Dawn Mokgautsi

Country: Botswana

Organization when receiving Katie Fleming Award from Coady: Francistown Network of Support Groups

The late Dawn Mokgautsi was the founder of the Francistown Network of Support Groups in Botswana, which focused on AIDS support and awareness at the grassroots level across the community. The network provided an enabling environment to facilitate coping and living positively, to conduct mobilization, to disseminate information, and to promote safer sex.

As a woman who lived positively with HIV, and as a social activist, Dawn is a role model for other women fighting for equal rights and the elimination of stigma. She worked as an advisor for people living with HIV/AIDS in the district of Francistown. In this role, she worked with the district AIDS coordinator in the Ministry of Primary Health Care Services to coordinate, standardize, and implement technical advice activities. She actively mobilized other people living with HIV to promote a district-wide vision of empowerment and non-discrimination. A counsellor by profession, Dawn also provided HIV counselling on positive living, adherence to medication, disclosure, and safer sex. She encouraged other women to talk openly about their HIV-positive status and become involved with antiretroviral clinics in their communities.


At a time when millions of women are struggling for their rights, respect and dignity so that they can be recognized and participate meaningfully in development around the world, I feel privileged to be here … I feel a responsibility in my heart as I stand here among you, much as I imagine Katie felt. I share her devotion to make a difference.

– Dawn Mokgautsi in her 2008 acceptance speech.