- Helping the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women.
- Helping promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served.
- Helping promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.
Peace Corps in Botswana: Peace Corps entered Botswana in 1966, just two months after independence. Over 2,000 PCVs served from 1966 to 1997, until Botswana and PC amicably ended their working relationship. In 2002, President Mogae requested PC return to address the impact of HIV/AIDS and help mitigate its potentially catastrophic consequences on development.
Botswana is in Southern Africa, just north of South Africa
Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe
Botswana is geographically comparable to Texas. The terrain is predominantly flat and the Kalahari Desert lies in the southwest of the country. The lowest point in Botswana is at the junction of the Limpopo and Shashe Rivers which measures 513 m. The highest point is at the Tsodilo Hills at 1,489 m. Botswana is landlocked and most of its population lives in the east of the country
The Botswana climate is predominantly semi arid with two main seasons, winter and summer. The summer season extends from October to April. Summers are rainy with hot days and warm nights. Most of the rainfall occurs between January and March. Winter starts in May and ends in August/September. Winters are dry, sunny and cool.
About 1.7 million people live in Botswana; however, this is difficult to determine due to the high mobility and widely-dispersed population. Life expectancy is around 54.2 years. Birth rate is on average 3.1 per woman. 37% of the population is believed to have HIV/AIDS.
Setswana, English, and other indigenous languages (including Sekgalagadi, Kalanga, Sesarwa, Khoisan)
Botswana is nominally a Christian country; different communities include Anglican, Roman Catholic, Dutch Reformed Church, Lutheran, United Free Church of Scotland, Seventh Day Adventist, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, and Baha’i. There are a growing number of independent African Churches, most notably the Zionist Christian Church (ZCC).
Formerly the British protectorate of Bechuanaland, Botswana adopted its new name upon independence in 1966. Four decades of uninterrupted civilian leadership, progressive social policies, and significant capital investment have created one of the most dynamic economies in Africa. Mineral extraction, principally diamond mining, dominates economic activity, though tourism is a growing sector due to the country’s conservation practices and extensive nature preserves. Botswana has one of the world’s highest known rates of HIV/AIDS infection, but also one of Africa’s most progressive and comprehensive programs for dealing with the disease.
Botswana has maintained one of the world’s highest growth rates since independence in 1966. Through fiscal discipline and sound management, Botswana has transformed itself from one of the poorest countries in the world to a middle-income country with a per capita GDP of $8,800 in 2003. Two major investment services rank Botswana as the best credit risk in Africa. Diamond mining has fueled much of the expansion and currently accounts for more than one-third of GDP and for nine-tenths of export earnings. Tourism, subsistence farming, and cattle raising are other key sectors. The government continues to deal with high rates of unemployment and poverty. Unemployment officially is 21%, but unofficial estimates place it closer to 40%. HIV/AIDS infection rates are the highest in the world and threaten Botswana’s impressive economic gains. Long-term prospects are overshadowed by the expected leveling off in diamond mining production.
The Botswana flag was officially adopted on September 30, 1966. The colors on the flag correspond to those on the national coat of arms. The blue represents water, the white-black-white bands depict the racial harmony of the people and the pluralist nature of the society. They are inspired by the coat of the zebra, the national animal.
Coat of Arms:
The Botswana Coat of Arms was adopted on January 25, 1966. It has a center shield that is supported by two zebras. The zebra indicate the importance of wildlife in Botswana. The top portion of the shield has three cogwheels which represent the mining industry of Botswana. At the center of the shield are 3 blue waves which represent water and its importance in the country. At the bottom of the shield is a head of a cow which symbolize the importance of cattle herding in Botswana. The Zebra on the right holds sorghum showing the important role farming plays in the lives of Batswana. The Zebra on the left holds an ivory task. This is a symbol of the ivory trade of the past.
The Botswana national anthem is ‘Fatshe leno la rona’ which is Tswana (the national language) for ‘Blessed Be This Noble Land’.
Translation of Botswana’s National Anthem
Translation © Thapelo Otlogetswe 2006
This land of ours,
Is a gift from God,
An inheritance from our fore-fathers,
May it always be at peace.
Awake, awake, O men, awake!
Arise, O women, arise! be energised,
Let us work together to serve,
Beautiful name of fame
Of the nation of Botswana
Through harmonious relations and reconciliation
Fun Facts About Botswana:
- Botswana has the largest elephant population in Africa.
- Botswana has one of Africa’s most advanced programs for dealing with HIV/AIDS.
- Botswana is a multiparty democracy and has never experienced a military coup or any major civil unrest since independence.
- The national football team of Botswana is known as the Zebra’s.
- Popular food dishes in Botswana include ‘Seswaa’ (a traditional meat dish made for special occasions) served with pal ache (a soft maize meal) and ‘Serobe’ (made from the innards goat, sheep or cow and cooked until soft).
- There are two Television networks in Botswana, the privately owned Gaborone Broadcasting Corporation Television and the state owned Botswana Television Service.