In Botswana, Stepping Stones International (SSI) provides holistic programs to vulnerable youth and their families and caregivers, focusing on life skills, psychosocial support, leadership skills and community outreach. SSI plays a significant role in advocacy for child protection and against gender-based violence. They run several support groups including a Grannies tea group, a young mothers club, and a teen club.
The “Grannies Tea” sessions provide psychosocial support through an open forum for grandmothers to share their experiences in their communities and families. Some of the challenges that are shared in the support group include teenage pregnancy, adolescent sexual behavior, and the inter-generational communication barriers they confront while raising adolescents. The grannies are passionate, compassionate, and energetic in supporting one another and the community. SSI has received requests from nearby districts to start the grannie group program in their areas.
When the COVID-19 lockdown began in Botswana, social workers from SSI called every family enrolled in support groups, including the Grannies Tea group. They are continuing to provide support to families, regularly checking in on all their participants to make sure they have enough food and supplies, and are coping well psychologically. After the lockdown, SSI is planning to hold group sessions with grannies, young mothers, and children in the program to provide psychosocial support to address the mental impact of being in lockdown.