International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
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Congress Logo 33rd World Vegetarian Congress
Chiang Mai, Thailand, January 4 - 10, 1999
'Vegetarianism is the Way'
an unforgettable visual, cultural and gastronomic experience

Promoting Vegetarianism in Botswana
The Vegetarian Society of Botswana

A talk given by Dr. Pushpendra K. Jain

The paper begins with an overview of the food and dietary habits of the people of Africa. It is observed that while most of the African population is non-vegetarian, the consumption of meat and meat products in most cases is very nominal as compared to the meat eating habits of the people of rich western countries. The source of animal protein varies according to regions, for example people from coastal areas and those living near lakes and rivers, consume more fish, while those far away from large bodies of water eat more red meat and poultry. The quantity and frequency of meat consumption depends on the financial capacity of individuals, which in many cases is low.

Botswana is no exception to this general trend except that, being a relatively rich country, its people are in a position to afford more. Botswana is also a cattle farming country, supplies beef to the European Economic Community, and beef is also the main meat product consumed locally. Having experienced and observed severe lack of services and concern for vegetarians by the local tourist industry, the Vegetarian Society of Botswana was founded in 1995 with an objective of, among others, to promote awareness about vegetarianism. The Society during its existence of four years has grown slowly but steadily, and at present it is one of the most successful societies of this nature in the region. A brief account of the history of the founding of the Society, its aims and objectives, and the activities undertaken and planned is presented.

Dr. Pushpendra K. Jain

Born in a religious, Jain family of Saharanpur, India in 1946, Dr. Pushpendra K. Jain has been a vegetarian since birth. He completed his education in India and USA and holds a Ph.D. degree in Physics from the University of Connecticut. He has worked in research and academic positions in India, USA and Zambia, and for the past twelve years has been teaching at the University of Botswana.

He is the Founder Chairman Vegetarian Society of Botswana (VSB) which was formed in 1995. Since 1997 he has been the IVU Regional Secretary: Africa Region. The VSB, in spite of being a young organisation in a part of the world where the dietary habits are predominantly non-vegetarian, has been active and sucessful. He has also contributed occasioanlly to the IVU-talk Group and the IVU Newsletter.

He is married to Priti, who holds a degree in Law, and a Masters degree in Library Sciences and Information Technology. They have two daughters Gauri (1981), Shilpi (1989) and a son Shitesh (1989).

Besides a number of profession societies, he is a member of the Lions Club and the Mensa International (UK); collects coins, stamps and phone cards.