NASTAD Supports Leadership Development for Botswana’s District AIDS Coordinators

By Michelle Batchelor November 20, 2013

This month, fourteen District AIDS Coordinators (DACs) and Assistant DACs (ADACs) gathered in Gaborone, Botswana to complete week one of the Applied Leadership Development Program (ALDP) for District HIV and AIDS Coordination Training. DACs and ADACs form the backbone of the district-level HIV response in Botswana, where an estimated 340,000 people are living with HIV. The training was hosted by the Ministry of Local Government & Rural Development (MLG&RD), with support and mentoring provided by NASTAD.

Over the course of the past year, NASTAD collaborated with MLG&RD and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Sustainable Management Development Program (CDC-SMDP) to develop, pilot, and implement the Applied Leadership Development Program to address the work-related skill and capacity gaps of DACs and ADACs. The ALDP trainings provide DACs and ADACs with the knowledge and skills they need to effectively coordinate and implement the Botswana National HIV Strategy at the district level.

The ALDP week one training leveraged local knowledge and expertise in that it was facilitated by eight Batswana Master Trainers, many of whom are DACs and ADACs themselves. The Master Trainers participated in an intensive capacity-building session led by NASTAD, prior to facilitating the ALDP Training, during which they were instructed on the principles and application of adult-learning training techniques. The Master Trainers then used these skills and their own knowledge and experience to facilitate seven interactive sessions. The sessions provided the 14 training participants with tools and strategies for implementing the National HIV Strategy, reprioritizing and reallocating resources, and collaborating with district partners to mobilize resources, among other important tasks.

The first week of the ALDP training was highly successful, as both participants and Master Trainers demonstrated an increase in knowledge and skill over the course of the week. Keitumetse Maapatsane, the Chief Health Officer responsible for HIV/AIDS coordination in the Department of Primary Health Care, and the acting head of the department, explained that as a result of the training, “the DACs will be better equipped to serve their mandate in the district, of coordinating the [HIV] response.”

The DACs and ADACs will return to Gaborone in May of 2014 to complete the second and final week of training included in the Applied Leadership Development Program. Between now and May 2014, the participants will complete a Field Assignment, which involves the district-level implementation of an activity that supports the National HIV Strategy. The Field Assignment activity is designed to foster skills-building, collaboration and cooperation among the DACS and ADACs, and the overall development of district-level capacity. The participants will be required to apply the skills and knowledge they acquired during the first week of ALDP training, and will receive ongoing mentoring and support from the Master Trainers as they complete these field assignments. The participants will then deliver a final report and presentation during the week two training in May, 2014.

NASTAD looks forward to providing support to MLG&RD in the coming months as it finalizes the week two ALDP training materials, develops an orientation package for new DACs and ADACs, and ultimately assumes full management, oversight, and implementation of the Applied Leadership and Development Program in Botswana.

If you are interested in learning more about the Applied Leadership Development Program in Botswana, please contact Habtamu Girma at To learn more about NASTAD’s work in Botswana, click here.

Matsae Balosang also contributed to the development of this post.