From August 16–22, 2023, a delegation from UW–Madison traveled to different parts of Botswana to connect with partners at the Okavango Research Institute (ORI) and the Botswana Wildlife Training Institute (BWTI) in Maun, as well as leadership from the University of Botswana (UB), the Ministry of Environment & Tourism (MET), and the US Embassy in Gaborone. The delegation consisted of Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies Dean, Paul Robbins; Nelson Institute Director of International and Professional Programs, Nathan Schulfer, and International Division Director of External Relations, Maj Fischer. The meetings focused on the current project that UW, ORI, and BWTI are working on focusing on community based management oriented monitoring systems (MOMS). This project is funded by the US Embassy in Gaborone’s Small Grants Office.
The UW delegation began by visiting the ORI and BWTI campuses in Maun. At ORI, representatives from UB and UW explored broad research and exchange (student and faculty) opportunities between ORI and UW-Madison. At BWTI, Schulfer and the BWTI project team shared about the ongoing MOMS work—funded by the US Embassy in Gaborone—and how to support BWTI with strategic planning and curricular review.
In Gaborone, the UW delegation then met with UB leadership to explore a larger set of UW–Madison exchange opportunities between the two universities. Afterwards, the group met with MET representatives to work on an emerging MOU that is focused on building a data management system for MET’s multiple departments, support for the MOMS e-tool and curriculum/training development, and (ideally) to help BWTI on their strategic planning and curricular review, amongst other potential areas for collaboration. The visit concluded with a meeting with the US Embassy to learn more about education-related priorities in the country and share about the ongoing work between UW and other partners in-country.
For the University of Botswana press release on the visit, see https://www.ub.bw/news/wisconsin-university-keen-strengthening-relations-university-botswana.
For information about the 2018 visit, see https://www.ub.bw/news/university-wisconsin-madison-eager-aid-ub-transformation.