In 2009, I was fortunate enough to go to Botswana for three weeks with the University of British Columbia Leave for Change program for Staff. When I chose to go to Botswana, I knew nothing about it other than it bordered South Africa. Over the next three months, I received cultural sensitivity training and I had a conference call with a local from Botswana. I also started reading a series called “The Ladies’ Detective Agency” by Alexander McCall Smith as a way to further understand the culture that I was stepping into. It was on my airplane ride to Gaborone, Botswana that I started reading all the backgrounders that I had on the country.
Here is Part 1 of the series I wrote with Desiglobetrotter.com, a travel blog that connects South Asians who are passionate about independent world travel, about my experience volunteering Human Resources skills at an HIV/Aids NGO in a new country that was very foreign to me.
My first day started with a discussion on Human Rights in Botswana and then Gender issues with the Students without Borders group and local organizations. It was an interesting way to learn the background of these issues in relation to Botswana. Some of my key findings in regards to similarities to Canada included the parliamentary system, gender issues in regards to the types of jobs that women hold and the glass ceiling that exists and how children are viewed as important, but their rights are not always spoken about.
The rest of the experience can by clicking through to the link: http://www.desiglobetrotter.com/volunteering-abroad-botswana-leave-change-part-1/
By Manpreet Dhillon
Coach, Connector, Consultant