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Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity
Oabona Sepora AFSEE

Oabona Sepora

Executive Director, Friends of Diversity

Oabona is a researcher and social worker, and the Executive Director of Friends of Diversity. He was previously a Lecturer in Public Health at the Institute of Development Management (IDM) in Botswana. An alumnus of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), Oabona has over eight years of experience in the human rights movement in Botswana and internationally, with a particular focus on the rights of minority and underprivileged groups in the sub-Saharan Africa diaspora. His work focuses on challenging discriminatory policies that oppresses young women, girls, and queer people.

Oabona has worked with a number of NGOs in Botswana including DITSHWANELO-The Botswana Centre for Human Rights, SRHR Africa Trust, Young African Leadership and Development in Africa (YALDA), among others. He is currently the campaign lead for reform #53, a campaign organised by the Commonwealth Youth Gender and Equality Network, which calls on Commonwealth governments to address existing laws discriminating against women and LGBTI people. He is also affiliated with international organisations such as the International Aids Society, CIVICUS, the Aids and Rights Alliance for Southern Africa (ARASA) and the U.S Alumni Exchange Programme.

Oabona was one of 20 litigants who successfully challenged the Government of Botswana in 2013 to register an LGBTI organisation, Lesbians, Gays, and Bisexuals of Botswana (LEGABIBO). In 2014, he was hosted by the Center for Human Rights and Rehabilitation in Lilongwe, Malawi, and he has also presented abstracts on research into sexual and reproductive health rights in Nairobi, Kenya and in other African countries.

He holds a master’s in Human Rights and Democratization in Africa from the University of Pretoria, following an undergraduate degree in Social Work from the University of Botswana.

How does change happen? What I have observed is that challenging inequality is a gradual process which requires strategic focus and positive synergies. Societies respond progressively when it comes to confronting inequality. The reality at times is that certain factors in societal structures can be an obstacle for change to happen. Many people are ready to make change but at times do not have the necessary support and technical skills to manoeuvre around it. There is power in empowering the affected communities. In my advocacy work for LGBTI people in my country, I recognised that if people are empowered themselves, achieving change will be more effective.

Oabona Sepora


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