EU Ambassador, Mr Jan Sadek; the French Ambassador, Ms Laurence Beau; the German Ambassador Mr Ralf Breth; the Secretary General of Botswana Red Cross Society, Mr Kutlwano Mukokomani; and Emergency Preparedness Coordinator in IFRC’s Southern Africa Cluster Office, Mr Stanley Ndhlovu.
Mr Kutlwano Mukokomani comments: “Through our close working relationship with the Ministry of Health and Wellness, we identified a gap in the supply of PPEs and engaged our international partners, the EU’s Humanitarian Office, to respond to this critical need in the country. The consignment in question will go a long way in filling this gap.”
The EU Ambassador to Botswana, Mr Jan Sadek, says: “The supply of medical equipment to our close partner Botswana is part of the EU’s global response to COVID-19 which relies on global partnership and multilateralism. Without collective action, solidarity, and empathy, it would be impossible to tackle this global challenge.”
Dr Michael Charles, Head of IFRC’s Southern Africa Cluster, praises the EU’s funding adaptability: “We applaud the EU for its flexibility in the face of this unprecedented global pandemic, and for agreeing to repurpose funds from the IFRC’s Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) project, funded by the EU, towards the procurement of this much needed equipment.”
The equipment, acquired with funding from the EU and its Member States, – #TeamEurope – is part of a larger response package put in place to support the Government of Botswana.
The EU response package also foresees the disbursement of BWP 27 million to the Treasury to provide quick economic relief, BWP 5.7 million in grants to support the victims of domestic violence and defend the rights of marginalized groups. A further BWP 26 million will go towards supporting the beef and tourism value chains, as part of the economic recovery after the immediate crisis.
The IFRC and Botswana Red Cross Society will continue with their efforts in assisting Botswana to respond to COVID-19. In addition to receiving over BWP 1 million through IFRC’s Multi-Country Drought Appeal (Botswana is one of four target countries, together with Namibia, Lesotho and ESwatini), Botswana Red Cross Society will receive a further BWP 3.7 million from funds allocated to Africa from IFRC’s Global COVID-19 Appeal. More funding, however, is needed to support the ongoing efforts to mitigate the long-term effects of droughts and COVID-19 in Botswana and the SADC region.
For more information, please contact:
In Gaborone for EU: Bester Gabotlale, +267 721 12660, Bester.GABOTLALE@eeas.europa.eu
In Gaborone for Botswana Red Cross Society: Kutlwano Mukokomani, +267 718 8544, firstname.lastname@example.org
In Gaborone for IFRC: Stanley Ndhlovu, ++267 714 8282, email@example.com
In Kenya for EU Humanitarian office: Mathias Eick, +254-722791604, Mathias.Eick@echofield.eu
About the EU
The EU and its Member States – #TeamEurope – has pledged a €15.6 billion (over BWP 202 billion) global COVID-19 response package, out of which €3.2 billion will be for Africa. The objective is to support national health systems, protect and save lives, and counter the socio-economic impact of the pandemic. In addition, the EU and its Member States contribute to key global health initiatives through the United Nations, in particular WHO, as well as through GAVI and the Global Fund.
In addition, the EU led a global pledge on 4th of May which raised €9.8 billion (over BWP 127 billion) to develop fast and universal access to vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics against COVID-19. The EU wants to ensure that these treatments, once available, are affordable, accessible and equitably shared.
The EU is currently expanding its cooperation with Botswana, focusing on supporting the country’s response to COVID-19. In addition, the EU’s ongoing cooperation portfolio of BWP 324 million will continue, focusing on skills development and support to the economic diversification drive. This will be more important than ever, when Botswana moves into the recovery phase after the immediate crisis. The EU has committed BWP 145 million to promote investments, trade and the economic recovery in Botswana. Among the short-term actions, the EU will provide grants for the development of the beef value chain in the North (BWP 6.6 million) and for the eco-tourism development (BWP 19 million).
About EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid
The European Union and its Member States are the world's leading donors of humanitarian aid. Through its Civil Protection and Humanitarian aid Operations Department (ECHO), the European Union helps millions of victims of conflict and disasters every year. With headquarters in Brussels and a global network of field offices, the EU provides assistance to the most vulnerable people on the basis of humanitarian needs.
EU funding in the Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region goes towards emergency relief response, food assistance, education in emergencies and disaster preparedness. Since January 2019, the EU has supported humanitarian action in the SADC region with €81 million in funding. Additional resources are currently mobilised in 2020 for tackling the COVID-19 crisis.
About the Botswana Red Cross Society
The Botswana Red Cross Society is the largest humanitarian organisation in Botswana. Its pool of 10,000 volunteers live and work among the communities they serve, providing unique access to those who are most vulnerable and in need. In 1968, an act of parliament created the National Society as an auxiliary to the Government of Botswana, thereby giving the Botswana Red Cross Society a critical role as a trusted partner in the delivery of key public projects. The society offers a community-based approach, working with volunteers who come from the same communities, speak the same language and understand the culture, religion and dynamics of their communities. BRCS is known to cut across diverse developmental issues, including health, disaster management, first aid training, rehabilitation and social services and have gained legitimacy and trust among the communities.
About the IFRC
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is the world’s largest humanitarian network, comprising 192 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies working with 13.9 million volunteers to save lives and promote dignity around the world.
The IFRC first responded to the COVID-19 outbreak at the end of January 2020 by issuing a preliminary global appeal for CHF 3 million. On 11 February, it revised the emergency appeal upwards to CHF 32 million to cover the increased scale and scope of the crisis and about a month later revised the appeal to CHF 550 million. At the end of May 2020, given the increase in needs and the evolution of the response, the appeal was revised upwards to CHF 450 million to support an IFRC-wide response and ask for its Secretariat and all 192 National Societies of CHF 1.9 billion.