14 December 2011

Botswana: BSLA Workshop 2 focuses on advocacy and communication

Following the stakeholder summit in November 2010 and workshop in May 2011, the second workshop in the Building Strong Library Associations Programme in Botswana was held November 9-11 at Boipuso Hall, Gaborone. Core trainer Winnie Vitzansky facilitated the workshop.

At the workshop, participants reported an extremely positive result: since the start of the BSLA project in Botswana, the Botswana Library Association has more than doubled its membership.

The objectives of the workshop were to:

  1. Develop the Advocacy and Communication Plan
  2. Update Action Plan from May 2011
  3. Update Botswana Library Association’s Strategic Plan
Botswana workshop 2

Workshop Planning

The workshop was planned by the IFLA BSLA Botswana Team: Kgomotso Radijeng, President of Botswana Library Association (BLA); Gaorere Kgotla, Acting director, Botswana National Library Service; Resego Taolo, Sesigo Project; BLA commitee members Oonayang Dilebanye, Bongiwe Magocha, and Winnie Vitzansky. Fiona Bradley, IFLA BSLA coordinator, also participated in the planning.

Invited participants for the meeting were the same as for Workshop 1:

  • BLA Executive Committee (11 persons)
  • One representative from each of BLA’s two branches in Ghanzi and Maun
  • One representative of BOSLA, the Botswana School Library Association
  • One representative of Botswana Library Consortium
  • One representative of LIMSA, the Library Students Association
  • Two representatives of BNLS, Botswana National Library Service

In total 18 persons had registered for the Workshop, including 5 students from Botswana University, Department of LIS.

Breakfast Seminar

On Wednesday Morning, November 9, a Breakfast Seminar was arranged at Boipuso Hall. The aim of the Breakfast Seminar was to inform BLA stakeholders of the progress of the IFLA BSLA/BLA project. 28 representatives of the Botswana Library Community as well as representatives of relevant Botswana ministries participated. At the seminar Kgomotso Radijeng gave a presentation on recent work and achievement of BLA, Winnie Vitzansky presented the IFLA, BSLA work in Botswana, and finally Gaorere Kgotla, Botswana National Library Service gave a presentation on the importance of the ongoing work. Resego Taolo, Sesigo Project, chaired the meeting.

The presentations were followed by a lively and engaged debate of the need of the work BLA is doing. BLA and the IFLA BSLA project received much praise for the many new initiatives.

Workshop 2

The Workshop also took place at Boipuso Hall in Gaborone. The IFLA BSLA training material formed the basis of the workshop, tailor-made for the needs of Botswana Library Association. Content delivered Module 5: Libraries on the Agenda, supplemented by Module 4: Strategic Relationships and Partnerships.

The Workshop was introduced by a follow-up on the Action Plan from Workshop 1 as well as a follow-up on BLA’s Strategic Plan. The last day was entirely dedicated to planning on the basis of the experiences following Workshop 1.

All three days were characterised by a very high level of interaction. ALL participants were very active and very motivated. There was lots of lively debate, and it was especially encouraging to observe the very active participation by the LIS students.

Outcome of the Workshop

The main outcome of Workshop 2 is the Action Plan, made by all participants on Day 3. The Action Plan is divided according to the three goals of the BSLA Botswana project: Visibility, Governance, and Advocacy.

As in Workshop 1 the guiding principle of the action planning has been to make a realistic plan, possible to carry out within existing resources.

Will we reach the goals? Time will show, but already now it is possible to conclude that BLA already now has come a long way towards reaching the two first goals:


  • BLA has more than doubled its membership since the project started ( from 57 individual members to 126, and from 8 corporate members to 22)
  • BLA had a conference in Francistown in September with 270 participants. It is the biggest number of participants ever
  • The new close cooperation with BNLS has been instrumental in BLA receiving a government grant of BWP of 170.000 BWP


  • The BLA Executive Committee has met almost every 2. week as stated in the Action Plan from May. In Workshop 1 this high meeting frequency was identified as one of the necessary tools in order to involve the Executive Committee and to have work done. And it works
  • As it was the case in Workshop 1 the Executive Committee of BLA demonstrates a very active commitment and all are working very hard. As illustrated above, the hard work is giving tangible results
  • Again it was a very successful workshop with a very good and joyful atmosphere

I am confident that when the final evaluation will take place in May, 2012 there will be many more positive outcomes to report on!

Report by Winnie Vitzansky, Core trainer

More information about the Building Strong Library Associations programme is available on the IFLA website, and more information about the Botswana Library Association’s participation is available in their country report.

LDP (Library Development Programme), Associations, Botswana, Building Strong Library Associations

List all IFLA news