The Maatla Project: Strengthening the Role of DMSAC in the HIV Response

By Annie Coriolan August 25, 2015

Civil society organizations (CSOs) work closely with the community to provide expanded coverage of HIV services, particularly to underserved and remote populations, and they are considered vital to Botswana’s HIV and AIDS response. Accordingly, it is important to ensure that collaboration between CSOs and governmental entities at the district level is well coordinated. This is in part what NASTAD sought to achieve in the five districts where the Maatla Project was being implemented—Chobe, Ghanzi, Ngami, Okavango and Charleshill.

The Maatla Project is a five-year cooperative agreement between FHI360 and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The project’s aim is to sustainably strengthen the capacity of the Civil Society Sector in Botswana to support the fight against HIV and AIDS and support related health service delivery. The Maatla Project focused on achieving three key results:

  • Area 1: Strengthened technical competence and organizational capacity of national non-governmental organization (NGO) networks and other networks to support field offices, affiliates and member organizations with expanded and strengthened delivery of strategic and high quality HIV/AIDS services.
  • Area 2: A model developed and implemented to strengthen district level systems to provide and coordinate HIV/AIDS services in hard-to-reach areas.
  • Area 3: Strengthened institutions' ability to provide sustainable capacity building to civil society.

NASTAD focused mainly on Area 2, and was tasked with enhancing the relationship of the governmental entities—namely District AIDS Coordinators (DACs) and District Multi-Sectoral AIDS Committee (DMSACs)—with CSOs by clarifying their roles and responsibilities in the HIV response in the districts.

NASTAD’s technical assistance and capacity building interventions were designed based on preliminary capacity assessments conducted to better capture government-CSO interaction, and potential areas of improvement. With the Ministry of Local Government & Rural Development (MLG&RD), NASTAD implemented workshops that focused on clarifying the role of the DMSAC, partnership and team building, and supporting the creation of district plans on collaboration and coordination. NASTAD also developed a DMSAC Orientation curriculum, currently adopted by MLG&RD, and implemented by expert trainers who administer the training to new DMSAC members.  

For more information about NASTAD’s involvement in the Maatla Project:

Strengthening the Role of the DMSAC

To learn more about NASTAD Global Program’s work in Botswana, please contact Habtamu Girma, Associate Director, Global Program, at

Visit to learn more about the NASTAD Global Program.