US Ambassador to Botswana Craig L. Cloud travelled to Maun on May 4 to visit partners and U.S. government-funded projects demonstrating the United States’ support for Botswana’s economic and environment resiliency and community health.
During a visit to the Elephant Havens, the Ambassador helped launch a rehabilitation centre for orphaned elephants that will facilitate their eventual return to the wild. He also met with Kgosi Tlotlang and community members working to improve the coexistence of communities and wildlife and promote community-based natural resource management. Elephant Havens is supported by a $13,600 (158,940 BWP) grant from the Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Fund for the solar electric fence material for this soft-release area. The Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Fund is a grass-roots assistance program that funds grants for small development activities to assist small-scale, short term, community-driven projects that improve economic and social conditions at the local level. The Embassy is currently accepting applications for this funding opportunity, and more information can be found here: https://bw.usembassy.gov/notice-of-funding-opportunity/ .
Ambassador Cloud also visited partners at the Okavango Research Institute to better understand the research and educational efforts underway to promote the importance of preserving the Okavango Delta wetland and its adjacent dryland ecosystems. Education and research are key to ensuring sustainable natural resource management and water security in the region, as laid out in the 2018 U.S. Defending Economic Livelihoods and Threatened Animals (DELTA) Act [ https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/4819/text ]. The Ambassador also met a U.S. Fulbright Student Research Fellow currently conducting research at ORI as part of a U.S. government-funded educational exchange.
U.S. Ambassador Craig Cloud and members of the U.S. Embassy at a tour of the Okavango Research Institute (ORI), to better understand some of the research and educational efforts
Finally, the Ambassador visited and toured Letsholathebe Memorial Hospital for a briefing and demonstration of the “HIV Recency” study funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with PEPFAR funding. With the support from the Botswana University of Maryland School of Medicine Health Initiative, the HIV Recency study aims to identify HIV transmission hot spots to help guide the Ministry of Health and Wellness’ interventions, including HIV testing and prevention strategies, to halt ongoing transmission.