The Responsible Citizen - April 2022

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APRIL 2022 | ISSUE 3



THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN MAGAZINE is an industry stalwart supporter in profiling successes in organizational CSI/CSR policy across multiple industries, bringing to the fore an informative and educational approach to showcasing the individuals and institutions driving sustainable practices in business, entrepreneurship and community development. Ours is a development and non-controversial publication which also provides good reference material that can be used by policy makers, academics and professionals.

To feature your CSI mission and advertise your business with us, contact: Tel: +267 3116813 / 73 329 959 Email: |



06 | Founder’s Welcome 07 | Editor’s Note

12 | Emang Basadi Elects New President: Meet Theresa Mmolawa

14 | BITC Launches PushaBW SMME Road Show To Enhance Local Retail Production

COVER STORY 08 | Overcoming Adversity To Triumph In Education Advocacy: The Story Of Kaene Disepo

16 | Botswana Land Boards, Local Authorities and Health Workers Union (BLLAHWU) Celebrates 50 Years Of Existence This Year

18 | Ticano Group: Championing Financial Inclusion For People With Disabilities

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APRIL 2022 • ISSUE 3



20 | The Upcycle Project

32 | Children In The Wilderness:

Leads In Planetary Restoration In Botswana

Empowering Girls Through STEM

23 | The Kazungula Bridge Marathon:

33 | Futuremakers Botswana Pioneering Youth Sustainable Development

A Race towards Community Development

26 | Innovative CSI On Fleek

36 | Girls4Girls Botswana: Female Empowerment From The Grassroots

28 | Lucara On Building Resilient

38 | Stepping Stone International


Advocates For The Empowerment Of Children

30 | Walk A Mile In Her Shoes




Founder and Editor Mpho Moletlo Kgosietsile

Managing Director of Wise Leadership (Pty) Ltd Editor Yvonne C Mtengwa Narratives PR

CONTENT CONTRIBUTORS Chedza Mmolawa Lorraine Kinnear Seneo Setilo-Matlapeng



@trcbotswana @TRCMagazine @theresponsiblecitizen @theresponsiblecitizenmagazine

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Founder’s Welcome


he year 2022 in my opinion, is one of the busiest years in the past 5 years. This I believe, is due to the fact that the world is now waking up from the slumber of the past two years enforced by the Covid-19 pandemic. I am amazed at how we have just wrapped up the 1st quarter. It clearly shows that we have missed out on a lot of activity and engagements. Though the world had to transition into a virtual world in a much faster


pace, we cannot take away the fact that human beings thrive on physical interaction. During the pandemic, as each country had to fend for themselves, we saw the rise of citizens calling on each other to play their part, especially in the field of food security, health, education and manufacturing of different products for sustainability purposes. The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) have become a reference point as it is clear that each country has to endeavour to achieve them. The need for sustainability has caused a stir in the communities and has seen community champions and builders, rising to the occasion to build, impact and create a measurable difference in the community. Kudos to the Community Champions in Botswana and the rest of the world for their endeavour to make a difference in what we would call the most difficult era in the world. Against all odds, they stood. The experiences of the past few years has magnified the triple context of PEOPLE.PLANET.PROFIT. Businesses cannot thrive alone without the involvement of the community and the environment. In Botswana, corporates are being intentional in ensuring that the society and the environment are encompassed in their strategies. However, there is more to be done to ensure that the UN SDG’s are integrated in the businesses to drive the message of sustainable development through. We encourage businesses to take centre stage and drive sustainability and create impact that is driven by SDG’s. Not only does it result in a better society and environment, but it is also good for business as this drives focus on performance across all perspectives. Sincerely,


Editor’s Note


t’s incredible – the pace at which the world is moving, and with individuals and corporates the world over making a comeback from the impasses caused by the global pandemic, having closed off the last quarter with much uncertainty over reports of the newly discovered Omicron variant. The western world quickly shut its doors to Africa’s SADC region, before adding further travel bans and limiting trade corridors across the East and West. Opinions were high over this isolation, which further resulted in more socio-economic strain in landscapes that had waited all year to turn a new leaf. As we wrap up 2022’s first quarter, we bear testimony to the collective voices and leaders of our time, remaining cognizant of those who are taking a special interest in the climate change agenda on the back of COP26 in Glasglow at the end of last year, where Botswana highlighted its vast potential as a producer and exporter of renewable energy sources. At The Responsible Citizen Magazine, the evolvTHE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT

ing face of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs) remains a key pillar in our quest to highlight success stories in the area of corporate social responsibility. With the Dubai Expo 2020 concluding in the Middle East, Botswana returns from this exhibition with a report of having promoted the best of its mining and manufacturing outputs at the globe’s largest postCovid19 trade exhibition of our time. What efforts are organisations making to contribute towards the prescribed, often recited SDGs, is a question we continue to seek the answers for in our reporting, and who are the everyday community leaders, taking a stand each day to make a difference in the lives of Batswana locally and beyond our borders? Community-based initiatives continue to be the cornerstone of grassroots development, with Covid19 having been the impetus from which more individuals have found the inspiration to make a difference from where they are, leveraging networking and the spirit of mobilization in doing so. In this Issue, we learn from changemakers on a quest for girl child and empowerment of women in Botswana, leaders in the creative space who have non-conventional methods for fostering socio-economic impact, we learn more about how a simple hashtag became a rallying cry for more local manufacturing and the enhancement of the “buy local” retail agenda – and so much more. A special thank you goes out to all the organisations and individuals that have shared their stories for our first Quarterly wrap up Issue, and those we continue to convene with as we showcase more of our governmental, institutional and individual heroes playing their part in advancing the spirit of Batswana, and its quest for growth across numerous spectra. Yours truly,

wa g n e t .M

C e n n o v Y


Overcoming Adversity To Triumph In Education Advocacy: The Story Of Kaene Disepo By Chedza Mmolawa


e are often told that we are not what our circumstances dictate, that we are not where we come from and our paths are not defined by the adversities we have faced. This could not be more true for KAENE DISEPO, who at a very young age learned that the hardships in our lives should not be excuses for failure or detriment. At the age of 15, he was suddenly uprooted from the security and comfort of his father’s home to live in a one-room house in one of Gaborone’s poorest locations. Despite his battle with coming to terms with the new turmoil in his life, Disepo channelled his pain and sudden life experience to build a life beyond an ordinary teenager’s imagination. Today, at the age of 27 he is a Development Consultant with a work portfolio that includes UNESCO, International American Development Bank, Commonwealth, GIZ, and Victoria League for Commonwealth Friendships. He is the founder of an education-focused NGO named Inspired Horizons Association, and a development consultancy called Change Africa. The latter founded Debating Botswana, a platform to develop thought leadership through debate training on key development issues in Botswana. He currently serves Botswana National Youth Council Board (BNYC) as the Inclusion and Social Diversity Chairperson, the United Nations Generations Unlimited Botswana’s Steering Committee, and also the youngest Botswana Top Achievers Review Committee member.


Disepo’s accolades include the Young African Leader Award, BNYC’s Best Youth in Academic Excellence award recipient, Rare Rising Star Second Best Black Student in the United Kingdom, and Top 50 of Britain’s Young Future Leaders of Africa and Caribbean Descent. He has an MSc in Development Management and a BSc in International Relations, both from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). The Responsible Citizen (TRC) sat down with Disepo on what turned out to be an enlightening breakfast interview. TRC: May you give the TRC reader your background of what you deem to be your authentic self. KD: Growing up as an only child I had a typical childhood. My mom was a teacher and my dad was in the military. I did my primary school education in Maun where I lived with my dad because my mom moved a lot with work. Unfortunately, when I was in form 3 my parents got separated and I had to move to Gaborone, in Newstance, under the care of my loving aunt. We lived a humble life, we lived in a 1 room house and that shift in my life taught me how to develop a thick skin. TRC: Where does your passion for community development and diplomacy stem from? KD: My mother played a significant role in influencing my passion. She is a giving person with a huge heart, and I think that’s where I learned and emulated her character. But largely, my passion came from how I grew up and wanting to escape it. People often ask me if I would change the way I grew up if I could, and I always tell them that I honestly would. I say this because it was not pretty. You know how we say we are shaped by our history. It wasn’t the easiest for me. At some point, I was borderline THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT


depressed, and I had to go for counselling because it was a lot to internalise. And that’s why I say my passion came from talking about my circumstances. I also joined debates to talk more and that was my way of fighting society. TRC: You were awarded the Top Achievers Scholarship after form 5 for being the second-best student in the country. What doors did this accolade open for you? KD: I used Top Achievers to engage. When there were events, I would always speak and the Permanent Secretary (PS) to the Ministry of Education at the time loved the energy I had. I had an act of daredevil courage that intrigued them. I remember I would walk from Newstance to Botswana Education Hub in flip flops and ask them to change some of their policies and the way they engaged with young learners. And this opened doors for me because I always had a lot of interest in education. I wanted to improve access to a quality education because I realised what that could do for somebody like me. It was inconceivable for an 18year old to engage Ministers and Policy Changers, and it was even more inconceivable for it to be someone from the neighbourhood I came from but I did. TRC: When and how did you actively start to engage in community development? KD: I was at university when I registered my first NGO in Botswana. I registered it in 2016 but it started fully functioning in 2018 after I completed my master’s. I started an NGO called Inspired Horizons Association which is focused on improving access to quality education but changing the narrative of academic excellence. It was established to advance the needs and priorities of various minorities and vulnerable groups in Botswana. The organisation’s mandate shares THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT



a core interest in line with Botswana’s Vision 2036 Pillar 2 on ‘Human Social Development’, Sustainable Development Goal 4 on ‘Quality Education’, and SDG 5 Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment. I didn’t want to create the narrative that being book smart and an A* student is the only way you are guaranteed success in life. I wanted to move beyond academic excellence. Under Inspired Horizons I have other flagship programs outlined below. INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITIES CAREER FAIR KD: In 2019 I took it upon myself to host the first-ever week-long international universities career fair. I brought 23 universities from the UK, USA, Grenada, and South Africa. I didn’t just bring in directors of admission from various schools; I also brought in the Deans, Vice-Chancellors, and founders of the universities. What I guaranteed these universities as a value proposition was that I could get them closer to our top achievers as a top achiever myself. So I brought them an already promised clientele who could get sponsorship from anywhere and that’s what I leveraged from. I also arranged networking sessions that gave a platform to partnerships, skills exchange programs and so on. I arranged a meeting with various Deputy Permanent Secretaries in Botswana. It was gratifying for me to facilitate how to elevate and improve access to quality education, and at the time I was only 25 years old. YOUNG MOTHERS SUPPORT NETWORK KD: With the money I got from the career fair, I started the Young Mothers Support Network (YMSN) which is the fastest-growing support haven for young mothers in the country. After doing some research, we found out that Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW) are often excluded from the social and health interventions that are delivered through conventional policies, nor do they have access to accurate information about their sexual and reproductive health and rights and inherently lack of knowledge or access to HIV/AIDS prevention or treatment services. We have managed to identify several young mothers in Botswana and build on improving AGYW’s understanding of advocacy work on national processes for better engagement in advocacy which influences policy, legal reform, and the design and implementation of programs. This continues to be done through our regular target audience-specific dialogues and workshops where we invite actual policy designers and influencers. The AGYW engages with these policy influencers who have a clear understanding of the issues they face, to discuss some of the country’s important national policies, and key recommendations advanced by AGYW. These platforms also create a hub for relevant information and research that we consider pivotal in policy influencing and is harnessed through the creation of evidence-based publications such as policy brief proposals and factsheets to be developed by the organisation. THE ADOLESCENT BOYS AND YOUNG MEN SUPPORT NETWORK KD: I started this support network to develop the self-worth,

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identity, and self-autonomy of healthy adolescent boys and young men. I realised that while we invest in and amplify the development of the girl child, we neglect the boy child who also faces critical life issues that affect their social and personal lives. What we do not realise is that when we neglect the boy child we are leaving room for him to grow into an irredeemable man with violent tendencies; a man who relies on drugs and alcohol to cope with life issues, or a man who is a gender-based violence perpetrator, to name a few. I started this to increase safe spaces for the boy child between the ages of 10 and 24. We focus on engagement in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights thought leadership, economic empowerment, and the promotion of gender equality. Boys and young men also need to be empowered to speak up about the misfortunes or hardships of their lives. The support group also works as a medium to encourage men to adopt healthy and positive principles and values that will have good outcomes on the quality of their lives. We advance this through mentorship seminars, dialogues, advocacy and policy engagement, economic empowerment, skills training, capacity building, and access to youth-friendly health services. DEBATING BOTSWANA KD: Debating Botswana is a flagship program under Change Africa. After seeing how much young people used social media to communicate when Covid 19 was at its highest, I saw an opportunity to create a safe space for engagement, particularly for young people. I worried that we do not have an outlet as young people to engage with policymakers. And so I created Debating Botswana so young people can actively participate in key development issues of this country but have adjudicators as key industry leaders and policymakers so that there is that facilitation of dialogue and bridging issues of low politics and high politics. The biggest goal for the program is to be the biggest producer of thought leaders in the country. Our debating sessions are organised around the central belief that thorough discussion of ideas is emphasised over the monolithic presentation of arguments. We want debaters to argue about issues and disagreements that are being fiercely debated in the media, in business, and between politicians. Debating Botswana wishes to germinate leaders that respect stakeholders enough not to substitute content for charisma. This year’s Debating Botswana Theme is ‘Strengthening Botswana’s National-International Linkages to Enhance a Youth-Driven Transformation Agenda.’ The objective is to enhance the capacity of young people to meaningfully participate in the implementation of national and international development frameworks. THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT


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Emang Basadi Elects New President: MEET THERESA MMOLAWA


Emang Basadi (EB), one of the country’s first non-governmental, non-profit making women’s human rights organisations, recently welcomed its newest president, Theresa Mmolawa, on December 4th, 2021. Formally founded in 1986 after a group of female friends started weekly meetings at the University of Botswana to discuss their mutual interest in issues affecting women in Botswana, Emang Basadi also came after the government formed the Women’s Affairs Unit under the Ministry of Home Affairs in 1981.


his founding group of women felt that the Women Affairs Unit did not address critical issues affecting women and those government departments marginalised and perceived women in terms of welfare rather than politics and so they wanted to change that narrative. The term 'Emang Basadi' is a Setswana phrase, meaning, 'Rise Women.' Emang Basadi Community Empowerment Emang Basadi's key objective is to render the principles of equality, justice, and peace for both genders in Botswana. It currently has a membership capacity of approximately 2000 men and women. The organisation's main goal is to develop action-orientated strategies, mobilising women to take steps that help change their social, political, economic, and legal positions in Botswana. As a form of execution and implementation, EB raises stakeholder and the general public's awareness through lobbying, advocacy, capacity development, legal aid, and counselling services for the empowerment of women. Emang Basadi departed radically from the traditions of established women's organisations, which were essentially welfare-oriented. The movement challenged men's

monopoly of the legislature such that in 1993, Emang Basadi officially changed its strategy, and shifted its focus, from championing individual rights to political empowerment, seeking to increase women's representation in the legislature, political parties, and cabinet. Meet Theresa Mmolawa: Emang Basadi's new President A teacher by profession, Mmolawa rose through the ranks of education development from being a primary school teacher to retiring as a School Head at Maoka Junior Secondary School (JSS) in Gaborone. She attributes her success in teaching to having a passion for it, citing that she loves teaching because she enjoys working with, and learning from other people. Mmolawa said the profession helped her to be accommodating and tolerant of others. She believes in a "bottom-up" management style because she believes that as a leader you are ultimately a servant of the people, and as such, should serve with diligence and humility. Mmolawa also believes in participative management, where everyone in an organisation has an impactful contribution that should not be overlooked. She said up to this day this is the same belief she carries in other areas of her life, and this is what she intends to do in her new role as the President of Emang Basadi.



TRC: Kindly share with our readers about your nomination to become President of Emang Basadi. How did that happen? TM: As I mentioned earlier, I work well with different people. You will be surprised at how many people pay attention to what you say to them. I always make sure I have relevant and impactful discussions with various people. So in this instance, when the post for president of EB became vacant someone remembered me. Someone I had worked with in the past, a woman who believed in me, put my name up for nomination. These are women who believe that when we work together, we will drive the mandate of the organisation very well and deliver on its objectives. After I was nominated, we went for the Emang Basadi Congress on December 4th, 2021, and because of my hard work, the women there voted for me. Before voting began we were allowed to present to the executive members what differences we will bring to the movement. I guess they loved what they heard and that was how I became president. TRC: What can Batswana expect from you during your tenure as president? TM: The world as we know it is continually evolving, and as this evolution takes place, my aspiration for Emang Basadi is that we reach new heights. I want our geographical reach to be extended and I intend to take Emang Basadi to the rural areas. It is my vision for Emang Basadi to have an impact on people in under-represented regions. And this means we have to put in the work to actualize our intentions. We will do this through various fundraising activities and I am thankful for having a great team made up of professional women who are bringing in volumes of wealth as accountants, researchers, counsellors, teachers, and all professionals you can think of. It is important to highlight and educate people that EB is not just for women; it doesn't benefit women alone. I also want to do away with the misconception that Emang Basadi is here to break the union of marriage by encouraging the woman to be defiant in her marriage. We aim to raise awareness of our organization through media, working with our partners such as Kgotlas, the police, schools, and others to educate people on what Emang Basadi truly represents. We are very passionate about addressing issues affecting Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in Botswana. By empowering women, we are not trying to disempower men. We will also look at empowering the boy child and the adult male. This way when we have informed and empowered people, we can work THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT

as one for the betterment of the welfare of our people as a whole. Nobody gets left behind. And we can reduce the escalating rate of GBV in this country. One of the biggest problems we are currently facing as a nation is depression. We need ways to channel our frustrations and fears. We need to open up better and create non-judgemental safe spaces of communication to help reduce the level of depression in this country. And the first step is intentionally engaging in dialogues surrounding the topic of depression, especially among men. Again, we intend to engage partners like Kgotlas, police, social workers, and teachers, employers to educate and empower people to overcome depression. During my tenure, I would also like us to open up and increase collaborations with different partners. I intend to work very closely with the Ministry of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs, and other organisations involved in citizen empowerment so that we foster a well-balanced nation. Emang Basadi was founded in 1986 meaning our constitution is quite old. We are currently working on renewing it and the new constitution will include us advocating for the boy child, adult male, people with disabilities, the LGBTQ community, marginalised minorities, and not just women. TRC: Are there current initiatives that EB has started developing? TM: We are currently underfunded, so we are on a mission to raise funds so that we are in a better position to help Batswana. We are in talks of collaborating with other organisations to avoid overlapping with them, as they may be doing similar initiatives. But I believe the most exciting initiative on the table for us right now is that we are going to start working with men and empowering the boy child. My goal is that within the first 100 days of my appointment, the EB constitution will have changed. TRC: You are a staunch opposition politician and have contested for the parliamentary seat twice. How will you stay impartial from your political influence during your tenure? TM: Emang Basadi is not a political organisation or association. EB is a nation-building organisation with value systems of lobbying for equality, justice, and peace. When I took over the role of the presidency, I made an oath to adhere to the mandate and principles of EB. I was well aware of the responsibility that came with it. I know not to align my role as the president with my political influence or affiliation. My intention as the president is to advocate and fight for the betterment of Botswana as a whole.

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BITC Launches PushaBW SMME Road Show To Enhance Local Retail Production By Chedza Mmolawa


he hashtag #PushaBw was popularised during the Covid-19 pandemic, as it was with the lockdown that Batswana realised that they had to be self-sufficient, and support one another’s local enterprises to survive. Batswana started purchasing goods from each other to keep their businesses afloat. The hashtag #PushaBw could be seen in almost every social media post such that the resultant #PushaBw campaign is a marketing initiative with an ambitious objective of driving a national paradigm shift towards the uptake of local products, thus creating employment and growing the national economy. The campaign was launched in 2018 by Brand Botswana, a national social development initiative under the Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC), the nation has recently witnessed the introduction of the #PushaBw Small Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMME) Road Show, which is aimed at mobilising Batswana to produce locally made products to be self-reliant in food security. The road show intends to generate excitement in end users about the quality and variety of home grown goods they will purchase. Its biggest objective is to drive communities of Botswana to buy

BITC CEO Keletsotsile Olebile

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local products, contribute to economic diversification, support local producers, provide public education, grow local industries, and stimulate job creation through local entrepreneurship, and build stronger local brands while accelerating export capacity. BOTSWANA INVESTMENT TRADE CENTRE Speaking at the launch of the #PushaBW SMME road show, Botswana Investment Trade Centre (BITC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Keletsositse Olebile, explained how the campaign targets three key players being the producer, retailer, and the consumer to improve the quality of local products for producers; have more of these products in the shelves of local stores, and for the consumer to consciously choose to buy the products. After an ongoing three-year journey, a steady increase in the uptake of local products has become visible. As the biggest organ of investment in the country, BITC is beginning to see that “local retailers” are committed to partnering with the government in ensuring the continued listing of local products in their stores. This is one of the positive goals the campaign aims to achieve. ROAD SHOW MECHANICS “The road show is the first steps in activating this commitment to have stores carry products from local business owners. Retailers in partnership with BITC will be travelling across the country to engage local producers to bridge the gaps that have been identified within the requirements to list these stores, especially the quality of their products. Retailers participating are; Sefalana, Trans Cash and Carry, Choppies, Fours, Woolworths, Pay Less, Pick ‘n Pay, and Square Mart. Other partners in this road show are Fairgrounds Holdings, CEDA, and LEA,” narrated Olebile. Speaking on behalf of the government of Botswana, the Acting Minister of Investment, Trade, and Industry, Honourable Mabuse Pule, explained what this campaign initiated by BITC means for the government and the country as a whole. The primary objective of the #PushaBW initiative is to reduce the import bill, which is currently over P85 billion, through uptake of locally produced goods and services; this is a very significant deliverable of the Ministry mandate. In 2020, the government put in place the Economic Recovery and Transformation Plan (ERTP) as a response measure towards the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the key deliverables for the Plan is SMME Development, which the road show aims to achieve. Through the ERTP, Government set aside nine hundred and fifty million pula (P950 million) towards SMME development. The ministry implores all local


Acting Minister of Investment, Trade, and Industry, Honourable Mabuse Pule

entrepreneurs to engage with these entities and avail themselves during and beyond the road show for capacity development. The road show was brought about by the fact that most of the retailers are not aware of what is readily available, on the other hand, some local producers are not aware of the requirements, and others struggle to meet those requirements for listing by the retailers. These requirements include, among others, meeting outlined quality standards, consistent and continuous supply as well as competitive pricing. Pule urges producers to strive for continuous improvement of their systems processes and improve the quality of their products, he encourages them to aim for excellence and suitably for international markets before they reach the local market, meaning their product labelling, packaging and coding should be precise. The Minister assures Batswana of their support for local production and consumption hence the recent approval of the Economic Inclusion Law and the Public Procurement Law. These laws are aimed at empowering citizens and decentralising procurement for ease of doing business. The #PushaBW initiative will be further supported through other initiatives with similar objectives such as Botswana Exporter Development Programme (BEDP), the Supplier Development Programme (SDP), and the SME Incubation Programme under Local Enterprise Authority (LEA). Through these initiatives, the government is capacitating companies to produce competitive products to penetrate both the local and international markets.

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Botswana Land Boards, Local Authorities and Health Workers Union (BLLAHWU) CELEBRATES 50 YEARS OF EXISTENCE THIS YEAR By Seneo Setilo Matlapeng

BLLAHWU President Thatayaone Mokhurutshe

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hen one mentions a labour movement or union, the thought of corporate activism for the sole purpose of speaking for the rights of the employees comes to play. However, the Botswana Land Boards, Local Authorities, and Health Workers Union (BLLAHWU) have taken the ball game a notch higher in how they represent their members, society, and their place as a labour union in the growth of the local socio-economy. And fifty years later they remain a leader in the union sector. History of the union BLLAHWU was established in 1972 and has been an instrumental advocate for its people, accruing a membership capacity of over 13000 employees who are in the public sector and parastatals over the years. BLLAWHU prides itself in recruiting from lowest paid, underpaid, and oppressed members of the public service ranging from cleaners, drivers across to doctors who are well qualified for their service provisions. To effectively service this population, the union has Regional Offices in Mabutsane, Francistown, Palapye, Ramotswa, Gantsi, and Gaborone where the head office is.


Restoring Dignity through Higher Learning Education Opportunities According to the union's manifesto, BLLAHWU exists fundamentally to protect, advance, and deepen workers' rights and bargain for improvement of workers' conditions of service and welfare, further striving for social justice. To realize the sustainability of its mandate, the union established BLLAHWU Foundation, which exists to provide sponsorship funding for its members to pursue their studies from qualifications as minor and yet impacting as Certificates, Diplomas, Degrees, and Masters in various fields of study. The union has prioritized providing learning opportunities for its members who are often shamed and shunned because of the nature of their jobs; however, the union is committed to restoring their dignity and empowers them through this opportunity of higher learning sponsorship. Advocacy for Its Members "When you mention the acronym BLLAHWU in any conversation, there is a silence and sense of respect before a description of the labour union can be uttered. BLLAHWU is radical, progressive, revolutionary, and very intentional about its objective to firmly call out any violation of workers in the public service," explains Mokhurutshe. A partnership between the government and the Public Service Bargaining Council (PSBC), led by BLLAH-


WU, was established in 2012. The collaboration is one of the union's success stories as talks between the government and the bargaining union collective have resulted in salary increments for members of the union who are in the public sector. BLLAHWU provides legal representation for its members facing legal disputes with their employers. The legal representation starts from the mediation, stage through to the courts of law in the country. Policy Creation Influence BLLAHWU has influenced policy creation and advocates for quality education, access to quality health service, and the right to land allocation for commercial and residential purposes of every Motswana who is of age which in turn leads to the Socio-economic development of the country. Social Development Impact Mokhurutshe outlined that their responsibility is not only limited to their members but as a key stakeholder in the society, they have given back to marginalised ethnic groups across Botswana as well. He shared that they have donated food hampers to poverty-stricken families in Kaudwane; and built two houses for the less privileged in Kaudwane and another in Marapong. The union realized a need to build houses after they identified the hardships faced by the people in rural settlements. The union has also identified that some basic human needs such as shelter, clean water, food, and clothing are still lacking in most parts of Botswana despite the country being a middle-income economy. Mokhurutshe decried that despite Botswana being a leader in the diamond sector globally, and a democratic and peaceful nation, the majority of its people suffer these injustices. He added that in most settlements in Western and Northern Botswana, you may have families stacked up from the grandparents to grandchildren seeking shelter under trees unaware of the reality of consuming clean water or having at least one meal each day. He cautioned that there is a lot of groundwork to be done in restoring dignity and empowering the lives of underprivileged and marginalised families in Botswana. Botswana Federation of the Disabled BLLAHWU also recently funded the development of a website for people living with disabilities in the country through the Botswana Federation of the Disabled (BOFOD) foundation, which helps the foundation enhance its pool of partnerships. Tackling unemployment among the youth The union also supported the dreams of an unemployed youth, Joyce Leagile, who hosted a beauty pageant with the proceeds going to assist unemployed youth in the greater Gaborone area with necessities such as toiletries, food, and financial resources to capacitate the beneficiaries to apply for employment opportunities.

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Ticano Group:

Championing Financial Inclusion For People With Disabilities By Bakang Thuso

Ticano CEO, Opelo Motswagae

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ne of Botswana's fastest-growing financing companies, Ticano Group recently launched its flagship Corporate Social Investment (CSI) project, a disability financial support program focused on empowering People with Disabilities (PWDs) by extending financial support to them to fund their purchase orders. Purchase order financing is an effective short-term financing tool when you are short of cash to pay for goods or materials needed to fulfill a customer's order. Executive Director, Opelo Motswagae a young Motswana passionate about entrepreneurship mentoring and providing unique and creative financial solutions realized his dream of operating a Purchase Order Financing company in 2015. CONTRIBUTIONS TOWARDS SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS Dubbed the Ticano Financial Programme for People with Disabilities, the program is aligned to the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of Leaving No-one Behind. According to the United Nations (UN), Leave No One behind (LNOB) is the central, transformative promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its sustainable development goals. They represent the unequivocal commitment of all UN Member States to eradicate poverty in all its forms, end discrimination, and exclusion, and reduce the inequalities and vulnerabilities that leave people behind and undermine the potential of individuals and humanity as a whole and Ticano Group is keen on making a positive impact on the community of people with disabilities by actively advocating for their inclusion. Motswagae emphasizes that their focus on advancing the SDG pillar of Leaving No-one Behind also resonates with the government of Botswana's RESET Agenda that aligns with the government's Vision 2036 pillar. The pillar of Vision 2036 speaks to human social development, an important area of focus for Ticano Group. According to the vision 2036 pillar, Botswana will be a moral, tolerant and inclusive society that provides opportunities for all. For easy execution, the pillar focuses on different sectors which includes culture, health and wellness, social, inclusion and equality, and gender equality just to mention a few. The executive director also indicated that the company strives to ensure sustainability on the funded projects. ADVOCATING FOR SOCIO-ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT When speaking on socio-economic empowerment that the Ticano initiative advocates for, Motswagae explained that the financial support programme entails


that people with disabilities get reduced borrowing rates to finance their business purchase orders. Often, people with disabilities find it hard to get financial support. Ticano's goal is to support people with disabilities with transport logistics both at local and international levels to ensure that they meet the targets to deliver on their tender supplies. The company intends to empower them so that they can participate actively in the economic value chain. The initiative will be rolled out across the country, reaching rural areas. This aims to ensure that the programme reaches every disabled person in business in Botswana. "It is our commitment to see all the socio-economic gaps that exist in our economy dealt with. We also have the health finance support programme which aims to boost local players in the health industry to have access to finance so that their business can also be sustainable. We are going to work with the SMMEs on health so that they become competitive and ready to benefit from the P10 billion budget tenders that will be lined up from the Ministry of Health and Wellness this year," he added. Ticano director alluded the company will extend its financial support programmes to other sectors such as education, food, and the petroleum industry to enhance diversity in the future. The financial programmes will be targeted to make an impact on economic development by creating jobs as well as empowering other upcoming businesses with the support and skills they need. Motswagae averred that mentorship is very important, therefore Ticano will follow up closely on the businesses that have been assisted, emphasizing that they will drive financial literacy too. He said most of the time, a lack of mentorship after extending funding results in little to no sustainability. The vision is to offer funding and then measure the success of funding to determine the sustainability and the impact made by the support. The program also mentors people with disabilities on financial prudence and we will work with the community to support people like social workers in offering mentorship and financial education to people with disabilities. MENTORSHIP IN FINANCIAL LITERACY As part of supporting the disabled community in business, Ticano will be guiding on all aspects of entrepreneurship development such as brand positioning, marketing, and how to budget. Motswagae said the conversation by relevant authorities around matters affecting the people with disabilities should no longer be talking about support policies with no lack of implementation, hence Ticano's commitment to implement.

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Founder and Creative Director of The Upcycle Project, Seopedi Batsile


iving in Botswana, one would not begin to imagine that an activity such as planetary restoration is anything that concerns them. It takes people like Seopedi Baitsile, the Founder and Creative Director of The Upcycle Project (T.U.P), a business that is underpinned on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12, to address responsible consumption and production. Her educational background has contributed a lot to the success of T.U.P. She completed her Bachelor of Social Sciences, Environmental, and Geographical Sciences & Sociology before going on to complete her Honors in Development Studies at the University of Cape Town. Currently, she is in pursuit of a Master of Leadership for Development, Global Development at the University of Manchester. In her journey as an advocate for planetary restoration, she works with several local organizations to help her drive more impactful results. INNOVATING TOWARDS NET ZERO WITH THE UPCYCLE PROJECT The last few decades have shown that we are in a global climate crisis, with the debilitating state of the ice caps in both the South and North Poles are showing a clear sign that global warming is at its highest peak. This devas-



tating realization has led to the establishment of various global youth-led movements that are dedicated to making a difference in the preservation and restoration of the planet. Locally, an exemplary organisation, The Upcycle Project (T.U.P) demonstrates both innovation and dedication towards building circular economies. Driven by a passion to see more Batswana getting involved in climate action, she resorted to setting up a social enterprise dedicated to recycling glass bottle waste and, offering environmental consultancy to both organisations and communities. The idea of her business is to give simple pieces of waste a longer lifespan, all the while keeping them from causing harm to the environment. Her journey in doing work in sustainability started immediately after completing her undergraduate degree. "I wanted to draw more attention to the idea of seeing waste as a resource. Botswana currently exports a lot of glass and other materials to other markets who then turn it into something THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT

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SUSTAINABLE LIVING FROM GRASSROOTS As a catalyst for social change T.U.P aims to leverage strategic partnerships to start planting the seeds in younger members of society. They recently established a partnership with The Neo Hub to facilitate environmental education for The Future Leaders Program, a program aimed at shaping positive behaviour in young minds. The issue of climate change requires a contribution from everyone, and T.U.P is interested in creating robust and inclusive educational programs. On this note, Baitsile said the tactical direction of their business as an organisation is to provide communities with more information, to enable them to become responsible consumers. She added that this is a sign of their commitment to supporting SDG12 as well as the National Vision 2036 that speaks to maintaining a Sustainable Environment. "We do this mainly through engaging with our online audiences as well as our partner engagements. We encourage and educate on the small ways through which we can play our part in climate action. From using cloth bags as opposed to paper bags, switching to more eco-friendly products and home appliances, composting, buying locally as this protects both the environment and can propel the local economy quite substantially," she explained. Above and beyond The Future Leaders Program, there are plans to start offering this service in schools and other after-school programs. With these engagements in place, T.U.P believes that they will impact the mindsets of young people who will in turn inspire others to do the same. and sell it back to us, I realised this is a great injustice to the creative minds of this nation as well as to the economy," she explained. SOLUTION DRIVEN INNOVATION FOR THE PLANET Even in its infancy, T.U.P is a multi-disciplinary organisation that also promotes greener living. Because it is newly established, T.U.P contributions may seem insignificant, but the organisation does a lot to inspire, educate, and help other individuals to find novel ways to reduce and repurpose waste by applying principles of creativity, circularity, and innovation to achieve much-needed sustainability goals. One notable project that T.U.P has undertaken is the "Ntsholele mo Skaftining" Campaign, which partners with local food vendors to encourage people to buy their food and receive it in their containers as opposed to getting them in paper plates that lead to hazardous pollution. They want their work to be a symbol of change that will hopefully snowball across the country. "We don't always realise the impact waste causes on our environment. For instance, did you know that Styrofoam takes up to 500 years to decompose? Through the environmental education aspect of our organisation, we find local partners to help us drive the awareness and ultimately mindset change around sustainable living," she elaborated.

PATHWAYS TOWARDS HOLISTIC WELLBEING Understanding that there is a lot that still needs to be done in the sustainability space, Baitsile encourages people to play an active role in reversing some of the damage that has been done over the years. Innovation plays a critical role in ensuring that people can use the resources they have in place to build the longevity of the planet, and T.U.P stands at the forefront of this movement. She further explained that their biggest obstacle is that people don't know what impact their lifestyles have on the environment yet, they remain steadfast in showing everyone that a lifestyle change is not only possible, but it is simple and doable. Despite the mammoth task they have at hand, they are committed to ensuring that their message gets delivered and when it does reach the audience, they will ensure it is well packaged. A simple idea that emerged from drawing on education and personal experiences is all it took for something this big to be created, a movement that bridges the distance between mental readiness to take the climate crisis head-on, and the lack thereof. In closing, Baitsile shared that through collaborative efforts change is inevitable in the world. T.U.P operates by the motto 'Moroto waesiga o ele,' a Setswana adage meaning, 'To be successful, we have to work together.' T.U.P plans to continue partnering with other organisations, local governments, and individuals to help carry their message to the world.






ind gestures and giving back come in different forms and functions, and Obert Morgan is a true testament to that. After realising what attaining a good education did for him, Morgan saw an opportunity to give back to the community through his passion for health and fitness. With the help of large corporate sponsors such as First National Bank Botswana (FNBB) and other international affiliates, Morgan has so far been able to raise P4 million to benefit the community of Kazungula through the Kazungula Bridge Marathon. The Obert Fitness Gym, directed by Morgan, is the founding sponsor of the Kazungula Bridge Marathon which he believes will spike up the tourism rate and create job and vocational training opportunities for the youth in that area. The Visionary Morgan attributes one of his motivations behind the marathon to his drive for advancement in corporate wellness in the country. As a young man, Morgan had his share of academic challenges. He failed his Junior Certificate Examination (JCE) but proceeded to enroll in a bricklaying course at a brigade. In 1991, he became a member of the Botswana Defence Force (BDF). He kept pushing himself beyond limits as he knew the importance of a good education. He then obtained a certificate in Physical Education from the University of Botswana, and with extensive training courses he engaged in during his tenure at the BDF, doors began to open for him. In 2002, Morgan moved on from the BDF and went for a 3 weeklong health and wellness workshop in Chicago, the USA where his successes began to snowball. With a twinkle of reminiscing in his eyes,


Obert Morgan, Founder & Director of Kazungula Marathon

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Centre BNPC, and others. He is the epitome of perseverance and social investment. The Vision Obert shares that the current challenges of youth unemployment and lack of resources in the Okavango and Kazungula region can become a thing of the past only when great minds and support are enhanced. Morgan envisions that youth from various spectrums can have tourism symposiums, cultural nights, agricultural tourism, and local sporting tournaments all centered on the Kazungula infrastructure and they need initiatives like the marathon to serve as investors in their capabilities.

Morgan added that in 2003, he went to Steiner TransOcean College, a School of Business in London, the UK, which prepared him for a four-month job as a cruiseship fitness director. Between the years 2004 and 2010 Morgan's drive proved that passion drives destiny. He was headhunted by an agency that ran fitness facilities across the East Coast serving as Regional Gym Director for gyms in Chicago, Miami, Florida. Taking advantage of the opportunities that came his way, Morgan turned up his academic excellence, taking his efforts a notch higher by pursuing his first degree in Exercise Physiology from 2005 until 2007 and a Masters' Degree in Exercise Physiology from 2007 to 2009. In 2010, Morgan returned to Botswana and utilised the business manual which he says he reviewed to suit the Botswana Corporate sector and consulted on corporate fitness for various corporate entities including First National Bank FNB, Botswana National Productivity

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Socio-Economic Impact on Kazungula Region There has been a significant amount of buzz surrounding the marathon since it was launched. And with the marathon having attracted close to four thousand participants from all corners of the world including the USA, New Zealand, Australia, Kenya, Lesotho, and many others, local economic resuscitation has been realised with accommodation in the Okavango region being fully booked. It is from this fund that Obert Fitness has adopted Maun Senior Secondary and donated eight thousand sanitary pads to the school per schooling term, a project that has been ongoing for the past eight years. In addition, earlier this year, Obert Fitness donated two hundred pairs of school shoes to the Kasane village authorities and has also allowed people living with disabilities, including those who are Paralympians to participate in the marathon for free. Morgan shared that the perks of the marathon do not end when the actual marathon event ends. He states that there are many projects in the pipeline post the event that Obert Fitness supports, including building a house for a family to be identified by the Kasane Village authority, as well as other short-term projects. Contribution to Tourism Development When the Kazungula Bridge graphics were revealed to the public, Morgan witnessed an international interest in Southern African tourism and the Kazungula bridge marathon became the idea he wanted to develop. The vision became a reality in 2020. Being the patriot that he is, Morgan says the marathon is not a mere run, but an opportunity for him to revive tourism activity by telling the peculiar tale of how a cardinal point can unite Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Zambia. Through this event, Botswana will become the beacon of Southern African tourism because it is through Botswana that the story of The Sedudu between Botswana and Namibia, The Victoria Falls between Botswana and Zimbabwe, and Livingstone between Botswana and Zambia will be told. THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT



By Seneo Setilo Matlapeng



olourful People Entertainment has taken Cunningham's quote in the literally. Founder and Events Director of Colourful People Entertainment, David Letshwiti, shares how the company has come up with an innovative and artistic event that aims to uplift the lives of the underprivileged in Botswana through his shared love for African music. The African Attire on Fleek event is not just a celebration of the creativity of African garments and style but bears the purpose is of leaving a positive impact on the lives of the underprivileged through entertainment.

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David Letshwiti, Founder & Director of African Attire on Fleek



AFRICAN ATTIRE ON FLEEK CONCEPTION The past two years have forced humanity to adapt to life as we once knew it, as we started to hear the term "The new normal," more than ever before. Fast track to the year 2022, as we try to slowly return to life before the scourge of Covid-19, realizing just how much we missed the small things like getting dressed up for an event or raising funds for charity with friends. In a way, Covid-19 has made us more thankful and thoughtful. According to Letshwiti, what better way to show this than through dance and celebration? And that is what the African Attire on Fleek event aims to do. In 2019 Colourful People Entertainment came up with an initiative that would showcase the diversity and wealth of Africa through song, dress, food, language, and history. COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT Social Impact Through the African Attire on Fleek event, Colourful People Entertainment was able to initiate several charitable projects such as the 'Take a child to school' project, which is a school shoes donation drive where 60 pairs of shoes were donated. The company has also started a community-building initiative dubbed, 'Alcohol and Substance Abuse Prevention,' popularly known as ASAP Dance Competition. The campaign's sole aim is to provide socio-economic and psycho-social support for individuals whose lives have been affected by substance and alcohol abuse. The company also works with social work offices to identify the deepest needs of various communities across different administrative districts in Botswana. So far, the communities that have benefited from the African Attire on Fleek event are those in Francistown, Boatle, Palapye, and Gaborone where the event has been held. CULTURAL DEVELOPMENT Letshwiti asserts that the event also has an edutainment element to it. And by adding a golden circle at the festival themed 'Interchangeably,' a specific tribe will be the main attraction of the show, its food, fashion, language, and history are shared in THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT

more depth with people from other tribes to appreciate and learn various cultures. The African Attire on Fleek event has been ground-breaking in uniting diverse tribes by bringing them to one arena where they share, laughter, love, and experiences. We have also started seeing its effects and influence across borders to other African countries. The event invites artists from other African countries to come and share their cultures and art, allowing both local and international artists to sync their spaces, further collaborating to foster the unity of Africans in the region. Colourful People Entertainment also works to hone in on morality as they believe it is nurtured through acts of kindness, and they want to use entertainment to birth kindness. "We do this by hosting these African Attire events to send a message that as Africa; only we can come together and do it because aside from the borders, the diverse dialects, the stereotype, and the colonisation, Africa is one. We must do it for ourselves, our children, and our future generation because our forefathers did it for us," explained Letshwiti. GROWTH AND SUSTAINABILITY He further shares that as an immediate project to be actioned, his team has decided to engage with fashion and textiles graduates who are new from technical colleges to put their skills into good use and earn from it. The plan is to influence the patrons of the colourful event to use the textiles and designs services offered by the graduates, and this will give them direct market exposure and help them create a client database. It will also help by contributing to the government's efforts to curb unemployment in Botswana. To achieve this, his team will provide start-up resources for a select few in the form of fabrics, household sewing machinery and further engage with already established fashion designers to hire some of the graduates and grow the fashion industry. To create sustainability, growth, and maximizing opportunities, Letshwiti shares that fashion weeks building up to the African Attire on Fleek fashion event will form part of their mid-year plan at the start of the year to ensure year-round activities in the local fashion sphere and beyond.

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ucara Botswana continues to be a leader in the mining sector successfully extracting some of the country's most valuable gems. As the only privately-owned diamond mine in the country, it consistently champions the industry by advancing the lives of many citizens. Its community empowerment-based projects cover pillars of education, economic growth, gender equality particularly centred on Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and agriculture, to mention a few. Naseem Lahri is the first-ever woman to assume the leadership role of Managing Director (MD) in the mining industry in Botswana. Lahri is an accomplished Professional Accountant with a Master's in Strategic Management (BCOM, FCCA). She boasts more than 17 years of experience in the mining industry, including 10 years within Corporate Finance at Debswana at the senior management level. She has also served as a board member in the Debswana Pension Fund, Botswana Accountancy College, and Pula Medical Aid.

Naseem Lahri, Lucara Mine CEO

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Lucara's United Nations (UN) SDGs focus When it comes to sustainable community development initiatives Lucara Botswana works on partnership-based projects that can sustain themselves after the funding process. The mining company asserts that donating money vouchers to an individual does not meet the goal of community advancement as their CSR projects are aligned to 17 principles of the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Lucara subscribes to SDGs pillar 1, 2, 3 4,5,6,8,9,16 and 17. Lahri indicated that Lucara subscribed its community's development projects to the UN SDGs so as to make a meaningful and sustainable impact on the communities of influence. Lucara's Karowe Mine, is based in Letlhakeng, a small town in the Boteti region. As the mine's town of operation, it has



benefited from many CSI projects initiated by Lucara. Lahri expressed immense contentment with the performance and resilience of the projects undertaken in Letlhakane as they proved to be durable and sustainable which she says is an important aspect of the SDG's goals. Karowe Villages Initiative (KVI) The Karowe Village Initiative (KVI) was launched in 2018 and focused on investing in and developing sustainable community-driven projects and initiatives. Lucara conducted a feasibility study, invested in supporting the Mokubilo Co-operative Society Farm, the first project under KVI. Its support emerged in response to the Mokubilo village's need to address malnutrition by providing affordable and locally grown vegetables and protein while generating employment opportunities.


Mokubilo Community Farm The Mokubilo Community Farm is a Lucara flagship project in the Mokubilo village. It is an integrated farm that employs 12 people, a number that may seem insignificant to some but makes a life-changing difference for many. It was through this project that 720 students around the Boteti region were fed by a consortium of people who went into this farming business. "The impact of the Mokubilo farm is that it has reduced malnutrition by 7.7% across the Boteti region. This is in line with SDG Goal Number 1, ‘No Poverty’ and SDG 2, which speak to ‘Zero Harm.’ The farm is friendly to the environment," said the upbeat managing director. Mokubilo farm also produces on a large scale capacity and is self-sustaining. This, she said, is demonstrated by its ability to supply big stores like Choppies and Spar. Mmadikola Hardware Store Another Lucara project aimed at empowering the community is the Mmadikola Hardware store built in Mmadikola village. It is targeted to employ eight people and seeks to fulfil the mandate of SDG Number 4 of 'Alienating Poverty' and SDG Number 8 that speaks to decent work and advancement of economic growth. The ultimate goal is to provide financial independence to 22 of its members who will receive dividends from the project which is now nearing completion. Letlhakane Abattoir The company is also embarking on a project to refurbish the Letlhakane abattoir to provide high-level hygienic services for the Letlhakane farming community. The Letlhakane abattoir project speaks to SDF Goals 1 (No Poverty) and SDG 8 (Decent work and economic growth). The refurbished abattoir will create jobs and improve economic activity in Letlhakane and its surrounding areas. Lahri indicated their desire to have the abattoir run and managed by the community with some help from the company. She added that if it is privatized it will be expensive for the farming community to access it. Khwee Farm The second KVI project; a Fodder and small stock farm in Khwee village started operating in 2019 and covers SDGs 1 (No


Poverty), SDG 2 (Zero harm), and SDG 9 (Develop resilient industries). Lahri said the project is 89% complete and will be commissioned this year, 2022. Letlhakane Sports Complex A top-tier state-of-the-art sports complex is underway at Letlhakane, the sports complex will contribute to the development of sports in the Boteti region. The stadium will be commissioned this year. "We want to encourage the youth of Letlhakane to engage in different sporting codes and ultimately earn a living from sports. It will have the capacity to carry over 2000 people seated. We have started the process of building the stadium and jobs priority is reserved for the Boteti community," explained Lahri. To date, the development of the sports complex has employed 94 people, 63 being male and 11 female. As part of empowering the local communities' contractors are encouraged to use the services from the local community. According to Lahri, the sports complex adopts the UN SDG 2 (Zero harm), SDG 3 (Good health and wellbeing), SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), SDG 9 (Develop infrastructure), SDG 17 (partnerships for goals) keeping the community fit and healthy through sporting activities. National GBV Campaign The national campaign against Gender-Based Violence (GBV) is a project that is very close to the hearts of many, having a spike in GBV cases in Botswana amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, with lockdowns contributing to the ever-growing domestic violence cases in Botswana. The mine saw a need to counter this national problem through this project; it also subscribes to the UN SDG 5 that emphasizes Gender Equality. Former President of Botswana Dr. Festus Mogae is the ambassador of the campaign. Boro students Bus Lucara mine has also moved to procure a bus for students from Boro village after the organisation discovered that students walk over 10 kilometers to school due to a shortage of public transport. Lucara commits to improving the quality of education through Sustainable Development Goal Number 5 thereby reducing school dropouts. Sanitary Pads Campaign Lucara mine ascertains to give girls across the country dignity by supporting them with monthly supplies of sanitary pads. The villages that the project covers are Ramotswa, Shashe West, Digawana, and Gaborone Central. This shows that KVI projects are not only focused on the Boteti region. Community Boreholes As part of advancing SDG number 6 of ensuring access to clean water, Lucara embarked on drilling four (4) boreholes in four villages of Gweta, Mosu, Borolong, and Bogogobo. These villages normally grapple with water shortages and this project addressed their need.

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This is the story of Keorapetse Makole, an individual who single handily put shoes on the feet of hundreds of children through driving a social media campaign. She emotionally narrates the story of a broken community, reliving a journey that brought a lot of hope to the small community of Brits, a rural township in the North West Province of South Africa. Makole shares her experience. By Seneo Setilo Matlapeng

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TRC: What conceived your compassion towards community development? KM: Following my graduation as a trained journalist, I have struggled to find a stable job for the past fifteen years. Having idle time on my hands, and trying hard not to be consumed by depression, I decided to serve in a rural-based Non-Profit Organisation(NPO) which exposed me to a world I never thought existed so close to home in my province. I searched and realized that about 80 percent of the learners in my community wore torn-out shoes, and some had no shoes in the middle of a cold winter's day. It broke my heart. This also brought back the painful memory of an incident where I had to go to school on a rainy day with torn shoes with water seeping through from holes I didn't even know existed. On that day I cried to my father about it and he said something that stayed with me to this day. He told me to place a piece of cardboard on the foot of my shoes and walk to school. It was so uncomfortable, and throughout the day I couldn't concentrate, I was thinking about my torn shoes with a cardboard sole. So when I saw these kids walking kilometers to school with no shoes, I immediately felt inclined to help them because I understood exactly how they felt. I remembered how this could influence their learning capacity during class. TRC: What steps did you take to help the children? KM: It was towards the end of 2021 when we visited Rooikopies Primary School in the outskirts of Brits in the North West Province to donate sanitary towels when it hit me that the problem is far worse than I had imagined. I also realised that this did not just affect the girl child, but the African child in general. After a restless and very uncomfortable afternoon accepting the reality around me, I started to investigate the living conditions and day-to-day lives of the learners of Rooikopies Primary. My preliminary and most heart-wrenching findings were that most of the learners were children of farm workers. The parents were mostly single parents who made money from the farms and plantations of the Brits area. I discovered that most of these parents start their days as early as 3 in the dark of the morning, walking to the farms kilometers away. Because of the long distance, they can go for the entire week without seeing their children, leaving the children to take care of themselves. This explained why most of the learners who glared at me with hope on that day were without shoes. TRC: How then did you decide to intervene? KM: In December 2021, I took to all my social media accounts to publish a shoe drive campaign urging all those in my circle to donate second-hand shoes or include a pair of new school shoes in their Christmas Holidays shopping list. I was humbled and brought to tears by the response I got from those who saw my posts because it shows that there is a generation of a change in Africa, a kind generation that sees no boundaries; THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT

one with no prejudice, and sees no colour. There is a generation that wants to unite and build a better Africa. TRC: How successful was the drive? KM: I collected close to two hundred and forty pairs of school shoes, all raised from my social circle. From these shoes, two hundred pairs were brand new, whilst about forty were pre-worn. TRC: What did you do with these shoes? KM: To celebrate the month of February which is universally known for celebrating love, I went back to Rooikopies Primary and gave the shoes to their new deserving owners. TRC: How has this act of kindness impacted the community? KM: The campaign drive was honestly an eye-opener. It revealed that more needs to be done in this community, which also means we have our work cut out for us this year. I learned that children need more than shoes. They need uniforms as well. I am now working on an all Rooikopies Primary School uniform drive to ensure that dignity, hope, confidence, and self-worth are restored in the lives of the learners. What humbles me is that my elder brother, Karabo "Blunt Moya" Makolehas has been influenced and is motivated to work on this campaign with me.

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Children In The Wilderness Empowering Girls Through STEM By Chedza Mmolawa



hildren in the Wilderness (CITW) is a non-profit organisation supported by ecotourism company Okavango Wilderness Safaris, which aims to facilitate sustainable conservation through leadership development and education of children in Africa. It has been operating in Botswana since the inception of its program in 2001. The Children in the Wilderness program is an environmental and life skills program for children, focusing on the next generation of decision-makers, inspiring them to care for their natural heritage and become the custodians of these areas in the future. It runs eight Ecotourism-Clubs in the North of the country around the Okavango Delta and Maun area. Thanks to the funds raised by the annual Nedbank Tour de Tuli mountain bike event, which takes place in the Greater Mapungubwe Transfrontier Conservation Area (GMTFCA) and contributors like the United States (U.S.) Embassy of Botswana, Children of the Wilderness, can run its life-changing program in villages in Botswana, South Africa, and Zimbabwe surrounding the GMTFCA. And in December 2021, the organisation held a week-long science camp under the theme, 'Conservation Science Camp for Girls in Rural Areas.'

PROJECT IMPACT AND IMPLEMENTATION PROCESS According to the program coordinator, Moalosi Lebekwe, the 5-day camp hosted 60 girls who participated in interactive talks, discussions, and practical activities focusing on nature, biodiversity, and conservation of their immediate environment using scientific methods to conduct mini-research and investigations. Activities included career, life skills, leadership talks, team projects, and nature walks. The camp was coordinated and run by a women majority team of experienced ecologists, scientists, conservationists, sociologists, and educators who will mentor the girls and address other challenges the girls may face on their path to recognizing their potential. At each school term break, two camps are implemented to specifically focus on providing girls in ru-

CITW Project Manager Moalosi Lebekwe

ral areas with practical experiences and knowledge related to environmental education and STEM-based skills. This past year, the camps were part of a one-year project funded by the U.S. Embassy in Botswana and aimed at encouraging and empowering Form 3 girls from Ngambao Junior Secondary School in Seronga. Lebekwe added that the longterm goal of the camp and project is that the participants will continue into environmental and STEM-based tertiary degree programs in their career trajectories. SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT THROUGH THE U.S. EMBASSY The Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy endeavours to make United States policies better known and understood in Botswana. The Embassy consistently works with underdeveloped communities in Botswana to empower its citizens, help with poverty eradication, and play a significant role in bettering the lives of ordinary Batswana, which includes facilitating social development programs that have changed the lives of many citizens in the country. One of its projects is working with young girls and women in Botswana; the CITW STEM project is a personification of what the U.S. Embassy represents to the people of Botswana.



Futuremakers Botswana

Pioneering Youth Sustainable Development By Lorraine Kinnear


outh Africa Botswana (YAB) recently launched its flagship corporate social initiative dubbed, Futuremakers Botswana, after partnering with Standard Chartered Bank. The bank donated a significant US$50,000.00 which amounts to almost P600,000. 00 geared towards the project's imple-

mentation. The Futuremakers Botswana initiative aims to address issues of inequality while promoting greater economic inclusion for young people in disadvantaged communities. This initiative assists underprivileged youth from low-income households, particularly women, girls, and people with visual impairments and other physical disabilities. These marginalised groups are offered support to participate in educational, employability, and entrepreneurship programs.


Globally, Futuremakers have set themselves an ambitious yet achievable target of raising US$50 million between 2019 and 2023 through various fund-raising and bank matching partnerships. These funds will then go towards enabling the next generation to learn, earn and grow. Standard Chartered Bank Botswana identified YAB as a strategic local partner that will spearhead the activities that are in line with the global Futuremakers framework. YAB was founded in 2016 to equip young people with the right tools for entrepreneurship in Africa's fastest-growing industries, including tourism, hospitality, information, and communications technology (ICT), and agriculture. The organisation's main aim is to create a platform for developing youth talent and innovative skills while also inspiring their interest and imparting soft and entrepreneurial skills.

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Learning and Development Manager of YAB, Kago Mweemba

of our participants becoming part of the workforce as gainfully employed graduates of the programme, only 6 months after enrolling in the programme. In terms of the Aspiring Entrepreneurs program, 80 percent of participants had successfully scaled up their businesses in less than a year from completing our programs," added Mweemba. The program has morphed into a great movement in a short space of time, which is not only inspiring the spirit of entrepreneurship but offers tangible support for young business-minded individuals to move their ideas from paper and onto the ground.

UNPACKING THE FUTUREMAKERS BOTSWANA PROGRAM Young Africa Botswana is the organisation that is implementing Futuremakers Botswana with support from the Standard Chartered Foundation and in collaboration with Youth Business International and the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development. The Learning and Development Manager of YAB, Kago Mweemba shared his experience with the movement. "I have taken a keen interest in this programme because it strongly fits with my professional background in community development with a specific focus on employment activism from the perspective of capacity support, entrepreneurship support, skills development, and policy efficacy," says Mweemba. He explained that the core areas are developing content for the validity of the programming within the entrepreneurial landscape in the country, designing and developing the curriculum that helps to support the young entrepreneurs they work with. Their goal is to ensure the inclusion of all relevant stakeholders within the YAB ecosystem and work closely with these partners to maximise its overall impact. FROM IDEA TO SUSTAINABLE START-UP Youth development plays a critical role in the establishment and maintenance of sustainable economies; Futuremakers' priorities align with the National Vision 2036, particularly underpinning Pillars 1 and 2 that speak to sustainable economic development and human social development respectively. When the program hit the ground running in 2019, a pilot program was run, which impacted 37 young Batswana. "Although this was a pilot, it was very detailed, and we ensured that we get it right from the get-go. We were very focused on unearthing the Futuremakers, that is, we gave the participants of our program the skills to successfully run their start-ups, scale up, and be able to employ other young people in their businesses. We are also happy to have had 78 percent THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT

EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR ALL YAB believes in equal opportunities for all, and as part of its mission to create equal opportunities the entity aims to place youth in a space of equity whereby people who don't have access to certain resources can be given a competitive advantage over those who do. Although the programmes under the Futuremakers umbrella are intended for youth, the team pursues the idea of equal opportunities for all. Priority will be given to those who are ready to put in the work and are eager to learn more and show a penchant for extending their ideas to help others beyond their stay in the programme. The programme has seen exponential growth as this was shared with regards to keeping the doors open for all who would like to take action towards their dreams and aspirations. "In 2021, we did the second installment of the program that supported over 1139 entrepreneurs, so from the pilot, we scaled dramatically. In all the numbers you get, the individuals support up to two people each so we can give solid figures on this, we believe that the impact we inspire in these young people's lives goes beyond just the success of their business," said Mweemba. FEEDBACK FROM THE BENEFICIARIES In 2021 YAB introduced a second installment of the program, Futuremakers 2.0; it became important for the team to gauge the experiences of beneficiaries and some voices from the graduates. The Futuremakers programme not only benefits young people across the country but also empowers those closely affiliated with it. Mweemba is a beneficiary of the program as he graduated from the Financial Management training program offered by Futuremakers Botswana and Young Africa Botswana. He is gratified by this opportunity which will enable him to learn so much about financial management because it is essential for the business and his personal growth.

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Girls4Girls Botswana: FEMALE EMPOWERMENT FROM THE GRASSROOTS By Lorraine Kinnear



illian Moremi is the true epitome of driving positive change towards women empowerment and youth development. With over ten years of experience in fostering the youth development agenda, her focus is youth leadership and promoting youth employment services in Africa by preparing, orientating, and matching young people for the labour market, facilitating access to sustainable jobs and business opportunities. She leads Career Coaching (Pty) Ltd, a social enterprise she established in 2013 to promote training, skills development, and productivity in the workplace. Some of the cornerstones of Career Coaching are giving career and professional development advice to students, job seekers, and professionals. Moremi's passion for working with the youth developed when she was still a young girl but it was not until completing her undergraduate degree that she advanced her humanitarian calling by establishing Botswana Student Network to work with young people across Botswana promoting education and academic excellence. Since then she has been part of many movements that have a specific focus on youth development such as Career Coaching, Kgwebo-ya-Monana in collaboration with First National Bank Botswana (FNBB), Now for Them Trust, and most recently, the Girls4Girls (G4G) Botswana programme in collaboration with the United States Embassy.

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G4G Botswana is part of a global movement that was established to capacitate leadership skills in young women across the country. The global movement was conceived at the Harvard Kennedy School in 2016 by a group of graduate students from across the globe that recognised a gap in leadership roles led by women, especially in the public sphere. Inspired by each other, they decided to close that gap and today G4G is in over 23 countries globally and boasts well over 2500 mentees supported by more than 1000 mentors. In Botswana, G4G offers a six-session mentorship program building trust, courageous leadership, the art of communication, negotiation, running public service, ethics, and values in decision making. It brings together insights from key leaders and a global network of women, mobilising a generation of mentors to grow the pipeline of women in leadership. After attending the Girls4Girls conferences in South Africa, Moremi got inspired to start and facilitate the movement in Botswana. "In 2020 I was invited by a friend, Dr. Matete Madiba who is Director of Department of Student Affairs at the University of Pretoria whom I met in 2017 during a networking session at the Organisation of African Union (OAU) during the Africa Talks Jobs Conference. In 2020, she invited me to talk to the University of Pretoria Girls4Girls Cohort on Public Service and Running for Office. THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT


and by making the girl child aware of her potential, ability, and guide she can thrive to her fullest potential. Mentorship and access to female role models are crucial for the success of the girl child in the community as she can easily adopt the qualities that she sees in others. This is the basis of Girls4Girls, empowering girls to lead in their community and investing in their skills for future success. BENEFICIARIES OF THE G4G PROGRAMME G4G Botswana supports girls between the ages of 15 to 25 as mentees and young professionals from 25 years and above. Both mentees and mentors must participate in at least 4 sessions out of the 5 sessions to graduate from the cohort. Upon graduation they receive a certificate and mentees join the mentee alumni where they continue to identify opportunities for personal career growth. Mentors continue to participate by starting their cohorts in their respective villages, communities, or workplaces.

Upon realising what an eye-opening mentorship programme G4G is, I vouched to introduce the network to Botswana because it was an opportunity not to be missed. Towards the end of 2020, with the support of G4G South Africa and Uganda, we trained 20 mentors in Botswana who started with the pilot of Girls4Girls Botswana in 2021. G4G Botswana has now attracted well over 300 women who form the support system of the future female leader," she narrated. UNPACKING GIRLS4GIRLS BOTSWANA In its first year, G4G Botswana has had 100 mentees, and 60 mentors graduate from the program which means that they completed the minimum requirement of sessions from their cohort. In 2022, with the support of the U.S. Embassy Botswana, G4G has had cohorts come from Mathangwane JSS, Khakhea JSS, Orapa JSS, Marang JSS, Mogoditshane SSS, Botho University, and Gaborone West. The virtual cohorts included Young Professionals, The Dream Team, and Lion-Hearted. Above and beyond the defined expectation the network offers encouragement for those pursuing business and exchanging skills so successful and profitable businesses can be run from within the network. MOLDING FUTURE FEMALE LEADERS Author Dianne Mariechild once said, 'A woman is a full circle. Within her is the power to create, nurture and transform,'


OPTIMISING GIRL LEADERSHIP Moremi is adamant about continuing her philanthropy work with vigor, she intends on continuing to support and work with various local organisations to raise awareness about the Botswana Constitution Review and getting as many young people to participate in the process. Through this process, she will continue to inspire women and girls to aspire to take up leadership positions and drive social change. "The challenge we are facing is, although women can vote and run for public office in nearly every country, they are still severely underrepresented in legislative bodies, as heads of state, in c-suite and non-profit leadership positions worldwide. I find this as an opportunity to champion because although the gender gap is wide, it is closing slowly but steadily, and we can accelerate this process by mobilising female leaders to inspire and support the next generation to play a greater role in public leadership. This is where my heart is positioned as the Country Team Lead of Girls for Girls Botswana," she added. DRIVING POSITIVE CHANGE Moremi asserts that as a social enterprise they intend to work with other organisations with similar values and ideologies, they will work together for a common goal, which is to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls as outlined by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). "As a youth development practitioner, I value collaboration, especially with organisations that are seeking an experienced partner in advancing their community projects; promoting education, entrepreneurship, and employability so that together we can drive positive social change in our communities. In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, young people are feeling demoralised because of unemployment, and we should continue to offer them hope," she said. Girls4Girls is one of many impactful programmes that Moremi has helped drive home. Motivated by the opportunity to advance her passion for youth development she continues to look for various opportunities to grow.

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Stepping Stone International Advocates For The Empowerment Of Children By Lorraine Kinnear


tepping Stones International (SSI) is a non-governmental, non-profit organisation that was formed in 2006 with a focus on creating an enabling environment for orphaned and vulnerable children, as well as youth to grow and build their futures through youth empowerment, family enrichment, and advocacy for child protection. The organisation also seeks to capacitate service providers. Through its holistic programme model, which combines life skills, leadership, psychosocial support, and community mobilisation, it instills confidence and self-sufficiency in young adults. SSI began as a small centre in Mochudi, serving a small fraction of the community, thereafter opening a bigger centre in 2002 that has been happy to serve more youth in local communities and districts. Today it operates in various communities and districts across Botswana, including Letlhakane, Gaborone, Goodhope, Tutume, and Ghanzi. The Responsible Citizen (TRC) had the pleasure to sit with SSI's Communications Specialist, Lebo Ashley Phillip who shared a lot about the organisation's work. TRC: WHAT IS THE CORE BUSINESS OF STEPPING STONES INTERNATIONAL? LAP: We are a non-profit organisation primarily focused on unlocking the potential of vulnerable children and youth between the ages of 12-25 through holistic development, strengthening families, and activating sustainable opportunities for them to become self-sufficient. Our vision is to see a world where children and youth are empowered, becoming leaders, and achieving their dreams. Our focus areas include youth empowerment, family strengthening, strengthening youth services, as well as child protection. In all aspects of our work, we

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engage the community from design to implementation and monitoring. For example, with our 'Grandmothers Programme,' we design support groups led by community grannies who are interested in building community programmes; they come up with activities demonstrating how these programmes will be implemented to meet



our different focus areas. In this regard, the ownership lies with the community. We have also engaged and built capacity in youth change agents who have learned to advocate for themselves. In our USAID-funded project, D.R.E.A.M.S, the young women and girls participate in peer-led safe spaces to build their social assets. TRC: WHAT ARE SOME OF THE ACTIVITIES AND INITIATIVES YOU PLAN ON UNDERTAKING SOON TO CREATE AN IMPACT IN THE LIVES OF BATSWANA? LAP: Dithunya Tsa Rona is an award-winning, ground-breaking documentary drama conceived by Stepping Stones International (SSI). It focuses on improving parenting in Botswana and creating safe homes for children, free from abuse, and fear. It follows a social worker investigating teen pregnancies in a rural African village who stops at nothing, including fighting her inner demons, to protect children from abuse. To date, the docu-drama has done well on the global stage scooping three prestigious awards internationally. It is currently available on the SSI YouTube channel. The strong collaboration for the film was led by the Ministry of Local Government and the Department of Social Protection. Stepping Stones International realizes the need for counselling and social support in the country, therefore we have trained 25 psychologists, police officers, and counsellors from NGOs in a trauma counseling program called Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR). Moreover, SSI is training young lady counselors in a programme entitled Friendship Bench, to


support peers in social issues. As SSI, we would like to see the USAID-funded D.R.E.A.M.S programme and the FACET, 'Finding the Leader Within,' leadership programme and economic advancement programme expand to help more young women and girls strengthen their social assets and build their skills for employment or entrepreneurship. SSI has a dream to support the Government of Botswana's vision to reduce youth unemployment. TRC: WHAT IMPACT HAS SSI NOTED SINCE ITS INCEPTION? LAP: As SSI, we recently celebrated our biggest milestone to date, which is our 15th anniversary. Looking back over our 15-year journey, the tangible impact on the lives of our participants is astounding. To date, our programmes have assisted our youth in returning to school, finding work, and instilling an entrepreneurial spirit in many of them, resulting in many of them beginning their businesses. We started with humble beginnings with only 7 children in a small room in Mochudi. As we speak, we are currently serving more than 7000 children ages 9 to 17 and youth ages 18 to 25 and their families in 6 districts in Botswana. Other achievements include a 70 percent success rate of our young graduates from the FACET-funded finding the Leader within Leadership Program either attaining employment or starting a business. More than 2000 orphaned and vulnerable children and their families have received needed services based on household

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assessments. We continue to support adolescent girls and young women through a partnership with USAID and NAHPA on DREAMS with over 7000 girls building their assets in safe spaces to date. Our team builds the child's environment by working with parents and the community within which the children live in. More recently, we have collaborated with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development in adapting an evidence-based parenting program called Pinagare. More than 500 families have participated in the program, and we hear positive feedback from parents such as, "I tell my child I love her all the time now;" or "The family now involves our children when making our family budget." Our Grannies program provides support and educates grandmothers and grandfathers in various communities about child protection, how to identify gender-based violence, income generation, and conducting community dialogues. Through this program, over 735 grandmothers have formed support groups and have been trained to identify gender-based violence and HIV cases to mobilize their various communities for action. In collaboration with the Ministry of Basic Education and the University of Utah Reading Clinic, SSI has trained and observed 640 primary school teachers and trained 6 master trainers in English literacy to be used in schools.

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TRC: PLEASE TAKE US THROUGH SOME OF THE RECENT COLLABORATIONS AND PARTNERSHIPS THAT YOU BELIEVE CONTINUE TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE TO SOCIETY. LAP: Critical partnerships include ministries, donors, media, private sector, and other civil society organisations (CSOs). SSI cherishes the relationship with various ministries and most recently is partnering with the Ministry of Justice, Defense, and Security on large-scale research on child justice. The research will lead to creating a model for child justice, child-friendly courts in particular. SSI is also partnering with other CSOs such as BBM, BGBVSC, Baylor, Sisonke, BUMMHI, FHI360, Humana People to People, Global Communities, and Hope Worldwide to provide a range of services for adolescent young girls and women in the national D.R.E.A.M.S. program. We recently launched our third English Access Microscholarship Program in collaboration with the United States Embassy of Botswana for our participants. This two-year program will help our youth with enhancing their English language skills through personal development activities, English literacy sessions, and information and technology skills (IT). This commendable program has produced so many success stories over the years with one of the graduates of this very program excelling well enough to attain a scholarship to Maru-a-Pula for high school through A levels and attained a final grade THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT

of A*. He is currently studying for his degree overseas in the USA. We consider our media stakeholders to be critical partners for SSI. We have collaboratively held training and discussions with our media partners over the years about reporting on children, in particular, sensitive and more ethical ways of reporting about child sexual abuse-related cases. Our media partners have continuously supported us over the years through publishing important articles on child protection and advocacy, as well as coverage of our events in the communities that are life-changing for our beneficiaries, for example, Young Mothers Program graduations and many more events. In addition, our beneficiaries and staff have also had the pleasure of participating in a variety of TV and radio shows to advocate for their rights as well as to discuss and raise awareness about important societal issues.


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