Nation-wide coverage (10/10 districts)

BONELA is a national network of individuals, groups and organisations working to protect and promote the rights of people infected and affected by HIV and AIDS.

The Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV/AIDS (BONELA) was established in 2002 as a network of concerned individuals, groups and organisations passionate about championing the human rights of people living with HIV and AIDS, including most people who are at higher risk of HIV.

In 2009 Botswana had an HIV prevalence rate of 24.8% according to UNAIDS.

The country has recorded outstanding performance in responding to the epidemic; the national health care system provides free anti-retroviral drugs to all who need it and has surpassed prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) targets.

However, the ethical and legal rights of people living with HIV and AIDS and the most at-risk populations such as women, children, sexual minorities, refugees and prisoners, have not been entrenched in the various laws, policies and practices.  They are not adequately represented in the national response and stigma and discrimination threaten to reverse the gains made by the country.

BONELA has undertaken the monitoring of human rights violations and advocacy for a national response that guarantees the ethical and legal rights of those affected. BONELA’s mission remains focused on influencing the legal framework that ensures guaranteed fundamental human rights, towards ensuring justice and dignity for people affected by HIV/AIDS through education, and legal assistance, research and advocacy.

BONELA is working to prevent HIV among men who have sex with men and sex workers as part of the Alliance’s Africa Regional Programme, read more here.



  • Through BONELA’s advocacy, the Botswana Public Service Act was reformed so that it prohibited unfair dismissal in the workplace due to health status including HIV.
  • BONELA’s awareness raising and advocacy campaign on cervical cancer for women living with HIV and AIDS lead to the Ministry of Health including accessibility to pap smears for women living with HIV in national policy.
  • Refugees in Botswana now have access to ARV treatment as a result of BONELA’s advocacy efforts.
  • Between 2007 and 2010, 1706 children, women, MSM/WSW, and LGBTI communities were reached through BONELA’s training in the areas of TB, treatment literacy, HIV and human rights. As a result of these interventions behaviour is changing, there is increased access to services for sexual minorities and policies and procedures are being reviewed.
  • BONELA is developing Botswana’s first ‘Three I’s’ (Infection Control, Izoniazid preventative therapy, and Intensified case finding) training manual for TB prevention.
  • The National strategic framework recognises sexual minorities as a target group due to BONELA’s advocacy interventions for policy reform.
  • As a result of BONELA’s advocacy, a national strategy was developed to guide implementation of national targeted interventions for people at higher risk of HIV.
  • To address stigma and discrimination that children living with HIV face, BONELA ran an HIV prevention and awareness program in schools and community outreach to parents.


Access to justice

Legal aid for people discriminated against due to HIV, and strategic litigation of HIV public interest cases to lead to legal reform. 

Awareness raising and advocacy

Media campaigning, training and community outreach in areas such as access to health services for people living with HIV, HIV integrated in to broader health areas such as TB, and care and support for Orphaned and Vulnerable Children.

Partnership building and partner strengthening

Expanding BONELA’s network and providing technical support and organisational development for partners


BONELA conducts research on issues faced by those affected by HIV such as access to health services for key populations (LGBT, prisoners, sex workers) to inform advocacy campaigns



BONELA will work to strengthen civil society by:

  • Expanding its network and increasing coverage
  • Building technical capacity of civil society organisations drawing from the global Alliance learning – skills, knowledge, resources, strengthen internal systems and structures, and onward granting.
  • Improving programming quality in relation to advocacy and HIV awareness materials
  • Mainstreaming human rights in civil society
  • Continuing influencing law and policy reform relating to people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS


The Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV/AIDS

P.O. Box 402958, Gaborone, BOTSWANA


  • People living with HIV
  • HIV prevelance
  • Deaths due to AIDS
  • Orphans due to AIDS

     BONELA works so that the nation can afford people living with HIV quality of life and dignity