In the first few meetings of trying to start a campaign on gender-based violence in Shoshong, one of the police officers suggested doing a youth boot camp. In this boot camp, youth would learn about life skills and gender-based violence. They would also do some exercising. The police officer, Sebetlela, had the idea to have the camp overnight. That way the youth would be a bit uncomfortable and it would challenge them.
During the holidays, many youth come back to Shoshong if they live away. Even if they stay in Shoshong full-time, they are out of school and normally just loitering around. Sebetlela thought this would be a great time to engage the youth and empower them to understand these issues better. We hoped that the youth that attended the boot camp could then lead the village in the gender-based violence awareness campaign.
Unfortunately, it was a bit difficult to organize everything on time for the camp on December 27th. It ended up okay in the end, but Sebetlela was running around the afternoon before the camp to try to secure food and other donations. We didn't have much time to plan, which made the camp not as effective as it could have been. But we have fun and learned a lot so we can do a better job planning next time.
|Setting up the camp before everyone got there|
|While waiting for more people to arrive, I showed Boitumelo (one of the participants) how to use a male condom...no need to sit around when you have spare condoms and water bottles!|
|Gotta eat first! Here we are cooking magwinya (fried dough...aka fat cakes)|
|Before the sessions started, the participants and some of the facilitators played games to get everyone excited about the boot camp|
|One of the first sessions. Before we get into the specifics of life skills, we thought that the participants needed to do some self-exploration. These were the questions the facilitator, Rebecca Kowa from the clinic, asked the participants to answer.|
|Two of the organizers (Sebetlela, the police officer and Boetelo, a councilman in Shoshong) participating in the first exercise.|
|Most of the participants|
|More fun in between sessions!|
We tried to keep everyone up throughout the night. The participants talked about self-awareness and self-esteem, spitting your time between social life and work, the difference between violence and abuse, etc. The youth learned a lot and it brought them closer as a group. The camp ended at about noon on December 28th.