29 April 2009:
BONELA to lose Director to International Organization
The Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV and AIDS (BONELA) would like to announce the resignation of its Executive Director, Ms. Christine Stegling.
Ms. Stegling, the founder of BONELA started the organization in 2001, housed in a small office at Ditshwanelo. Through hard work and persistence, she has seen the organization grow in leaps and bounds and it now boasts about 20 employees working on 5 programme areas, namely Training and Education; Policy Advocacy; Legal Awareness; Research and Media. Under these programmes are various projects such as Treatment Literacy; Legal Aid; Prevention and Research Initiative for Sexual Minorities; Sexual Reproductive Health Rights and the Domestic Violence Project.
Under Ms. Stegling’s leadership, BONELA has become a household name in Botswana as a major player in the human rights arena in relation to the HIV and AIDS response and is widely recognized internationally. In recognition of excellence in the fight against HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis and the promotion of a human rights based response to the twin epidemics in southern Africa in 2008, BONELA was awarded the AIDS Rights Alliance of Southern Africa (ARASA) HIV and Human Rights Award in South Africa. Whilst Ms. Stegling could not have achieved this feat on her own, she facilitated the recruitment of a committed staff which she has personally mentored and motivated to advocate on behalf of vulnerable communities.
Ms. Stegling will join the International HIV/AIDS Alliance as the Senior Advisor: Human Rights and People Living with HIV/AIDS Involvement in Brighton in the United Kingdom. In explaining her decision, Ms. Stegling said; “I have thought long and hard about this. I have been in Botswana for ten years and feel it is time for me to move on to a place where I can do more advocacy work. I am confident that BONELA will continue to do well and may even do better with another person at the helm who may inject new ideas and energy into the advocacy work of the organization.”
Whilst BONELA wishes Ms. Stegling the best in her future endeavours, her departure is not only a great loss to the organization, but to the human rights movement in Botswana.