The Duke of Sussex visits Sentebale’s work in Botswana during Royal Tour

His Royal Highness, The Duke of Sussex, has shown his dedication to Sentebale by making time during his working visit to meet with the Sentebale team and the Let Youth Lead advocates in Kasane on Thursday 26 September.

In order to give HRH a taste of camp activities in Botswana, the brief program included simulation of some notable camp acts aimed at improving the self-esteem of children living with HIV.

After he was welcomed by the Sentebale team, The Duke sat down for a conversation with the advocates where they had the chance to share why they advocate for their peers. This session was led by Masedi Kewamodimo (23), one of Sentebale’s Let Youth Lead advocates, who covered several subjects including reflections of the advocates roundtable hosted with HRH at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London in 2017 and progress achieved since then, the impact radio partnerships have in helping to dispel stigma surrounding HIV, along with the difference Sentebale camps and clubs are making to children and young people coming to terms with living with HIV, including improving adherence to medication and building self-esteem and confidence.

The Duke of Sussex with Head of Programmes for Sentebale Botswana, Ketlogetswe Montshiwa. Photo credit Dominic Lipinski/PA Media

Katlego Moara, Sentebale advocate said: “Comparing the level of confidence of campers on day one of camp to day four, you can see the change in confidence as they start to believe in themselves.”

Later, The Duke heard about Sentebale’s Radio Positive show, a programme first broadcast by Let Youth Lead advocates during their takeover of Botswana’s leading private radio station, DUMA  FM, during World AIDS Day in 2018. After the show was successfully delivered, Sentebale Botswana partnered with DUMA FM to deliver a technical skills training programme to a pool of the charity’s advocates, who ran an hour-long weekly feature on the radio for 12 weeks in 2019. The show attracted a lot of attention and the advocates’ have developed strong broadcasting skills.

The Duke then privately met nine young club members from the region, as well as two health care workers, who reported experiences of positive transformation amongst the children as a result of camp and clubs. Having returned from camp, some of the young people shared what they learnt during camp and what activities they enjoyed most.

The Duke of Sussex with Chief Executive of Sentebale Richard Miller. Photo credit Dominic Lipinski/PA Media

Sentebale’s Head of Program K.T Montshiwa said: ‘We are excited to get an opportunity to show HRH what the young people in Botswana are capable of. He has met a couple of them during events in London, but we are confident that this has given him a whole new perspective and we are grateful that he made time for us.’”

Sentebale Chief Executive Richard Miller said: “Sentebale is proud of the impact we have already made in the fight against HIV in the three years since we have been established in Botswana. We have set up clubs in some of the most remote areas and have been advocating nationally. We need more support to build on this base and today’s visit of The Duke of Sussex is a real boost to our efforts and gives us confidence and energy to go forward.”

Building on its work in Lesotho, Sentebale launched operations in Botswana in June 2016. Since then, it has established 47 clubs around the country for young people living with HIV, reaching some over 1,250 adolescents monthly. In addition, the team has held 15 weeks of camp, attended by 1,115 campers since December 2016.

The Let Youth Lead program was launched in Botswana and Lesotho in March and April 2017, respectively and has been growing steadily. Sentebale Co-Founding Patron, Prince Seeiso, officially opened Botswana’s 2nd Let Youth Lead HIV Summit in August 2019 in Botswana’s capital, Gaborone. It was a success and the advocates did very well as presenters, moderators and panelists. The briefing points to The Duke by the advocates today were largely derived from the summit discussions.

The Duke of Sussex is greeted by Let Youth Lead advocate Tlotlo Moilwa. Photo credit Dominic Lipinski/PA Media