The history of FES Botswana – Over 70 years promoting social democracy

After signing the agreement with the Government of Botswana in 1974, priorities of cooperation were placed on strengthening political institutions in order to enhance the democratic development of Botswana despite an adverse political environment in the neighbourhood. Early projects targeted political partners, small businesses, trade unions, radio journalists, and academic research.

Up to the end of the 1990s, the foundation concentrated on broad political education programs, especially in rural areas, and on developing strategic individual projects, which provided important impetus for the political, economic and social environment.

From the 1990s onwards, the focus on co-operation shifted. The scope of activities comprised issues such as institutional reforms, economic and social policy, local democracy and policy dialogue with civil society. The FES played an increasing role in promoting regional integration with different programmes in the SADC Region.

Since the beginning of 2000, works in the area of ​​youth and youth politics have been intensified. Every year, the FES brings together young graduates and professionals active in politics and society for several workshops and skills trainings.

1980 - 1990

His Excellency, the president Sir Ketumile Masire meets FES Resident Representative Erfried Adam (early 1980s).


FES Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in August 1987 at the President Masire Centre, Gaborone.


His Excellency, the president Sir K. Masire meets the German Chancellor Willy Brandt at FES in Bonn in June 1991. In the background is Gaositwe Chiepe, Botswana's first female cabinet member, and former FES Resident Representative Erfried Adam.


Training for Parliamentarians offered by FES Botswana in Gaborone in 1997.


Resident Representative Michael Meier speaking at the conference "Economic Policy in Labour Surplus Economies – Strategies for Growth and Job Creation in Southern Africa” organised by FES Botswana and the World Bank in May 2000 in Gaborone.


FES Launch of a "NGO Code of Conduct" in 2000 in cooperation with BOCONGO. On the left: Minister of Education, Jakpob Nkate.


His Excellency, the president Festus Mogae and German president Johannes Rau in Berlin at the 75th Anniversary of FES in 2000.


FES Gender and HIV-AIDS Conference in June 2001. Margaret Nasha (left) later becomes first female Speaker of Parliament in Botswana.


In preparation for the elections in 2004, FES Botswana, with the support of the British Embassy and the Department for International Development, launches a workshop programme called "Positioning Women Politicians for 2004 and Beyond", implemented with the "CAUCUS for Women in Politicians" as main partner.


In 2005, FES memorises "40 Years of Democracy in Botswana" with a high level Symposium looking back at 40 years of successful and stable democracy. 2nd Top Table on Civil Society: Resident Representative Marc Meinardus, Director of DITSHWANELO – Botswana Centre for Human Rights Alice Mogwe and Clara Olson, publication editor.


Speaker of Parliament Ray Molomo (left), Vice President Lt. General Seretse Khama Ian Khama (middle) and Resident Representative Marc Meinardus at the "Celebrating 40 Years of Democracy in Botswana" book launch in September 2005.


His Excellency, the president Lt. General Seretse Khama Ian Khama meets Resident Representative Helmut Elischer and the former FES Head of Africa Department in 2009.


His Excellency, former president Sir Ketumile Masire signs the FES publication "Transparency, Accountability and Corruption in Botswana" at the book launch in 2009.


In November 2014, the SADC Council of Non-Governmental Organization and FES organised a SADC Brainstorming Meeting to develop a strategy and ‘Plan of Action’ for the revitalization of the National Committees in the SADC region.


In 2016, the Centre for Conflict Resolution (CCR), Cape Town, South Africa, and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) office in Gaborone hosted a two-day policy advisory group seminar in Gaborone on "Region-Building and Peace-building in Southern Africa". The Botswana seminar assessed key issues on region-building and peace-building in Southern Africa while analysing South Africa’s leadership role in the sub-region.


In August 2017, FES Botswana in cooperation with BOCONGO hosts a panel discussing under topic "Funding of Political Parties. Who pays for Politics?". The panellists were Dr Kaboyakgosi (left), Prof Molomo (second left), Hon Dumelang Selashando (UDC) (second right) and Dr Batlang Serema (BDP) (right).


In 2018, FES Botswana hosts the Annual African Youth conference on Social Justice & Democracy.


On 1st December 2021, Alice Mogwe, founder and director of DITSHWANELO – The Botswana Centre for Human Rights, receives the Annual FES Human Rights Award in Gaborone for her decade-long work for human rights in Botswana & Southern Africa.