An alliance of organisations in Botswana is campaigning to raise public awareness on the importance of breastfeeding in saving lives and supporting development outcomes. They are holding a Breastfeeding Solidarity March in Gaborone on 10 June, starting at 8:30 (announcement below)
Find out details and follow events by liking the group on Facebook:
You could also post a message of support to campaigners on the Facebook page if you are unable to make it to the march.
Organisations wishing to send an official letter of support to the Department of Health in Botswana can send this to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will pass it on.
Breastfeeding is under attack in Botswana at at time when it is more important than ever due to the drought the country is suffering in some regions.
Nestlé has been exposed for violating marketing requirements for breastmilk substitutes and the police have passed a file to the Director of Public Prosecutors. Click here for details – click here to support the boycott of Nestlé products to put pressure on the company to change.
Baby Milk Action highlighted the scandal of Nestlé marketing in Botswana as the company marked the 150th anniversary of its founding at the company’s shareholder meeting in April 2016. We wish the campaigners well for the March on 10 June.
Botswana was selected as a case study for implementing strong measures in the WHO/UNICEF/IBFAN State of the Code 2016 report launched on 9 May 2016. Now we need to see enforcement action taken against Nestlé and other companies that break the law. Click here for the launch event.
Official announcement for the solidarity march:
THE BOTSWANA BREASTFEEDING SOLIDARITY MARCH, GABORONE
10th June 2016
This campaign is a multi-sectoral, multi-partner initiative to raise public awareness on the importance of breastfeeding in saving lives and supporting developmental outcomes. The campaign seeks to equip members of the public to protect, promote and support breastfeeding in an endeavour to improve survival and developmental outcomes of children in Botswana.
The benefits of breastfeeding are extensive. The Lancet, recently released results of an evaluation of global breastfeeding levels, trends and inequalities, as well as the benefits for both mother and child.
The evidence indicates that improving the rates of breastfeeding will substantially reduce deaths of children under the age of five, and reduce deaths of mothers. In addition, breastfeeding provides economic benefits, improved intelligence quotient (IQ), and better educational attainment for children and higher income in adulthood. Despite these massive returns from breastfeeding, Botswana has very low breastfeeding rates. Only 20% of babies are exclusively breastfed in the first 6 months, only 40% within the 1st hour of birth, and only 6% are still breastfeeding at 2 years. The current drought crisis calls upon us to work together to put breastfeeding on the national agenda and save lives.
This breastfeeding campaign presents an opportunity for all Partners to contribute time, effort or resources to the campaign, in a bid to re-establish a culture of breastfeeding and promote better development for Botswana.
Several organizations have already committed to take part in the solidarity march, including UNICEF, La Leche League, Botswana Breastfeeding Association, and Men& Boys for Gender Equality, the Catholic Church, the Seventh Day Adventist Church, the Islamic Women’s Group, Consumer Watchdog Botswana, Representative of media, and the Ministry of Health.