Botswana, has been lauded as a shining beacon for Democracy in Africa, through her adherence to the Rule of Law, peace and stability. Since independence in 1966, Botswana has held free and fair elections.
The country’s rich history, culture, and sound institutions have greatly influenced its successful milestones, which have translated in to economic development. 
Consultation or Therisanyo as it is widely understood has for centuries and beyond played a vital role in the everyday undertakings of every unit of society in Botswana. This extends from the family unit to the highest being the Nation. Consultation is a custom globally, done so as to ensure smooth facilitation of change, developments, multi-lateral and bilateral agreements to be put in to effect. Therefore, Batswana place great importance and respect on Morero, which is when consultations take effect. (Batho-Pele, 15th Edition)

The Kgotla System
The Kgotla remains the platform and place where communities converge for consultations as is the tradition of the land. This is the cornerstone of Botswana’s democracy where the principles of freedom of speech, participation or mmualebe in Setswana have been enshrined from time immemorial. These tenets have permeated and influenced Botswana’s transition into a multi-party democracy, where consultations continue to form the basis for National Development planning, community and Nation building. 
While recognizing that the Kgotla has, and continues to serve the country well, new developments such as digitizing and making information more accessible to everyone including the youth, need to be adopted. This will further strengthen and advance consultations beyond the Kgotla, where everyone can participate from anywhere. 
Seeking to improve on this tried and tested method of facilitating dialogue between citizens and leadership, it was found that Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) can be used to enhance citizen participation on policy dialogue and further strengthen democracy in Botswana, hence the birth of Botswana Speaks. 

What is Botswana Speaks?
Botswana Speaks is a parliamentary initiative aimed at enhancing democracy through public participation and policy dialogue. It is about enhancing the representative role of the Member of Parliament and building a responsive Parliament and Government for improved service delivery. It is about bringing all constituents onboard in an effort to enhance our traditional consultation systems (Kgotla meetings) while leveraging on new technologies.
The platform, which is web-based and has a mobile application, will allow citizens to send messages directly via an online system using computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones. The messages are uploaded automatically into a tracker, and viewed regularly by the members of Parliament for response. 

uSpeak and Speak4Yourself
Botswana Speaks has two components: 
uSpeak - for constituents to submit issues, opinions pertaining to their constituency. uSpeak enables constituents to be in touch with their MP’s and or request information from them.
Speak4Yourself enables constituents to discuss, vote on, make their position known about issues and legislation before Parliament. This empowers constituents to have more of a say and role with regard to policy making and motions tabled by their respective MP’s at Parliament. 

The Need for Botswana Speaks?
A key observation is that beyond physical community meetings there is limited contact between constituents and their MPs. This can be due to a host of reasons like the vastness of the country as well as limited time for MPs to be in their respective constituencies and being able to actively engage with their constituents. Botswana Speaks will revolutionise the way MPs, Parliament and Government interact with citizens. 
What Botswana Speaks will do:
    • Increase citizen participation in the democratic process 
    • Improve communication between Members of Parliament and Constituent.
    • Harness opportunities presented by the more than 100% mobile penetration in Botswana.
    • Increase uptake and use of Information Communication Technologies (ICT’s) in Botswana.
Botswana Speaks will not replace the current Kgotla consultation process but rather enhance citizen consultation through adoption of ICTs. 
The power to communicate with your MP 24/7, 365
The platform enables constituents to communicate with their MP’s 24/7, 365 and effectively capture and relay their suggestions and opinions on issues relating to service delivery and policy making amongst others, all at the click of a button on your computer or any smart mobile device.
Botswana Speaks is FREE!!! 
Use of the Botswana Speaks platform is simple and access is made easy whether you are at home, in the office or on the move. 
For those that do not have access to internet, you will be able to access Botswana Speaks for free at any of the Parliament constituency offices where there is a dedicated Botswana Speaks officer to assist the public with either registration or using the platform.
Mobile application
Botswana Speaks has a mobile application downloadable from Google Play Store and Apple Store. The mobile app has an offline functionality. The mobile application provides all services found on the website.

Botswana Speaks Constituency Officers
All Parliament constituency offices across Botswana have a dedicated Botswana Speaks officer based at each office. The officers are extensively trained on Parliament functions and on using the Botswana Speaks platform and will be ready to address any queries should they arise and ensure that every constituent has access to the platform irrespective of their age, gender, religion and or political affiliation.