Bontle Mbongwe, Ph.D., MSc., BSc., BEd

A senior lecturer at the University of Botswana Department of Environmental Health. She holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Health from the University of Pretoria and MSc. in Biology (specialization: Chemical and Environmental Toxicology) from the University of Ottawa in Canada. She is the founder and Executive Director of the influential Anti-Tobacco Network (ATN), Botswana’s first tobacco control civil society organization. She began her career as a Government official where she among other things was active in the promotion of public health. She was instrumental in the negotiations of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). Her commitment and dedication to tobacco control earned her a prestigious WHO Director General’s award for leadership in global tobacco control in 2003 at the adoption of the FCTC in Geneva. She is a recipient of the INWAT 2018 Achievement Award. Some of her notable works include exposing the tobacco industry partnerships with the Government of Botswana, boldly challenging the Tobacco industry youth smoking campaigns and successfully advocating for the introduction of a tobacco levy in Botswana. Through her commitment to community service, advocacy and capacity building, Dr Mbongwe has built a network of media and Nongovernmental organizations committed to tobacco control. Her youth smoking research has informed the structure of initiatives such as Sky Girls BW – a sisterhood that helps girls stay true to themselves and what they believe in. She has served on the boards of several international organizations, and has taken part in government consultations and training in several countries. Dr. Mbongwe continues to be a committed leader and mentor for emerging tobacco control activists in her home country as well as in Africa and globally.

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