By Daniel Morchain, Co-Principal Investigator, Oxfam GB
In 2016, another nasty drought hit Botswana; so nasty that the President declared a national state of emergency. But of course, this wasn't a first, and sadly it won't be a last. This new normal is something that authorities have realised they have to deal with and act on. The crisis-response approach is no longer good enough.
It took us a while to understand how we could best contribute our experiences and vision to this recurring developmental challenge, but we're happy to report that today the University of Cape Town and Oxfam delivered a document to BITRI, the Botswanan agency leading the development of the Drought Management Strategy (DMS), in which we make a series of recommendations and share lessons about developing and implementing a drought strategy. In fact, even before we completed our homework, the Botswanan Government was already praising this partnership at the UNFCCC COP in Bonn this November.
This RiU activity was certainly not included in our logframe...! But the opportunity came up and we decided to pursue it. The document we delivered today is just the first step, and our next challenge will be to figure out how to maintain our constructive involvement in the process.
My main take-away so far is that the alliance between UCT and Oxfam made it especially appealing to BITRI to engage with us; to trust us with this task. I genuinely don't think that Oxfam alone, or UCT alone, would have had the opportunity to work with and influence the DMS. But what we combined bring... seems to be doing the trick!