The month of prayer started in September 1996 as a time of reflection, held annually led by the Christian community which serves to provide a forum to individuals, families, groups, organisations, institutions and the society at large to take charge and stand in unity in prayer on the same course of addressing the HIV and AIDS situation. It is a time when the Christian community is challenged to reflect on efforts to combat the HIV/AIDS situation in Botswana.
It is expected that through support from the church this national campaign will attain the following:
- Dialogue on strategies to contribute to the national response
- A collective reflection on the AIDS situation and way forward
- A reflection on current efforts and appreciation of achievements
- A reviewed response strategy to HIV and AIDS intervention by the Christian community
- An appraisal of the resource situation and call for pledges of support to existing efforts
BOCAIP is mandated to coordinate Month Of Prayer activities through a national committee which is made up of network of Umbrella Christian Bodies which are Botswana Council Of Churches, Evangelical Fellowship Of Botswana, Organisational African Instituted Council, Seventh Day Adventist and Zion Christian Church. These church bodies rotate the position of charing this committee each year while BOCAIP maintains the Secretariat position each year. The National AIDS Coordinating Agency is a key player in the Month of Prayer as it provides technical and financial support. NACA has been very instrumental in coordinating a Multi-Sectoral response to HIV in Botswana hence the reason why the church was brought on board. Other national committee members include the Ministry of Local Government, Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development and Men Sector.
Month Of Prayer is implemented at national and district levels by the Christian community in collaboration with key partners under the District AIDS Multi- Sectoral Committee chaired by the District Commissioner/Officer and the District AIDS Coordinating Office.
Rationale for Month Of prayer:
In Botswana, close to 80% of the population has been found to associate themselves with one Christian group or another. Although not all are regularly involved in church, nevertheless the wide-scale audience available to the church here is unrivalled. During BOCAIP’s 20 years in operation, it has been observed that the Christian community is a viable and sustainable vehicle for HIV and AIDS prevention and care. This highlights the important role of the church amongst people affected by HIV and AIDS. There is need for it to be competent and well equipped to meet the needs of these people. This campaign will endeavour to reflect on the existing responses by the Christian community and implementing partners to optimise impact on knowledge, attitudes and practices of the community regarding empowering leaders to stop ‘HIV and AIDS.
Goal of MOP:
To achieve a positive change of behaviour among the nation in supporting the efforts to combat the HIV and AIDS situation
Broad Objectives of MOP:
- To collectively reflect on the situation of HIV and AIDS as a nation and seek God’s guidance and strength
- To reflect upon the efforts of the Christian community’s response to the HIV and AIDS situation
- To mobilize the Christian community to be increasingly responsive to the situation of HIV and AIDS
- To appreciate efforts made so far by the nation in response to the HIV and AIDS situation and thus praise God for strength and provision
- To remember all those directly affected and pray that God help them to be continually hopeful
- Consultative forums Partners, Ministers Fraternal, District Multi sectoral AIDS committees, existing church bodies and non aligned churches and para church organisations.
- District consultative forums Meetings
- District launches to be set by the local MOP committee and the district
- Publicity campaigns in the radio, television and print media
- Daily prayers at the workplace, at schools, churches, Kgotlas, government ministries and at every assembly.
Monitoring will ensure that the campaign remains on course, satisfying both the goals and objectives of the National Month of prayer and BOCAIP as a Christian body. Monitoring will entail ascertaining that all activities are documented and reported to BOCAIP an overall report is written reflecting all efforts. This exercise will involve the local management committees, the Minister’s fraternal committees and the individual churches.