The Responsible Citizen - June 2022

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JUNE 2022 | ISSUE 4

INSIDE MASCOM 3-FOR-3 INITIATIVE STEADFAST ON IMPROVING KWENENG EDUCATION SYSTEM CHOBE HOLDINGS: A BEACON OF HOPE IN BOTSWANA’S NORTHERN REGION TOTAL ENERGIES GIVES RISE TO YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS

MARCUS TER HAAR ON THE LEGACY OF LADY KHAMA CHARITABLE TRUST


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: advertising@theresponsiblecitizen.co.bw | marketing@theresponsiblecitizen.co.bw


Contents

LEADING IN THE BUSINESS OF CSR

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

12 | Chobe Holdings: A Beacon Of Hope In The Northern Region

14 | Building A Stronger Botswana With TKM Engineering

COVER STORY 08 | Marcus Ter Haar On The Legacy Of The Lady Khama Charitable Trust

18 | Mascom 3-for-3 Initiative Steadfast On Improving Kweneng Education System

22 | DTCB Embraces LGBTQI+ Persons In The Workplace

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JUNE 2022 • ISSUE 4

COMMUNITY CHAMPIONS

IMPACT FOR TOMORROW’S GENERATIONS

24 | Environmental Conservation For

36 | Total Energies Gives Rise

People And Planet With Somarelang Tikologo

To Young Entrepreneurs

26 | Community Upliftment Through

38 | UNICEF Botswana Youth

Learning To Play

(U) Reporting For Positive Social Change

30 | FEDE Mentorship Promotes

40 | CRACKiT Tuition Nurturing

Sustainability For Women In Business

Future Leaders

32 | Childline Botswana Upholds Mandate Despite Covid-19 Challenges

34 | Female Founder Initiative Botswana Propels At Empowering Women In Business

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JUNE 2022 • ISSUE 4 EDITORIAL

Founder and Editor Mpho Moletlo Kgosietsile

Managing Director of Wise Leadership (Pty) Ltd

mkgosietsile@wiseleadership.co.bw Editor Yvonne C Mtengwa Narratives PR yvonne@yournarratives.com

CONTENT CONTRIBUTORS Chedza Mmolawa Lorraine Kinnear Bakang Tiro

MARKETING & ADVERTISING

advertising@theresponsiblecitizen.co.bw marketing@theresponsiblecitizen.co.bw

CREATIVE DIRECTION Lucy Nkosi hello@lucynkosi.com

@trcbotswana @TRCMagazine @theresponsiblecitizen @theresponsiblecitizenmagazine

Published by Narratives PR LLC – FZ Registered at Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ) United Arab Emirates

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Founder’s Welcome

S

ustainability is a key factor in ensuring that organizations live up to the notion of corporate citizenship. It is the way in which organizations conduct their businesses and meet the needs of those businesses without compromising the needs of future generations. The context of sustainability talks to the economy, society and the environment. Our main focus in this issue is Society, which translates to PEOPLE. People are drivers of different organizations. This has placed a challenge on different organizations to intentionally develop people in different aspects, be it in the workplace or in the community. This is aligned to one of the principles of corporate governance which advocates for diversity in the Boardroom which of course will trickle down to the rest of the organization once the board gets it right. To that effect, there is evidence that organizations are making an endeavor to implement diversity in the workplace by including different dimensions of people and empowering them to become the best they can be. Empowerment leads to a sustainable society. We look forward to reading most of those stories in this issue as we drive the societal context of sustainability, which is people. Sincerely,

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Editor’s Note “It is important that governments start looking at entrepreneurship as a fundamental core topic that needs to be integrated into the educational system”

– Shoroke H. Zedan, World Youth Skills

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he future lies in today’s youth and there has never been a time where the upskilling of tomorrow’s leaders ought to be a priority from an earlier stage in their learning curve. Educational institutions should be infusing financial literacy courses into their curriculum and challenging students to go beyond theoretical applications, simply because to excel in today’s world, one needs more than a certificate, diploma or degree to be impactful. We need students equipped with critical thinking and people skills, who have a consciousness of how their actions impact their communities and environment, who create innovative ways to solve social problems and who are not afraid to get back to the basics as they work their way up. This Issue of The Responsible CITIZEN Magazine was particularly insightful to put together, as it highlighted the commitment of organisations such as Mascom and Chobe Holdings in “catching them young” as it were. From forging ahead with implementing entrepreneurial programs to donating critical ICT equipment to bridge the digital and technological gap particularly within the underprivileged, it is encouraging to more see corporates and THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT

individuals alike – scaling their levels of support for communities in need. As we look ahead at the 3rd quarter of the year, it is my hope that we begin to see the notion of CSR/CSI from an individual perspective as well, as our society’s challenges affect us all in one form or another. We should be asking ourselves such questions as “Where can I volunteer?” or “How can I transfer my skills and knowledge into the hands and minds or others?” and so on. Botswana – and the rest of the continent - continues to evolve, is a beacon if inspiration for us all, and therefore one deserving of our collective contributions. Yours truly,

wa g n e t .M

C e n n o v Y

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Marcus Ter Haar on

The Legacy Of The Lady Khama Charitable Trust By Lorraine Kinnear

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n any functional and balanced society, philanthropy plays an integral role. It contributes to the progress of society by focusing on alleviating the suffering caused by social problems, and empowering those affected by the problems in question. The ethos of philanthropy in Botswana was culminated on the resilience of one woman who defied the odds when the world stood against her position as wife of the first President of Botswana and paramount Chief of the Bamangwato, Sir Seretse Khama because she was of Caucasian descent. Despite her rejection by society and the world in general, Lady Ruth Khama gracefully made an impactful mark on the lives of Batswana by placing the needs of Botswana's women and children, particularly those who were impoverished, above all. As First Lady, Lady Khama aided Sir Seretse Khama in his role as Head of State by assisting him in the foundation and administration of a new nation. Her natural care for others led her to lead several charities, including the Botswana Red Cross Society, the Botswana Council of Women, and SOS Children's Villages. Even after she passed, her legacy led to the inception and establishment of the Lady Khama Charitable Trust (LKCT), which was initiated by her second-born child Lieutenant General Seretse Khama Ian Khama, who was President of the country at the time. To gain a deeper understanding of this organisation, we engaged, Marcus ter Haar, who serves as the Trust's Secretary and thus plays an active role in ensuring that the Trust continues to drive a meaningful impact in the lives of its beneficiaries. OVERVIEW OF THE LADY KHAMA CHARITABLE TRUST TRC: Please give us a brief overview of The Lady Khama Charitable Trust MTH: The LKCT was established in 2002 by His Excellency Lieutenant General Seretse Khama Ian Khama, the current Patron of the Trust and the eldest son of Sir Seretse Khama and Lady Ruth Khama. The trust is run by a volunteer Board of Trustees governed by the Trust Deed.

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Over the years, it has consistently and continuously raised donations for existing Botswana-based non-profit organisations that help underprivileged women, children, and persons with disabilities. Most beneficiaries are located in remote areas that would otherwise be unable to get assistance. LKCT has mainly leveraged a network of local entities and individuals for fundraising. Through a meticulous process of identifying the most deserving individuals, the Trust then assists those that need it the most. TRC: Which initiatives have you embarked on that have impacted Batswana? MTH: Our primary goal is to raise and distribute donations THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT


COVER STORY • MARCUS TER HAAR

to well-managed non-profit organisations in Botswana that work to improve the lives of vulnerable children, women, and persons with disabilities. In that scope, we measure our progress by how much funding we can acquire to facilitate the empowerment of the various organisations we work with. We firmly believe that our success hinges mainly on our ability to raise funds, and we have historically reflected this by providing a dollar figure of the funds we have raised and reflected on the number of lives we have impacted so far. We believe that there should be a direct link between the funds we raise and the lives of those who benefit from them. Most recently, we provided support worth more than P16 million ($1.6 million) to over 40 charitable organisations throughout the country. Our overarching vision is to impact all citizens of Botswana, including men. We are actively working with various non-profit organisations to ensure that all men, women, and children in Botswana live with dignity. There are a plethora of activities and events that we run to raise funds, some of which include the Spar Women's Challenge Botswana & Lady K. Run21, Lady Khama Cup, Ghanzi Horse Endurance Race, and Relay, most recently we hosted a Golf Day. Each event designed to provide a platform to engage with our partners, donors, and other

THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT

stakeholders that play a pivotal role in the continued success of our organisation. TRC: What are your plans for the future? MTH: As an organisation, we pride ourselves on our ability to be sustainable, and we believe that this will continue to feed into our success in the future. We maintain low operational costs and highly effective management. Our beneficiaries receive an average of 85% of all funds raised each year which means that we are at an average of 15% operational and administrative cost level, whereas, the global NGO standard is 30%. We strive to maintain this standard, thus ensuring we provide continuous support to our beneficiaries. We continue to ride the waves of change and align ourselves to the changing environment. Despite a decline in activities due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we recognise the need to challenge ourselves to leverage the resources we currently have to continue to provide support to our beneficiaries. Our impact has been based on a dollar metric, but we believe that by finding a more humanistic metric, we could find new ways to provide long-lasting support and impact. We will leverage our strategic partnerships and silos to identify and address needs in a way that would be mean-

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COVER STORY • MARCUS TER HAAR

ingful to the beneficiaries. One particular partnership that we will continue to harness is the one we have with Shona Quip. Shona Quip specialises in the design and manufacture of mobility devices for children with severely compromised musculoskeletal and neurological functions that are acceptable for usage in rural and resource-poor settings. Shona Quip's partnership with LKCT began in January 2015 to enhance the Trusts' mandate to provide support to vulnerable children and women through the disability fund and to give dignity to all. TRC: What is the secret behind your success? MTH: Over the past 18 years, the LKCT has served as a fundraising platform for charitable organisations across Botswana. The funds raised go towards organisations that support early childhood development, disability projects, and other projects that enable the provision of dignity for all. We have a majority of our partners in Botswana; however, part of our long-term strategy involves tapping into the international donor base. This move can enable us to take on more projects and thus ensuring wider reach and greater impact. Despite the challenges, throughout the years, it is important to applaud and appreciate the contributions of our partners and donors who continue to support us in creating a domino effect in our ability to provide support to those in need.

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BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT

Chobe Holdings: A Beacon Of Hope In The Northern Region By Chedza Mmolawa

- LEADING IN THE BUSINESS OF CSR

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he Chobe Holdings Group is a giant in the tourism industry, boasting eleven beautiful eco-tourism lodges and camps on leased land in Northern Botswana and the Caprivi Strip in Namibia through its trading companies Ker & Downey Botswana (KDB) and Desert & Delta Safaris (DDS). The company has operated in Botswana for over 40 years, showcasing the country's beautiful natural habitat and providing once-in-a-lifetime experiences for its guests. As they continued operating over the years, Chobe Holdings saw it fit to give back to the community and uplift the people who were a part of the rich culture of Botswana. The Chobe Holdings CSR Liaison Officer at Travel for Impact, Tshephang Gaebope, took us through the company's robust and impressive CSI portfolio. She explained that even though the Covid-19 pandemic hurt the tourism industry worldwide, Chobe Holdings remains resilient in its cause to uplift and leave a sustainable impact on the lives of underprivileged Batswana in the very communities their camps operate in. KER & DOWNEY BOTSWANA (KDB) PROJECTS Bana Ba Letsatsi (BBL) Bana ba Letsatsi is a centre located in Maun that offers psychological support to underprivileged and vulnerable children. The centre has been operating for many years with support from Ker & Downey Botswana and has continued to make positive changes in the lives of children. KDB has been supporting Bana Ba Letsatsi for years with annual donations of P250,000 going towards the operational costs of the centre, and supporting activities such as the Environmental Club by enlisting professional guides to talk to the children about conservation. The children and staff are taken on an end-of-year trip, where they get to visit one of the camps and experience touring deltas and game reserves.

"Additionally, KDB will be taking an active role in building new spaces at the centre, and has pledged P480,000 towards the building. The new building means larger space for the centre, and it will allow the staff to help even more children with more resources at hand," explained Gaebope. Mathiba Primary School: Joint Collaboration between KDB & DDS Ker & Downey Botswana officially adopted Mathiba Primary School under the 'Adopt A School' Program set up by the Government of Botswana. The company has since bought potter cabins and delivered them so the school may be able to have functioning preschool classes. The preschool is currently functioning with two classrooms fitted with electricity, air conditionTHE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT


CHOBE HOLDINGS

ing, and classroom furniture. The company sponsors the school's prize-giving ceremonies, allowing the school to appreciate the student’s well-deserving work. The staff is also taken on annual retreats in recognition of their hard work and meeting the school’s set targets. DESERT & DELTA SAFARIS (DDS) Khumaga Village & Primary School Khumaga is a village located in the Boteti region in Botswana. The reason Khumaga Village was selected was because of the village's proximity to Leroo La Tau (LLT), a camp owned by the group. This is a demonstration of the company's commitment to supporting initiatives within their areas of operation. LLT has taken the initiative to help Khumaga Primary School by providing them with resources such as Primary School Leavers Exam (PSLE) revision books, planning and hosting an annual career day Fair at the camp for Standard 7 students (last year of primary school). The community of Khumaga has also been getting support from DDS by sponsoring Khumaga Village Independence Day celebrations through an assortment of gift vouchers. The village has also established a playgroup that receives donations such as toys, chairs, and graduation gowns. Tsodilo Secondary School DDS officially 'adopted' Tsodilo Secondary School through the government initiative of 'Adopt a School' in 2013, and since then, the students have also received donations such as uniforms and other school essentials for 20 underprivileged students. The beneficiaries are identified by the school, and are taken care of financially so that they focus solely on their education. The school also receives a generous donation towards their annual prize-giving ceremonies. Additionally, 20 children (10 top achievers and 10 underprivileged children) are sponsored for a weekend at Leroo La Tau, so the children can experience being tourists, with the hope of instilling newfound respect and appreciation of the industry in them. Botswana Accountancy College 'Leaders for the Future' Program Desert & Delta Safaris is invested in education to equip young Batswana with managerial skills in the tourism industry. Recognizing the value of creating opportunities for the youth of Botswana, especially those from the north, DDS has developed a sponsorship program, which grants a full educational scholarship in areas that relate to tourism operation and management to candidates who meet the appropriate

THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT

requirements and criteria. The sponsorship entails a three-year degree course at Botswana Accountancy College (BAC), followed by a 2-year internship with DDS at one of their camps. DDS has already successfully sent five students to further their educational interests, and two of these students have already graduated, while the remaining two are still pursuing their studies. Gaebope said, unfortunately one of the promising young stars passed away, and it was a painful loss to her family and the DDS family. "The Leaders of the Future program has produced sustainable results, not only for the company but for the bright young stars as-well, by guaranteeing them a future in the hospitality industry at an international level," she emphasised. PSUB Herbarium Desert & Delta Safaris was excited to offer its support to the Peter Smith University of Botswana Herbarium, for their data digitization project. The Herbarium holds the botanical legacy collection of Peter Smith, who spent a substantial amount of his life working in the Okavango Delta studying its diverse flora. With the help of DDS, the herbarium will now be able to construct a database that will capture all of the valuable information about the Okavango Delta's flora. It will provide a botanical history of Botswana, where the benefits use the beauty of Botswana's rich natural heritage, and can be preserved for the country's future. The database will provide insight for scientists and researchers on issues in land planning, environmental monitoring, vegetation composition and change, fire, flooding, medical, nutritional, and cultural values. The Flora of Northern Botswana contains a lot of stories about the Okavango Delta's natural history and about human intervention in its pristine environment. The stories can only be unravelled, revealed, and shared if citizens care to preserve and study the indigenous plants of Botswana and their natural benefits to both animal and human populations. DDS has made contributions of P50,000 annually for three years now, and Xugana Island Lodge has used sketches and samples of some of the species collected as part of the décor of the camp to embrace the flora of the Okavango delta. Sedie Hotel (Maun), which is now a part of DDS, has pledged a wall for the sketches of the samples to be displayed at the hotel, where patrons can see and understand more about the flora of the Okavango Delta.

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Building A Stronger Botswana With TKM Engineering By Bakang Tiro

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wenty years ago, an ambitious engineering student had a dream of establishing his own worldclass building and civil engineering company that would introduce innovative methods to the construction industry in Botswana. This was an uncommon practice, but it did not deter Tshotlego Chibere Kagiso, founder and managing director of TKM Engineering, from achieving his dreams. Fast track to the year 2022, TKM is a leader in the engineering sector and a champion in community service. TKM Engineering aims to build better and more resilient communities through its Corporate Social Initiatives (CSI). And even though the company is headquartered in Gaborone, its CSI initiatives reach other underprivileged rural

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Tshotlego Chibere Kagiso

THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT


TKM ENGINEERING

parts of the country. TKM CSI projects are focused on some of Botswana's pillars of the economy being; education, health, and community development. The communications and Marketing Manager at the company Onalethata Kgokong elaborates on some of their CSR projects in different communities. TRC: Kindly introduce yourself OK: My role as the Communications and Marketing Manager at TKM Engineering entails implementing communications and marketing strategies for TKM. I also identify worthy community projects that can uplift the socio-economic development of the communities we operate in; also managing relationships with our external stakeholders. TRC: What is TKM, and what does the company do? OK: TKM Engineering is a Building and Civil Engineering Construction Company established in 1992. The company is 100% citizen owned and run by a qualified Engineering professional with skills in project management and the design of buildings, warehouses, and civil engineering infrastructure. We have accomplished a wide range of civil engineering and building projects that include water pipelines, sewer reticulation, roads, storm water drainage, large pipe construction, concrete structures and wastewater treatment plants, sports facilities, warehouses, and edu-

THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT

cational and commercial buildings. Over and above, we are known for the ability to carry out the maintenance of buildings involving painting, roofing, carpentry, plumbing and general repair and replacement. TRC: Outline some of the CSR projects TKM Engineering has embarked on. OK: TKM has a robust Corporate Social Responsibility program that aims to uplift the lives of the less fortunate in the country. We come with knowledge and understanding that government alone cannot solve all of society's problems, hence we feel the need and obligation to help elevate socio-economic development through partnerships and collaboration. We have been involved in community service for several years, and over the years, we have had successful projects that we are proud to showcase. Some of these projects include: Orphaned Children at Matlhakola Village In 2015, the Morupule Cycling Club approached TKM Engineering with an idea to assist a less privileged family residing at Matlhakola village by building them a house. The family consisted of four siblings who lost their parents, and was identified by the Village Development Committee (VDC). TKM Engineering has been working at Morupule Coal Mine since 2010, and the request for assistance came as an opportunity for TKM Engineering to give back to a community near its work-

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ing area. TKM Engineering agreed to partner with Morupule Cycling Club by offering to provide labor and tools to build the house free of charge. COVID- 19 Relief Materials Following the measures undertaken to prevent the transmission and the spread of the Covid-19 outbreak, TKM Engineering donated COVID-19 relief material to some schools in our areas of operation. The relief materials included; hand sanitizers, face masks and hand soap. Some of the schools that benefitted from this noble gesture are; Supang Primary School, Pitseng Primary School, Seaseole Primary School, and Betesankwe Primary School. Donation of Office Furniture TKM donated office furniture (Office chairs, lockable cupboards, photocopying machine toner, office tables) worth P17, 265.00 to Pitseng Primary School.

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Advancing Education in Rural Areas We also sponsored Maenjani Junior Secondary School (in Sekakangwe) Prize Giving ceremony for three consecutive years for three subjects Science, Mathematics, and Agriculture for form 1, form 2, and form 3. TRC: How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected TKM CSI mission? OK: Like any other business, TKM Engineering was affected by the pandemic. However, we made sure that we continued to support those who felt the impact of the pandemic more than we did. With the little resources we had in hand, we helped where we could, and sometimes a little goes a long way. We are aware of the challenges our communities faced especially during these trying times, hence we recognized a need to assist with what we had.

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TKM ENGINEERING

TRC: Which sectors or pillars of the economy are priorities to TKM when selecting projects? OK: Funding priorities are given to applications that demonstrate their alignment with the following areas of focus for TKM: • Education is fundamental for the development of the human mind and builds strong communities. We endorse programs, events, and activities that improve literacy and learning among young children in the community. • We encourage training, programs, events, and activities supporting health issues such as HIV/AIDS, STDs, alcohol management, and healthy lifestyles that underpin responsible healthy communities. • TKM supports the value of adding community projects that are in line with improving human life.

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TRC: Would you say Batswana understand and appreciate CSI? What is the feedback that TKM receives from beneficiaries of its projects? OK: When a business starts to operate in an area, there are always expectations from the community in which the business operates in, for example, the business opportunities, job opportunities, etc. Batswana do understand the CSI concept, and we have seen the level of appreciation by the beneficiaries of our CSI projects. One of the beneficiaries, Mrs. Mazongo, Pitseng Primary School Head, expressed gratitude towards the donation of COVID-19 relief material and said it would enable the students and teachers to comply with COVID-19 protocols, as well as curb the possible spread of the pandemic.

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Mascom 3-for3 Initiative Steadfast on Improving Kweneng Education System By Bakang Thuso

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eading telecommunications giant in Botswana, Mascom Wireless, introduced its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) flagship campaign dubbed Mascom 3-for-3 last year. The project encourages Mascom Employees to apportion 3 hours of their time every year during June to initiatives that serve their community. The aim is for its employees to volunteer for causes they choose to give back to, and leave a positive and sustainable impact on the selected communities. The name of the campaign was deliberately chosen in adulation of the Three Chiefs, namely Khama III of the Bangwato, Sebele I of the Bakwena, and Bathoen I of the Bangwaketse; who through their resilient leadership, helped secure Botswana's independence and ultimately its future freedoms.

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Gratitude, Service, Community, and Movement, are the main pillars that guide Mascom 3-for-3 to inspire the patriotism of the country to dedicate some time and efforts to create a lasting impact on society. Last year, Mascom and global cell phone company Huawei collaborated to establish the campaign's first project. Mascom employees selected Dutlwe Primary School, which is in the Kweneng region, to be a recipient of ICT equipment to help uphold the company's commitment to bridging the digital gap in the public education system. Speaking on the initiative, Mascom CEO Dzene Makhwade-Seboni said, "Now more than ever, the need to exist beyond ourselves is more prevalent and necessary as we grapple with the effects of the Covid pandemic on our societies. Mascom saw it fit to establish an initiative championed by its staff across the nation to help and do their part in trying to fill gaps that exist in society."

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MASCOM

The upbeat CEO highlighted that the initiative would drive development for vulnerable and disadvantaged groups to enhance better lives for the students as they enter a stage of their lives. In the words of a famous school teacher who transformed the education system in her country through technology, April Chamberlain said, "there is a need to embrace technology to make learning more engaging because when students are interested, that's where learning takes place." It is a belief that Mascom wireless also stands by. "In 2021, Mascom got an opportunity to engage with the young girls at Kgari Sechele Secondary School to embed and focus on quality education. It was in line with the Kweneng Education Region Operation Maduo, which is an intervention to improve overall academic performance. The strategy for 2022 is to become even more intentional about focusing on quality education for Kweneng, and it is why we will be focusing most of our CSR and sustainability initiatives in the region. And so more schools in the Kweneng region are more likely to benefit," explained Makhwade-Seboni. Mascom believes that scholars in rural areas are not exposed to nor have access to opportunities, but the 3-for-3 campaign aims to change that. The goal is to recognise and

THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT

encourage the good performance of the schools and its students despite the circumstances they are faced with, as in the case with Dutlwe Primary School. QUALITY EDUCATION FOR KWENENG Kweneng is one of the most poverty-afflicted areas in the country, and the region grapples with significant challenges. The Kweneng region is very rural but is also home to many of the country's public boarding schools, yet the conditions of those schools are undesirable. Mascom has committed to partnering with Kweneng to improve lives and educational structures. They intend to create systems that will use education as a tool for sustainable future generations. Last month, Mascom presented 20 internet modems, a computer, and a printer to 20 teachers at Mahupu Unified Secondary School in Takatokwane because they performed exceptionally well. The purpose of the donation was to encourage the teachers to keep doing the stellar job they do. VALUABLE CSR PARTNERSHIPS Huawei Botswana has been a partner of Mascom for years and helps grow its network, increase coverage, and improve the quality of service across the country to serve

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the telecommunications company's customers. "Huawei shares our view that education is fast transitioning from traditional to digital with the incorporation of ICTs at every level. Their contribution towards accessibility of ICT solutions, to facilitate the adoption of schools to provide their learners with the much-needed skills to thrive in the digital global society cannot be over-emphasized," highlighted Makhwade-Seboni on the Huawei partnership. She further added that since 2020 when COVID-19 struck globally, things drastically changed for the company as they had to adopt a new approach to doing things, a new normal for their CSR portfolio. They were challenged with keeping the Mascom pillars of ICT development, being Vulnerable Groups, the

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Arts, Sports, the Environment, Education, and Mobile Health relevant. "We have, through these pillars, supported multiple organisations and communities and continue to do so. During the past two years, and specifically in the education sector, we provided zero-rated access, that is free access to all Mascom subscribers (mainly students) of both the public and private education system's e-learning platforms. From the Ministry of Education and many other e-learning platforms, including the Botswana Open University. We zero-rated these to allow free internet access for educational content for students," she proudly boasted.

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MASCOM

COVID-19 IMPACT Since the Covid-19 pandemic broke out, Mascom has not had many opportunities to have community engagements and donations happening in person and this manner. It has only recently gone back to doing the physical interactions and expressed how happy they are to be able to be with Batswana in this manner. Makhwade-Seboni added that she is proud to be leading a team of dynamic and progressive professionals who have come up with new and innovative ways of doing business to ensure that they continue serving customers and giving back to communities.

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DTCB Embraces LGBTQI+ Persons In The Workplace By Chedza Mmolawa

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n 1969 disgruntled members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, & Intersex Life (LGBTQI+) community in New York City, America, marched into Stonewall Hotel and protested for Gay Rights. Their demonstration was cut short by hostile retaliation from the police, and as a result people were hurt that day. But their efforts and the protest were not in vain. Since that day, June, is considered Pride Month, when the world's LGBTQI+ communities come together and celebrate the freedom to be themselves and remember the Stonewall uprising of 1969 that helped spark the modern gay rights movement. What happened in New York City 53 years ago is now celebrated in Botswana, after the country itself battled with gaining rights for the LGBTQI+ community in the country. And even though the progression of acceptance is slow, it is happening, and Diamond Trading Company Botswana (DTCB) has taken a lead in the inclusion and diversity of its LGBTQI+ employees in the workplace. June has become a global symbol of gay PRIDE month, and DTCB kickstarted the celebrations of the month by hosting an in-house educational seminar for its staff to educate them about creating safe and comfortable spaces for colleagues who are members of the LGBTQI+ community. Last year, DTCB started an initiative dubbed 'The Real You' network that seeks to educate its employees on the

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THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT


DTCB

importance of inclusion of ALL in the workplace. PRIDE MONTH AT DTCB Speaking during the commemoration seminar of PRIDE month this June, Senior Manager Technical Services, DTCB, Prudence Mabua, said their employees are the background of their history. And by that they would like each individual to get a comfortable position of being able to be operating in their authentic self at work every day without fear of being judged. "We pride ourselves on being an inclusive employer, not only through our work, but also our actions. Last year in June, we launched our 'The Real You' network, which aims to create a safe, inclusive, supportive and welcoming environment for LGBTQI+ colleagues. This will allow them to be their true selves at work and reach their full potential. We are still committed to this purpose, and hence every year, we gather to celebrate PRIDE. Today I wish to call upon all of you to reflect on the challenges that the LGBTQI+ community goes through and think about what we can do to make the world a safe place for all of us," she passionately emphasised. As a way of showing a commitment to this journey, DTCB has partnered with NGOs in the LGBTQI+ community to drive this mission outside the workplace and contribute to the issues of the LGBTQI+ in Botswana. The Real You program could not have been the impactful success it is proving to be had it not been for the efforts made by the program spokesperson Tumisang Mothowamodimo, who is an employee DTCB and a proud member of the LGBTQI+ community. She unpacked the efforts made by DTCB on the subject of diversity and inclusion and educated her colleagues and everyone in attendance about the struggles and fears her community faces every day. ABOUT THE REAL YOU TM: The Real You is a network of employees that creates safe spaces for LGBTQI+ persons. When we talk about safe spaces, we talk about places that you go to and feel comfortable. At DTCB, the task is to make sure that DTCB as a workplace is safe for someone who belongs to the LGBTQI+ community without feeling scared of being themselves or expressing themselves. The conversation of The Real You and the inclusion of LGBTQI+ persons comes from Inclusion and Diversity in the workplace. As DTCB and Debeers group, we are saying diversity is about the differences that we have, how we are different as people, as a community and inclusion speaks to how we embrace differences we have. Inclusion is about saying how we get you as an individual or someone different, a seat at the table. Just the same way we come to work with different cultural backgrounds and end up getting along, we should be able to do the same with the LGBTQI+ community. So this is about coming from different backgrounds but respecting each other, making each other feel as if they belong in the workplace, and making sure there is no abuse or discrimination against the LGBTQI+ in the workplace. THE IMPORTANCE OF PRIDE MONTH TO HER TM: The PRIDE acronym stands for Promoting Respect, Inclusion, and Dignity for Everyone. And DTCB is extending this respect, inclusion, and dignity to the LGTBQI community. People often ask why we have to talk about issues affecting LGTBQI+ persons in the workplace, and feel that LGBTQI+ issues are per-

THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT

sonal issues that should be discussed outside the workplace. The reality is the LGBTQI+ community are not free as heterozygous people are in the workplace. Hetrozetrium people openly and freely talk about their wives and husbands or partners at work, while those in the LGBTQI+ community are judged and shunned for openly talking about their partners to colleagues. A lesbian or gay person should have the same privilege to talk about their partners in the workplace without fear or prejudice. THE MARGINALISATION OF THE LGBTQI+ PERSONS IN THE WORKPLACE TM: The difference is when we all walk into a place of employment, a heterosexual person gets to have their medical plan cover the person they share their lives with. Whereas a lesbian or gay man will not have the same equal opportunity, so at the end of the day we do not have the same privileges. Members of the LGBTQI+ community do not have the same privileges such as maternity/paternity leave, partners covered by insurance. And this is why it is important to have conversations about issues affecting the LGBTQI+ community in the workplace. It is so bad that some people in the workplace are in the closet for being allies of the LGBTQI+ community. Societal pressure on people in the LGBTQI community is also thriving in the workplace, where we also get a lot of invalidation from colleagues who label us based on the way we look. Some people marry men or women because their colleagues say they don't look "gay." And sadly, people in the LGBTQI community fall prey or victim to violence and assault, such as correctional rape, where colleagues or people outside the workplace believe that if a queer person is raped, it "cures" their gayness. THE EMOTIONAL IMPACT OF UNACCEPTANCE OF THE LGBTQI+ IN THE WORKPLACE TM: As a lesbian, if I walk into the office and hear conversations about the hate of queer people, how is that a safe space for me? If you come to work and declare your hate and disapproval of the LGBTQI+ community, how is that safe space for me? Another aspect of acknowledging LGBTQI+ in the workplace is that we create safe spaces for people in the LGTBQI+ community to be able to report cases of abuse in the workplace. If our emotions and safety are not validated, we are going to be victims of abuse and have nowhere to report it. DTCB AND ITS INCLUSION OF THE LGBTQI+ PERSONS IN THE WORKPLACE TM: I am proud to be in an organisation that recognises that there are more than just heterosexual relationships. My biggest fear about coming out was the thought of not getting a job because of who I am. To be in an organisation like this gives hope, to be included and be given a seat at the table, and to be given a platform to do this work. LGBTQI+ inclusion is a human right it's about saying you are valid and you deserve to have what you have. The Real You project can run because of the management and leadership that advocate for it. Our voices are amplified when we have someone in leadership positions owning these functions and policies. There is still a lot to be done and I am confident now that changes will come. There is still a need to formulate anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies, we have to create equal opportunities and nondiscrimination policies for everyone, making DTCB and other organisations a safe space for everyone.

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BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT

Environmental Conservation For People And Planet With SOMARELANG TIKOLOGO By Lorraine Kinnear

“A clean environment is a human right like any other. It is therefore part of our responsibility towards others to ensure that the world we pass on is as healthy, if not healthier than we found it.”

- COMMUNITY CHAMPIONS

– Dalai Lama.

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uman existence is practically impossible in the absence of a healthy ecosystem. A healthy ecosystem is composed of living and non-living things and their interactions within a natural habitat. Environmental conservation has emerged as a critical issue that should be addressed to combat climate change and global warming. Sustainable development is the only way to save our planet from the dire consequences of industrialization and other harmful human activities.

ABOUT SOMARELANG TIKOLOGO Somarelang Tikologo (ST), Environment Watch Botswana, is a member-based environmental Non-Governmental-Organisation (NGO) located in Gaborone. The organisation's principal aim is to promote sustainable environmental protection by educating, demonstrating, and encouraging best practices in environmental planning, resource conservation, and waste management. Somarelang Tikologo, like many NGOs in Botswana, works with a small team of staff and volunteer members that undertake numerous environmental conservation activities throughout Botswana. The name Somarelang Tikologo means to "Protect the Planet." In 1991 three lecturers at the University of Botswana founded Somarelang Tikologo (ST) out of concern for Gaborone's unkempt environment. During the first year the partners conducted Somarelang Tikologo activities from their offices. It was not until 1994 that Somarelang Tikologo became an official society. In March 1995, the first Annual General Meeting (AGM) was held, at which the first Executive Committee was elected, and membership fees were set. Somarelang Tikologo currently has THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT


SOMARELANG TIKOLOGO

over 500 individual members, 50 corporate members, and 22 life members who support its network in Botswana. The office operates a daily Environmental Resource Centre, and publications include fact sheets, newsletters, workshop proceedings, educational materials, and strategic partnerships that contribute to the nation's environmental conservation research, development, and recommendations. The vision of the organisation's founders is now being executed by the Business Manager, Boniface Oriedo Olubayo, and his dedicated staff and volunteer members. Olubayo shares that the organisation is inclined to promote a circular economy that requires that its operation aligns itself with the idea of driving environmental impact through various economic activities. Unpacking the structure of the organisation, Olubayo said, "ST is organised into four subcommittees: environmental planning, resource conservation, waste management, and public relations and fund-raising. There are nearly 100 members and donors in the entire organisation, and among them are government agencies, banks, private companies, and multinational corporations." DRIVING SUSTAINABLE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT The core areas of focus at Somarelang Tikologo are waste resource management, environmental planning, and resource conservation. "We started from humble beginnings. We first started operations as a registered society from a stall structure that was directly opposite an open space that also operated as a dumping site. We were then able to rehabilitate the site into what is currently The Ecological Park in Extension 5, Gaborone. We have essentially highlighted the idea that the planet can be restored to serve both people and the planet," explained Olubayo. The other areas of focus at SK include stormwater harvesting, tree planting, land rehabilitating, and other related activities that ensure the long-term and sustainable use of resources. PEOPLE-FOCUS The planet, people, and progress conversations make for a perfectly balanced tripartite relationship, that is to say, the planet heavily relies on people's contribution to restore it. Gaborone's Ecological Park is one of ST's most prominent and successful projects. The Park officially opened in 2002 and continues to serve as a refreshing place of retreat for locals and tourists alike. It also serves as a higher education facility that introduces visitors to simple but effective resource conservation and waste management technologies. The Park was created to inspire people to live a more environmentally friendly lifestyle. The facilities are extensive and exceptional, transforming a once-idle open space into an oasis of eco-friendly technologies. In the Park, there is a wide array of activities that one can explore. The Green Shop sells a unique assortment of products made from natural or recycled materials, such as jewellery, hats, mats, bags, aprons, waste bins, children's mobiles, and desert fruit sweets and snacks. The Ecological Park was created to support local economies in a way that would also drive environmental conservation. "ST supports the THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT

local creative and art industries by retailing hand-crafted eco-friendly crafts made by local artisans. Supporting local economies that are in line with our mandates means that we contribute to a circular economy," detailed Olubayo. He further shared that they proactively empower people through education, engaging with policymakers to develop programs, and use resources in a way that would be ideal for both people and the planet. PLANET FOCUS Understanding the role of human activity on the planet, Somarelang Tikologo sees this as an opportunity to redirect efforts to drive economic progress while ensuring planetary protection. Oluwayo acknowledges that ST understands the mammoth task before them, "As an organisation that is aimed at improving the quality of Botswana's environment, we currently have various sites for collecting waste such as The Ecological Park, and Sebele, and we look forward to growing our reach throughout the nation. This is one of many activities that we engage in with the hope that this will create a snowball effect on Batswana, and each household, individual, and organisation will understand the importance of using any resource." To educate Batswana about the importance of conservation of resources, the Somarelang Tikologo Resource Conservation Sub-committee conducts demonstration projects at schools and nationwide through awareness-raising campaigns. Popular educational topics include increasing the efficiency in which resources are used and ensuring equity in the benefits derived from using said resources. Botswana has yet to enact legislation governing the collection of recyclable materials. As a result, the waste level is substantially high. Somarelang Tikologo promotes the internationally renowned Waste Management Hierarchy of Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle to achieve safe and proper landfill disposal with a focus on drawing up circular economies. This waste management strategy aims to conserve and protect limited and fragile natural resources and maintain a healthy and clean environment conducive to sustainable development. ST has a Recycling Center on-site where Gaborone residents can drop off recyclable materials. Plastics and glass are trucked to recycling facilities in South Africa after being sorted, and all paper products are trucked to recycling facilities in Zimbabwe. Through their strategic partnerships and alliances, the organisation organises the smooth movement of recyclable materials from organisations such as Kgalagadi Beverages Trust and recently, The Coca-Cola Foundation. Olubayo concluded by explaining that all relevant partnerships are in place to ensure that the work will continue to be substantial. "We have signed memorandums of understanding with several organisations such as the Gaborone City Council, Department of Waste Management and Pollution Control, Department of Environmental Affairs and Forestry concerning various aspects of our work. Through these partnerships and alliances we continue to drive impact for the greater good of the planet and people."

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Community Upliftment Through Learning To Play By Lorraine Kinnear

T

he role of a parent or caregiver is to excite a boundless sense of curiosity about life in their child so they approach life with an excitement bagged with awe and inquisitiveness. Through a plethora of tools and resources, Learn to Play creates an environment of creativity and wonder in children while empowering mothers to help shape them for success. Learn To Play (LTP) is an international initiative and a leader in global Early Childhood Development (ECD). It

was founded in 2017 to inform holistic, community-based solutions across the world. Over the last two years, Learn To Play has been featured on HundrED's 100 most impactful and scalable global education innovations and is one of the 12 most impactful parental engagement programmes. The program is built on sustainable development principles of empowering young minds from the grassroots. The Founder and Chief Energy Officer of Learn To Play, Priyanka Handa Ram, shares how she began the Learn To Play, 'Ithute Go Tshameka', (translated into the Setswana language)

THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT


LEARN TO PLAY

to create a play-centred cycle of transformation for children, families, and communities. TRC: How does Learn To Play work? PHR: Our program is focused on play not profit; we approach early childhood development at a child, caregiver, and community level. While children are our core focus, we work with caregivers through parenting programs and advocacy with community leaders. Our primary solution is the Rainbow Play Approach, a unique framework for holistic ECD, which is done through playgroups for children aged 2-5, and we offer children a daily nutritious snack and a platform for curiosity and creativity. The second is a Positive Parenting approach done through caregiver group sessions, home visits, mobile mentoring, and play packs for children aged 0-5. Both programs utilise an untapped resource as the change agent; mothers or 'Mamapreneurs.' The Mamapreneurs are trained to establish community-initiated playgroups and deliver the parenting programme to improve children's holistic development through the Nurturing Care Framework. For this, recyclable and reusable materials, and natural materials from their local environment, are used to develop all the play and learning resources throughout the programs. Resources and people-power are readily available, and the playgroup can be delivered, scaled & sustained at a low cost. Each community receives a 'Playgroup in a Box' containing everything that a team of Mamapreneurs

social impact business and how it will transform society. She holds a Master's Degree in Social Psychology and a Postgraduate Certificate in Education. Before starting the Learn To Play program, Ram worked in inner-city London schools, learning the importance of play and well-being for children, families, and communities. This was the substratum of her current work as she firmly believes that play should be the foundation for early learning as this is the best way to thrive in those years. Speaking on the impact of her initiative since its inception, Priyanka said by scaling up what they have established at LTP they will have a life-changing influence on the lives of children, families, and communities across Botswana. TRC: What inspired the idea of Learn To Play? PHR: Two main things inspired the conception of Learn To Play; the first one is my role as a mother of two wild and wonderful children, and the second is my journey as a Motswana educator. I am proud to live, work and raise my family in beautiful Botswana, a country of incredible nature, people, culture, and community. There is nothing I love more than connecting women and children through the universal language of play. It is powerful and transformative, and yet I've seen first-hand that it is not an accessible option for many families in our country. It is my mission to change this. In line with this, Learn To Play was founded with the vision THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT

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needs to run their playgroup. This tool is furnished with a daily activity guide with culturally relevant play and mindfulness activities. To ensure sustainability, all resources and tools are provided with a low-cost resource development guide and other learning tools. TRC: Who are the beneficiaries of Learn To Play? PHR: Learn To Play's programs directly address women, parents, and children in the communities. However, by acting in a systems change model, LTP is actively demonstrating the value of ECD in a society where it is not yet seen as a necessity. Learn To Play's holistic approach to education is uplifting parents, children, and the larger community and thus creating safe spaces for children, uplifting the local economy within communities and empowering leaders who prioritise family well-being. The program operates in 5 districts and villages across Botswana, including Dukwi Refugee Camp, and will soon be expanding into other parts of Africa. TRC: What impact has the program had since its inception? PHR: To date, Learn To Play has impacted the lives of more than 800 children, trained 40 Mamapreneurs to start their playgroups, and works in 6 communities across Botswana. We have shared our model in global conferences, trained 80 teachers in Malawi and we are now scaling to impact 9000 lives over the next 12 months. Through this program we co-create with the community by engaging in focus group discussions with all relevant stakeholders within a community before we begin our work. We start with parents and children who help shape our cultural understanding and adapt our frameworks to their specific context, thereby celebrating the local environment for ownership, success, and buy-in. Learn To Play has been welcomed and received positive feedback from community leaders, elders, parents, and Mamapreneurs in the communities it operates. Furthermore, our continually iterative approach to our work means that we have ongoing discussions with community stakeholders to see how we can improve our programs to benefit the communities to a large extent. We have a long record of testimonials from the various stakeholders we serve,

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which have been a testament to the fact that play is a powerful tool that can be used to steer future leaders in the direction of change, meaningful impact, and solution-driven thinking. TRC: Please highlight some of the impactful programs? PHR: Our parenting programme, Gola Nnana Gola, based on World Vision's Go Baby Go, has helped entire families move from despair to dignity and transform their fear into joy. Our social impact model that harnesses paid early learning to help fund free early learning means we prioritise hand-ups not hand-outs, and turn our worries to wonder with a solution-focused approach. Our Board of Directors and my incredible team are the driving force behind Learn To Play, but our secret to success honestly is the communities we work with, especially our Mamapreneurs. They deliver our playgroup model and work in the most nurturing way with young children in their communities. TRC: What are your plans for the future? PHR: 2022 is an exciting time for us as it marks our fifth anniversary, and we have big audacious goals to celebrate how far we've come and how far we want to go. We are expanding the boundaries of our playground to build brighter futures across Botswana and beyond. In collaboration with our partners we strive to impact 9000 lives in the next 12 months. More than 200 million children under the age of five fail to achieve their potential due to disadvantaged backgrounds, poor health, nutrition, and lack of early care and stimulation. We are committed to making quality early childhood education a right, not a luxury, and to do this, we are offering our training, curriculum, and playgroup model to implementing partners globally. We are focused on mindful play, sustainable approaches, uplifting women's economic opportunities, and prioritising access to ECD in refugee camps and other low-resourced communities on the margins. THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT



FEDE MENTORSHIP PROMOTES SUSTAINABILITY FOR WOMEN IN BUSINESS By Bakang Tiro

A

28-year-old local fashion entrepreneur, Mpho Chepete, has established the FEDE Mentorship Programme under her business FEDE COUTURE. The Mentorship Program is designed for young unemployed women to assert an independent lifestyle through fashion design that includes tailoring and sewing. Chepete's undying love for fashion led her to the gates of Limkokwing University, where she studied for an Associate Degree in Fashion and Apparel Design. In 2018 she registered her clothing brand, FEDE COUTURE. Chepete came up with the initiative after realising the high number of school dropouts churned out by the government educational system annually. She feared the situation would lead to students degrading their values while trying to make a living and become victims of Gender-Based Violence, suicide, drug abuse, or HIV/AIDS in some instances. She explained that the programme targets girls and young women aged between 18 and 25, from junior certificate holders to those with tertiary education. Chepete also said they intend to usher in at least 20-50 unemployed young women through entrepreneurship development and skill training programmes. The program is expected to run for three years. She said this would decrease the rate of unemployment, which went up during the period 2020/2021 in Botswana. FEDE COUTURE: THE BRAND FEDE has been featured in a couple of shows like the Kushatha and Masa Fashion shows. It has

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FEDE MENTORSHIP

also participated in various Mentorship programs other than the FEDE mentorship program. Through her excellence and demonstrated brilliance in Fashion, Chepete has been part of the MISS BOTSWANA organising team since 2019 to date. She is the Assistant Coordinator of the fashion show under the leadership of Kaone Moremong in the Pageantry Unit. FEDE has also dressed TV personalities on a popular show on Maru TV. HOW THE PROGRAM WORKS Every six months, the organisation helps mentees set up their businesses and continues mentoring them until they are fit enough to operate on their own. Since the inception of the program, the response from aspiring female entrepreneurs has been good as they received 400 applicants; unfortunately, they can only have an in-take of 20 to 50 candidates. "Due to many applicants, we have increased the number of mentees to at least 60. The criteria is that one must be unemployed, be a young person, and tell us why they are interested in being a fashion designer. They must also be able to explain the kind of impact they will make if they were to be enrolled in the program," she explained, buttressing that the idea is to see more women into fashion. THE IMPACT The mentorship program is making a visible impact as those who THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT

enrol in it value the lessons learned from it. "I would say most of my mentees have benefited from the program. I have also come to understand that it takes some time for someone to understand the value that I try to give them. And a majority of them take it quite seriously because it is an opportunity to change their lives. We started this year, so we are hoping to establish 20 businesses by the end of the six months of mentoring," she highlighted. In addition, Chepete is involved in other community empowerment initiatives that aim to bring change. She is part of the 'Masedi-a-Botswana' program, which is a group of young volunteers who help advocate for the development of the nation. Chepete said the dream is to make an impact by encouraging gender equality and empowering all women and girls by 2030, this is also in recognition of the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The goal is to inspire women to be independent. Furthermore, Chepete said she aims to see the program being piloted as a national initiative. "The first 12 months of the program, only young ladies in Gaborone will benefit from our mentorship since our operations are all based in Gaborone. We will extend our services outside the City as time goes on," she said when asked about the rollout capacity of the initiative.

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CHILDLINE BOTSWANA UPHOLDS MANDATE DESPITE COVID-19 CHALLENGES By Chedza Mmolawa

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n almost every African country, you will come across this famous proverb, 'It takes a village to raise a child,' which speaks to the positive upbringing of a child. The proverb is attached to many different cultures in Africa, but the meaning is always the same; it simply means that it takes an entire community of people to provide for and interrelate positively with children for those children to experience and grow in a safe and healthy environment. Based on this proverb, Doreen Khama and Kay Smith established Childline Botswana in 1990 to create and provide a safe environment for children who were victims of abuse and unfavourable social circumstances. Childline Botswana is a non-governmental and non-profit-making organisation founded as a response to the escalating numbers of child abuse cases in Botswana and the need to protect children. The organi-

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sation seeks to address other related welfare issues through nurturing and intervention strategies like education, counselling, casework, and alternative care programmes.

CHALLENGES

To an extent, the organisation has achieved the above-stated roles, but this did not come without challenges. Seitebatso Kegakilwe, a Social Worker at the Centre, gave an insight into the daily management of the organization. She stated that one of the challenges the organization faces is public education. TRC: What are the challenges faced by the organization, and how have you overcome them? SK: We are challenged by a lack of awareness of child-related legislation among community mem-

THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT


CHILDLINE BOTSWANA

bers and stakeholders, which exacerbates the child abuse cases in Botswana, and some cases go unreported. There are also general misconceptions by the public regarding the mandate of the organisation, which is that our services are limited to the rights of children. On the contrary, we are open to helping everyone with life-threatening issues, including adults or adolescents. And the other challenge the organisation faces is that there is only one station in the whole country, which makes it difficult to reach out to clients outside Gaborone (there are limited resources). Childline Botswana has set up a crisis helpline to reach children outside Gaborone but unfortunately, this is not something that all children are aware of, or have access to. Most children who need our services are children in rural areas, and in most cases, they do not have access to a telephone. We are currently working towards being able to reach all our clients across the country despite the disparities in some geographical locations. TRC: What effects did Covid-19 have on receiving funds for the organization? Did funds increase or decrease? SK: The country's entire economy was affected by the lockdown, and this is why we are currently experiencing inflation. The repercussions of COVID-19 did not spare Childline Botswana either; public donations from individuals and private and parastatal companies dwindled during this period. Companies were not able to make desired profits; and inevitably, this negatively affected (considerable decrease) the funds (cash-in kind, non-monetary donation) received from our donors and the public in general. Childline Botswana relies a lot on the Department of Social Protection under the Ministry of Local and Rural Development and the 'Save the Children International' organization for funding. And we have other donors who make a significant contribution to the daily operations of our organisation. Covid-19 did not only limit or reduce funding for the organisation, it also affected the level at which services were rolled-out to those who needed them the most at the time. Traveling and movement restrictions had an impact on the public education services that we had offered to the public, and the limitations of people attending meetings affected public education services. Some people outside Gaborone were restricted from travel which means they couldn't come to us to seek help. The organisation had to draw-up an adaptation plan to cater to COVID-19 procedures, but the impact was limited. The COVID-19 lockdown affected victims of abuse more than anyone in the country. We experienced more cases than often when our helpline extended to the national helpline. People, families, and children called the number because of challenges they faced in their homes during the lockdown, especially the first lockdown.

THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT

Seitebatso Kegakilwe

Despite all these challenges, we continued to offer psychosocial support our clients (children) needed during the time. Moreover, Childline, through some of its projects, partnered with Save the Children International, provided food baskets and toiletries for migrant families with children during the first lockdown as they could not fend for themselves from their usual piece jobs. TRC: How are your daily operations today? Is there hope for continued progress? SK: As things slowly ease back to "a new normal," we are confident that the organization's mandate of protecting children will go back into our desired effect. We are completely back in the swing of things and continue to service those in need. We implore the public and companies to continue donating to the organisation so that we can help those in need. We take donations in food, clothing, house maintenance, toiletry, house essentials, and monetary form.

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Female Founder Initiative Botswana Propels At Empowering Women In Business By Chedza Mmolawa

“No country can ever truly flourish if it stifles the potential of its women and deprives itself of the contribution of half its citizens.” – Michelle Obama.

A

fter years of her capability in business was constantly undermined by her male counterparts, Cindy Matlapeng made a power-driven decision to prove her naysayers wrong by registering a non-profit organization dubbed ‘The Female Founder Initiative Botswana,’ with a sole mandate of empowering women in business. The idiom 'Dynamites Come in Small Packages' could not be more fitting to Matlapeng. She is a young voracious CEO and a leader in corporate women empowerment; at the age of 23, she founded her first company, 'The Office Team Cleaning Services,' where she is also the Managing Director. And three years after, she established a construction company called ‘Built Contracting and Associates Company.’ The Female Founder Initiative Botswana (FFIB) aspires to see women-led businesses succeed in alleviating

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poverty, gain prosperity and improve the economy of Botswana by the year 2039. It is based in Gaborone but offers its programs and services to the rest of the country. The Non-Governmental Organization aims to empower women in business through voluntary business discussions and mentorship programs. The organization also aims to source funds for women who have the ideas but lack financial support to start-up or expand their businesses. It’s first pilot program, Mosadi Khumo Entrepreneurship Program, launched in August 2021. ABOUT CINDY MATLAPENG TRC: May you kindly give us a background of who you are? CM: Most people are always shocked when they meet me in person because that's when they realize just how petite I am. Don't be fooled by my size! I am a strong-willed, ego-driven woman who is here to de-stigmatize any notion that women are not capable of building corporate empires. I am a 29-year-old

THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT


FEMALE FOUNDER INITIATIVE

Motswana woman with a Bachelor in Commerce (Bcom), Banking and Finance. I have always been headstrong, and I always made the most unconventional decisions. When I was studying form 5, I decided to drop out of day school three months before final exams. I started home school so that I could sit for the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) instead of the Botswana General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE) that I had enrolled in. My mother always believed in me, she supported my decision, and I passed form 5 with good grades and went on to study for my degree. This is pretty much how I have made most decisions in my life since then. Most people call me a risk-taker.

Cindy Matlapeng

TRC: Kindly share your entrepreneurial journey with us. CM: Funny story, I never liked Banking and Finance, and I did not enjoy studying it; it was too challenging. Granted, it has somehow contributed to my business acumen today, but it was never my passion. When I graduated, I worked as an intern for Bidvest Steiner Botswana, a cleaning company, and the job was not challenging at all. The job was quite boring, so I made the decision to leave, and I stayed home for almost four months. I could not cope because I am a thrill seeker, my mind is always working, and luckily for me, I got headhunted by Botswana Post for a position in Financial Technology. I worked as a FinTech Administrator for two years, but unfortunately, we got retrenched because of internal problems. After getting retrenched, I decided to register my own cleaning company with the knowledge I had gained at Bidvest, and I fell in love with it. This proved something I had always known and felt, which is that, I am an entrepreneur at heart. Shortly after starting my cleaning services company, I registered my construction company, and now we are at Female Founders Initiative Botswana. FEMALE FOUNDER INITIATIVE BOTSWANA TRC: What inspired you to start the Female Founder Initiative Botswana? CM: When I got my first big construction job in Kasane, I met this gentleman who always saw me making my trips between Kasane and Gaborone. He stopped me one morning to ask if my boyfriend was the one running the construction project. And when I told him it was all me he insisted that there has to be a man in my life who is behind the project and I was fronting for him, this did not sit well with me because I felt undermined. I felt a need to empower more women in business so that we can prove that women can be successful without having to be attached to a man. And that was the thrust behind the inception of Female Founder Initiative, a program which also aims to remove women from poverty and obliterate the backward mentality that a woman's place is only in certain professions like nursing or teaching. Under our flagship program, ‘Mosadi Khumo Entrepreneurship Program,’ we aim to establish this. I have a partner, Nametso Manyepedza, who is the Vice President of FFIB. MOSADI KHUMO ENTREPRENEURSHIP PROGRAM TRC: Take us through the Khumo Mosadi Entrepreneurship Program CM: When women support each other, incredible things happen, and we, as the founders of Female Founder Initiative Botswana, believe that for us to win and gain prosperity, we have to hold each other's hands instead of hating each other. The Khumo Mosadi Entrepreneurship Program was our flagship program under Female Founders Initiative, and it was a trial and error kind of launch. We launched it on the 14th of August 2021. It is THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT

a 6-week voluntary discussion hosted via zoom, which gathers together mentors and mentees to unpack topics such as business leadership, business finance, investment, and exports, to name a few, to enhance and improve the mentees' business soft skills. What makes this initiative different is that at The Female Founder Initiative Botswana, the team believes in fulfilling the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) as a way to envision 2030, 'Building on leaving no one out of Prosperity.' The SDGs that the organization aligns with are; Goal 1: No Poverty, Goal 5: Gender Equality, Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth, and lastly Goal 17: Partnerships to develop the goal. The first cohort was an incredible success; we had powerful women in leadership positions that came to give talks and mentorship to our mentees. Women such as Mantlha Sankoloba, the BEMA CEO talked about trade issues; we had Neo Mahube from SEZA, who came to share her business leadership skills, and Gomolemo Lolo Madikgetla as a keynote speaker. Most women in power came to share their skills and experiences in business. Our cohort intake was from all industries in Botswana; these included mentees from the fashion industry, and some from the health industry. TRC: What can we look forward to in the next leg of the Mosadi Khumo Entrepreneurship Program? CM: We are currently working on hosting our next cohort scheduled for August this year. Registration is open and ongoing; we are excited to have an in-person graduation ceremony because we didn't have one last year due to COVID-19 restrictions. I implore all female entrepreneurs in the country to register and expand their knowledge and skills in business. It is also a great networking platform for diversity and growth.

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BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT

- IMPACT FOR TOMORROW’S GENERATIONS

Total Energies Gives Rise To Young Entrepreneurs By Bakang Tiro

W

hile the world is battling with the escalation of global fuel prices, Total Energies Botswana; a pioneer in oil and gas supply, has continued to demonstrate its commitment to supporting socio-economic development in the country. The energy company is committed to strengthening local youth entrepreneurs by supporting innovative business projects through its flagship initiative, Total Energies Start-Upper Challenge. These strides made by Total Energies, which is taking charge in assisting with supporting and promoting initiatives that aren't only online, contribute to the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP), also ultimately go a long way in improving the livelihoods of young Batswana. Total Energies Start-Upper The Start-Upper Challenge is a program established and launched by Total Energies in 2015. The program

implores young African talent across the continent to submit innovative project proposals detailing why their projects should receive funding from the organization and how their projects will impact the communities they operate in. During the 3rd edition of the Challenge Awards held in May 2022, three winners of the categories of Best Creation Project, Best Start-Up under three years, and Best Female each received P100, 000. 00 as well as coaching and mentoring from Total Energies. This year the challenge received a total of 13,885 applications from 32 African nations. It is open to all individuals under 35 years of age who own a start-up or business under three years old. Total Energies Start-Upper of the Year is a unique opportunity for start-ups and entrepreneurs to get coaching and financial support; it is a commendable effort by Total Energies for the promotion of citizen entrepreneurship and business linkages in Botswana. A particular revered category newly introduced by the

THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT


TOTAL ENERGIES

initiative in 2021 is the Top Female Entrepreneur Award; its goal is to encourage female participation in the entrepreneurial space as Total Energies drive for inclusion. Key Priority Areas Narrating the significance of this initiative, Managing Director of Total Energies Botswana, Onward Tubela said, "At Total Energies, we aim to continuously provide effective and tangible solutions which in turn stimulate the generation of new ideas by the young people in our organisation's host regions, focusing on our priority areas being: Road Safety, Youth Inclusion, and Education on Climate Coastal Areas and Oceans, as well as Cultural Dialogue and Heritage." Tubela added that the Total Energies Start-Upper challenge is one of the results of their efforts to uplift the youth communities within which the company operates across the African continent. He emphasized that with all the initiatives they embark on, they ensure to continually adhere to the global ethical standards in line with the United Nations (UN) agenda for Sustainable Development. "There are four main objectives of the Start-Upper Challenge that we wish to achieve. These are to contribute to the development of the local economic environment, to promote our local roots through these local challenges, to show the company's commitment to local entrepreneurship, and to encourage youth companies to integrate environmental, and societal dimensions such

as the inclusion of women into their businesses," he explained. The managing director revealed that 15 finalists during the 2021 edition submitted projects for the challenge. Bame Rammala was the Best Female Entrepreneur, Moabi Mualefhe Best Business Creation Project, and Martin Ngwatse also emerged the winner as Best Startup in less than three years. In the previous edition, Ogaufi Setlhogile won first prize and was also a female entrepreneur of the year whereas, Bokete Mthabisi won second prize, and Mooketsi Sembungu won the third prize.

THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT

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UNICEF Botswana Youth (U) Reporting For Positive Social Change By Lorraine Kinnear

I

n 1989, world leaders made a historic commitment to the world's children by adopting the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, an international agreement on childhood. It’s become the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history and has helped transform children's lives around the world. The United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF), now known as United Nations Children's Fund in Botswana, plays an instrumental role as guardian on matters surrounding the rights of children. The world today not only requires advocacy of children's rights; it allows the youth to be expressive on how organisations may contribute to the betterment of their lives. Taking us through UNICEF's sought-after programme, U-Report, Kabo Komanyane, Interim Communications Assistant of UNICEF, was previously the U-Report Program Coordinator. ABOUT U-REPORT U-Report is a platform designed specifically for young peo-

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ple aged between 10 and 24 in developing countries to speak about issues affecting them. This platform promotes citizen-led development and good transformation at the community level; through the utilization of the cellphone Short Message Service (SMS) and is also supplemented by social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Young people's thoughts and ideas are collected and skillfully used to highlight actionable societal concerns through weekly poll questions. The platform also allows young people's voices to be heard on local and regional media by sending out alerts to relevant stakeholders about issues affecting them while also providing information to U-Reporters. One of the activities to highlight within the U-report program is the Digital Livelihoods Education Programme. Recently, UNICEF Botswana visited Nata Senior Secondary School, where they met with students involved in this program. The initiative gives young people an opportunity to leverage their talents, build digital and entrepreneurial skills and develop a design mindset. THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT


UNICEF

Kabo Komanyane

people as possible. The project aims to amplify the voices and views of young people in developing countries in a real-time information system that allows community participation. It’s designed to strengthen community-led development, citizen engagement, and positive change," states Kabo. The essence of the U-report is to change the lives of young people around Botswana; this is part of the global efforts made to empower young people to use their voices for positive change. Since its launch in Botswana the U-report has been a useful tool to engage the youth on a wide scope of critical topics such as climate change, health matters such as Covid-19, HIV/AIDS, Gender Equality, Education, and more such as human and child rights. It is far-reaching and spreads to the most remote areas of Botswana, and this can be one way of ensuring that all children's voices are heard, and that all voices are used to have a meaningful, relevant, and positive impact. Children are our future leaders, they need to be empowered. The U-report serves as the right platform for children to learn and understand the issues that affect them and use collaboration to solve such matters.

Talking about the future of the initiative, Kabo Komanyane said, "Botswana intends to strengthen community-led development and citizen engagement through U-Report. The platform will allow citizens to speak out via SMS and other channels such as polls and unsolicited messages addressing what is happening in their communities. It also provides a forum to amplify their voices through local and national media, send alerts to key stakeholders about the issues they face in their communities, and give feedback to the U-reporters so that they are empowered to work for change and improvements in their localities." In the Botswana context, U-report stands to serve three complementary outcomes. It intends to engage youth more meaningfully in decision-making processes at national and sub-national levels. This engagement and consultation will enable UNICEF to convene key government counterparts and sister UN agencies around a common initiative. Furthermore, it will also help improve knowledge of key challenges and opportunities facing young people to inform dynamic programming with and for adolescents across Botswana. And it will aid civic engagement in the decision-making process and behavioral change initiatives at a community level. THE SUCCESS OF THE U-REPORT PROGRAM The success of this program in Botswana can be attributed to partnerships with other parties who have already established youth audiences like Sky Girls BW, the Ministry of Health and Wellness, and other partners that expose the program to the youth. "U-Report allows young people from any community, anywhere in the world to speak out, respond to polls, and be positive agents of change. It takes a data-led approach to select topics to address and leverage digital channels to reach as many young

THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT

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CRACKiT

Tuition Nurturing Future Leaders By Bakang Tiro

E

ducation is today's wisest investment for tomorrow's brightest future. CRACKiT Tutorial centre offers professional tuition services and classes tailored to every child's needs because they understand that without education, there is no bright future for a child. CRACKiT also provides students and parents with complete peace of mind with its ongoing School Management System, designed to fill in the gaps students may not have gotten at school. Renowned author Moemedi Senwelo is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of CRACKiT Tuition Botswana. The company operates in the local education sector, and services students from lower primary, upper primary, junior secondary, and senior secondary. The centres have full-time, part-time and weekend tutorials. The company operates both in Botswana and South Africa. And as part of its expansion in the region CRACKiT announced it will open in Namibia in the future. The tutorial school also registered a new program called CRACKiT Foundation which will be pivotal in piloting its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives across the country so it can give more young people across 53 of its branches access to education. Senwelo takes The Responsible Citizen (TRC) through some of the company's CSR projects which focus on imparting life skills to learners.

Moemedi Senwelo

TRC: What are the CSR initiatives that the company has embarked on? Moemedi Senwelo: The core of CRACKiT's CSR is personal development, especially in students. We continually embark on Study Skills Presentations in schools with the focus group being completing classes. We also have partnerships with various schools around Botswana where we pledge our support in the academ-

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THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT


CRACKiT

ic and personal development of government schools. In 2021, CRACKiT Tuition Botswana registered its CSR flagship project named CRACKiT Foundation. Through the foundation, we hope to reach more areas outside the ones we operate in. We hope to extend our hand to orphanages, prisons, and schools in remote areas. TRC: What sectors of the economy do your company's CSR initiatives target? Education, Sport, e.t.c? Moemedi Senwelo: Our CSR programs target the education sector. We aim to contribute positively to the education sector in Botswana by producing learners who are competent and knowledgeable. Recently, we have ventured into the sports sector through our partnership with the Mochudi Centre Chiefs football club. Seeing the potential the team has, we saw it fit to encourage the team in their efforts to seek promotion to the Botswana Premier League. TRC: How sustainable are the CSR projects the CRACKiT Tuition aligns itself with currently? Moemedi Senwelo: Whenever we embark on CSR missions, we are always sure to foster strategic relationships with the parties we reach out to, and we make sure our relationships are sustained long-term. TRC: What impact did the COVID-19 pandemic have on the company's CSR initiatives?

THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT

Moemedi Senwelo: Because of COVID-19 regulations, a lot of our CSR came to a halt over the past two years. Gatherings were not allowed, so we couldn't interact with the students as much as we wished. TRC: Would you say that the company's CSR initiatives are inclusive? Moemedi Senwelo: Our CSR efforts target students from all levels of education. However, soon, we hope to target tertiary education graduates from universities and colleges through empowerment programs that encourage job readiness and entrepreneurship. TRC: As a business operating in the education sector, how are CRACKiT Tuition CSR initiatives committed to advancing UN Sustainable Development Goal number 4 that speaks to the advancement of quality education for all by 2030? Moemedi Senwelo: CRACKiT understands that education is an essential pillar for sustainable development, so our aim as a company is to make quality education accessible and affordable for the average Motswana. With us operating 53 centres around the country, including all local cities, towns, and bigger villages, it is easy to get a CRACKiT education at an affordable price. This will ensure that the students, even in villages, get a quality education and offer them an opportunity to escape abject poverty through sustainable development.

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