The Responsible Citizen

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SEPTEMBER 2021 | RELAUNCH ISSUE

INSIDE Accelerating Community Development With Absa Bank Botswana Pioneering Environmental Sustainability The Green Loop BW Way Conservation At The Heart Of Natural Selection’s Sustainable Safari

KALYANARAMAN VIJAY ON GRANT THORNTON BOTSWANA’S PEOPLE, CULTURE AND GROWING TOGETHER


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 | ABSA Bank On Mandate Of Accelerating Community Development Initiatives

16 | Snapshot Of BECI’s COVID-19 Product Pivot

COVER STORY

18 | Botswana Fibre Networks Work To Enhance Internet Accessibility In Schools

08 | Grant Thornton On People, Culture And Growing Together

20 | Hollard Life Botswana’s Project124 Initiative Transforms Youth Entrepreneurship And Job Creation For The Nation’s Youth

24 | PPC Botswana Empowers Brick Makers In Modipane

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THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT


SEPTEMBER 2021 • RELAUNCH ISSUE

COMMUNITY CHAMPIONS

IMPACT FOR TOMORROW’S GENERATIONS

26 | Unpacking The Need For

36 | Meet Lindiwe Modise Of Green

Building Financial Literacy In Society With Joy Buno

Loop Botswana

28 | The Sustainable Safari With Natural Selection

legacy Creation For Tomorrow’s Generations

32 | Ameera Khan Pathan talks

40 | The Bulb World’s Lesedi Ke

“Perfectly Personalised”

34 | Caroline Gartland On The Birth Of SensoBaby

38 | Botswana Life On 45 years Into

Mpho Campaign Enhances Lighting In Boarding Schools

44 | The Quest To Give Back Knowledge To Communities

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SEPTEMBER 2021 • RELAUNCH ISSUE

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 Bakang Tiro Keletso Rakola-Mwemutsi

MARKETING & ADVERTISING

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

CREATIVE DIRECTION Yissue Group info@yissuegroup.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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THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT


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Founder’s Welcome

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t is with great pleasure that I re-introduce to you the newly refreshed Responsible CITIZEN Magazine, a publication that was created with the vision to inspire citizen involvement in adopting solutions for the challenges that impact our communities. We are excited to be getting back on the saddle with profiling many of the success stories that have been championed by corporate entities and individuals across Botswana. The Responsible CITIZEN Magazine’s rebranding come at a time where we look back at the milestones we have witnessed as Wise Leadership, serving a diverse set of clients that cut across

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various industries in providing Corporate Secretarial and Corporate Governance advisory over the past 10 years. From our interactions with clients and colleagues in the local commercial landscape, it is clear that great value is placed on the need to invest in sustainable, socially responsible initiatives that serve to benefit the people of Botswana. Our new tagline: “Business. Community. Impact” speaks to our mandate of ensuring that we highlight sustainability as a critical component to nurturing success in building businesses, impacting individuals and the communities they reside, doing so while also protecting our planet’s natural resources. The Responsible CITIZEN Magazine is an ode to the people and entities that stride to make a difference to Botswana and her people for a better tomorrow, even more so now as the world grapples with the impact of COVID-19. We are stronger together in our quest to effect lasting change one initiative at a time, that benefits one person at a time, and it is our hope that our readers and the organisations we profile, continue to evolve as they navigate difficult operational conditions. Do join us as we celebrate the tireless, socially responsible champions in our midst, who through meeting their collective CSR/CSI objectives, support the notion that our planet, the people that call it home and profits generated through enterprise are inextricably intertwined. We thank you for your support and hope you enjoy the changes we are bringing. Sincerely,

Mpho Moletlo Kgosietsile THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT


Editor’s Note

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s we celebrate Wise Leadership’s 10th year anniversary, we are reminded of just how far the organization has come in providing tailor-made business solutions for all types of organisations, be it state-owned entities, non-profit organisations, educational and professional institutions, public and private companies and sole proprietors. In acknowledging their growth, I also commend the team for bringing forward a new version of a project that comes powered by the desire to celebrate the progress that’s been made over the years as corporates endeavor to prioritise people and the environment through socially, economically and environmentally sustainable initiatives. It is important that as a people, we do out part in blowing the trumpet on the citizens in our midst that help redraft our societal narrative; something I am hugely passionate about. In our relaunch edition of The Responsible CITIZEN Magazine, key was delving into the people and culture message, and this was well delivered by Managing Partner of Grant Thornton Botswana Kalyanaraman Vijay, who not only unpacks the importance of fostering a wholesome people culture as part of an organisation’s CSR strategy, but delves into the sectors of the economy in which Grant Thornton Botswana is leading the charge in making an impact. Yodit Kassaye-Molosi is the Citizenship Manager, Marketing and Corporate Relations at Absa Bank Botswana, and she weighs in on the banks Citizenship Agenda, and the pillars in which it is founded. We also connect with several small business owners who have made socially responsible practice part of the fabric of their growth. We talk “resilience”, especially in the unprecedented age of COVID-19 that has ravaged the commercial landscape and subsequently impacted the individuals and communities that stand to benefit from initiatives that proliferate success. To the organisations and individuals that have

THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT

shared their stories with us as part of our relaunch edition, we thank you for supporting The Responsible CITIZEN Magazine’s mandate to highlight Botswana’s social, economic and environment issues, and how members of the commercial landscape and communities are playing their role in yielding change. Yours truly,

wa g n e t .M

C e n n o v Y

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COVER STORY • GRANT THORNTON

Grant Thornton on People, Culture and Growing Together Managing Partner of Grant Thornton Botswana Kalyanaraman Vijay chats with The Responsible CITIZEN (TRC) on the importance of people and culture in fostering corporate growth.

TRC: May you introduce yourself and tell our readers a little about Grant Thornton Botswana KV: My name is Kalyanaraman Vijay, and I am the

Managing Partner of Grant Thornton in Botswana, effective July 2018 and I am also the Head of Advisory Services. I joined Grant Thornton in Botswana in 1996. I am a fellow member of the Botswana Institute of Chartered Accountants (BICA), and I was the first President of BICA. I am also a member of HLCC Finance, representing professional services at Business Botswana. I am a former Board and Audit committee member of Botswana Accountancy College and have also served on the Advisory (Industry forum) committee of Botho University. Grant Thornton is a network of independent assurance, tax and advisory firms, made up of 58,000 people in over 138 countries. Grant Thornton in Botswana is a member firm of Grant Thornton International Limited. Previously known as ‘Acumen Associates’, Grant Thornton Botswana has been operating since 1976. The firm has a total of eleven (11) partners and directors, and one hundred and six (106) employees who work in two (2) local offices - Gaborone and Francistown. With more than five service lines, we offer a full range of professional services to help clients of all sizes address the challenges and opportunities of growth.

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TRC: What are the CSR initiatives that the company has in place? KV: At Grant Thornton, we are passionate about the

communities where we work and live. Our corporate social responsibility (CSR) promotes the difference everyone can make by being passionately involved in their communities. Dedicated to giving back through various Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives, in 2015, Grant Thornton International Limited started an initiative named GT (Growing Together) IN THE COMMUNITY - Global CSR day. On this day, member firms across the globe engage in community service and make a contribution to worthy organisations all over the world, and collectively celebrate the joy of giving back to their respective communities. In Botswana, our offices are closed for the day, and over 100 of our staff members spend time with our selected beneficiaries. Not only do we make a contribution financially / in kind, but we also ensure that we engage with the members of the beneficiary organisation - get to know them, engaged them with various activities, enjoy a meal with them, take time to understand the day to day challenges the volunteers face, and how they manage to overcome them.

TRC: What sectors of economy does the company’s CSR initiatives target? THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT


COVER STORY • GRANT THORNTON

THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT

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COVER STORY • GRANT THORNTON

KV: We carry a global approach to CSR.

Every day, communities worldwide receive innovative and generous services from Grant Thornton’s inspirational people. Driving our commitment is our global steering committee of CSR advocates that develop the global guiding principles which shape our community engagement. Across Grant Thornton, we are involved in Education which seeks to help communities and people grow, develop and realise their potential; Healthcare, wherein we give our time to initiatives important to our communities and supporting people in poverty by collaborating with charities and non-governmental organisations. Our local approach to CSR involves making a meaningful contribution to the country, a passion that runs deep in our hearts. Our main aim is to fulfil our responsibility towards our nation, and accordingly, we have aligned our CSR activities around Botswana’s Vision 2036 as well as the areas that the country believes are most beneficial to the development of the economy, i.e., the private sector. We support Botswana’s goal of fostering a compassionate and caring nation through helping various charitable and social institutions with donations, on site visits and participation in various activities. We have been dedicated to supporting causes such as Gamodubu Child Care Trust, Pudulogong Rehabilitation Centre, Dinaletsana Development Centre, Botswana Substance Abuse Support Network (BOSASNet) as well as Child Line. We have also taken initiative to support Tshwaragano Primary School in Old Naledi since 2017, and most recently our staff and employees contributed to the National COVID-19 Relief Fund. Our overall contribution to the community, including the value of professional time dedicated, exceeds P7.5 million over the past 10 years. We support Botswana’s goal of nurturing an informed and educated nation by providing sponsorships for the most deserving citizen staff to achieve accounting qualifications, and also train citizens pursuing professional qualifications. Grant Thornton is also an Authorized Training Employer endorsed by the Botswana Institute of Chartered Accountants (BICA), and provides sponsorship and training to student perusing professional qualifications such as BICA, ACCA, CIMA, CIA, etc.

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2015

Pudulogong rehabilitation centre

2016

Gamodubu child care trust

2017

Tshwaragano primary school

THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT


2018

Tshwaragano primary school

Business Growth Awards (PBGA) is an annual platform established in 2015, to recognize local privately held businesses that approach growth from a strategic and holistic perspective. PBGA honours local businesses or groups with growth strategies that encompass a broad range of activities across their business. This includes product and service development, expansion into new domestic and international markets, development of people and culture, improvements in efficiency, improvements in stakeholder relations, improvements in financial measures or governance, contributions to social development and leadership through a combination of business acumen and instinct.

TRC: How sustainable are the CSR projects you align yourselves with? KV: Grant Thornton’s culture is one of our most valuable assets and

2019

Tshwaragano primary school

has steered us in the right direction for several years. Our people are committed to bringing our values to life every day and helping our clients and communities unlock their potential for growth. Our organisational values are CLEARR (Collaboration, Leadership, Excellence, Agility, Respect and Responsibility), and these values are imbibed in everything we do, including CSR drives. As mentioned, Grant Thornton Botswana’s CSR activities are closely linked to areas of national interest – education, inclusivity and private sector development. We believe that we are playing an important role in the sustained development in these areas, and the drives that we have in place build the capabilities of our beneficiaries that allow them to sustain themselves independently in the future. We believe that an empowered population can take the country to great heights for many years to come.

TRC: Is the company’s CSR inclusive or it targets certain groups or gender? KV: Our culture promotes diversity and inclusion. We believe that

2020

Covid-19 GT Cheque presentation

TRC: Which have been the most notable CSI activities Grant Thornton has been involved in since inception? KV: Nurturing the growth and development of the private sector.

The Private Business Growth Awards are our biggest Corporate Social Responsibility contribution to the country and are designed to help nurture and grow the private sector of Botswana. Presented by Grant Thornton in association with Business Botswana and Botswana Investment and Trade Center (BITC), Grant Thornton’s Private THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT

this helps us meet the demands of a changing world. We value the fact that our people come from all walks of life and that this diversity of experience and perspective makes our organisation stronger as a result. We treat everyone fairly and never differentiate on the basis of ethnicity, race, religion or belief (or lack of ), gender, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, pregnancy, maternity, marital status, age or disability. This culture is mirrored in our approach to fulfilling our corporate social responsibility towards Botswana. Furthermore, internationally, Grant Thornton is a founding partner of IMPACT2030 and in 2018 Peter Bodin, Grant Thornton International CEO, was named as its new chair of the board. IMPACT2030 is a private sector led coalition which aims to direct the collective skills, experience and passion of corporate volunteers towards helping the United Nations achieve their Sustainable Development Goals.

TRC: What impact has the COVID-19 pandemic had on the company’s CSR initiatives? KV: Our responsibilities are driven by passion, and so we give thanks to God Almighty that external circumstances have not hindered our ability to serve our commitment to our corporate social responsibilities. Though we acknowledge that the pandemic has impacted sections of the economy, as Grant Thornton, we have been committed to our people, communities and clients through 2020 and even now.

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BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT

ABSA Bank BOTSWANA

ON ITS MANDATE OF ACCELERATING COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVES

- LEADING IN THE BUSINESS OF CSR

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unctioning as a critical stakeholder in any economy, the banking sector is actively seen as leading the charge in corporate social responsibility, given the interdependent roles financial institutions play with their players within diverse marketplaces. YODIT KASSAYE-MOLOSI is the Citizenship Manager, Marketing and Corporate Relations at Absa Bank Botswana, and she speaks to The Responsible CITIZEN Magazine about the bank’s line up of CSR initiatives as a corporate leader in championing community engagement and advanced development.

TRC: What are your core responsibilities as Citizenship Manager in relation to Corporate Social Responsibility portfolio within Absa Bank of Botswana? YKM: I am responsible for implementing our Citizenship Strategy for Absa Bank Botswana. The role is quite extensive, but in short, it includes identifying community partners that we can work with to implement innovative projects that aim to make a positive impact in society while delivering shareholder value. TRC: Outline some of the CSR projects that Absa Bank Botswana have embarked on. YKM: As part of our Citizenship agenda, Absa has identified three strategic areas we believe can make a positive impact in our communities. Our strategic focus areas include:

Education and skills, where our approach is to bridge the gap between education and the world of work. As Absa Bank Botswana, we strive to create opportunities and platforms to address knowledge gaps, provide opportunities to increase employability to young people as well as support institutions that improve the delivery of quality education. The second is Enterprise Development, where we provide aspiring entrepreneurs with business development services. Our programmes focus on economic growth as we provide SMEs with access to finance, products and services and business opportunities. We also provide training, business development support and access to markets. Our third area of strategic focus is Financial inclusion.

THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT


ABSA BANK BOTSWANA

Africa currently has highest financial exclusion rates in the world, and we work towards fostering a change with this. Our financial education and awareness programmes support our communities by providing financial management and access to financial services. With our strategic focus areas in mind, I would have to say most of the projects we have been working on are geared towards improving the education and skills of young people in Botswana. We have several initiatives in play and so allow me to list and share a little bit about each other to give better context: Absa Hackathon and Incubation Program It was launched in January 2021 and seeks to promote entrepreneurship and the development of FinTechs in Botswana. The Hackathon brings together young developers to create solutions for challenges that are faced by different communities and sectors. The program includes a training and incubation component which will develop the entrepreneurial skills of the young developers. The focus of our inaugural hackathon is the SME sector. This programme is currently running, and we are working with 3 teams that have been selected for the training program. F.G. Mogae Scholarship Fund The fund has been running since 2008 and provided scholarships for Batswana who wish to pursue a Master’s degree. To date we have provided scholarships to 76 Batswana studying in various fields. Absa ReadyToWork - This is an on-line learning platform which was developed to assist young people with the transition from college or university and into the world of work. The platform is available free of charge to youth who wish to improve their skills in the following areas: Work, People, Money, and Entrepreneurship. Following the launch of the program in 2016, Absa Bank Botswana partnered with two non-governmental organisations, Project Concern International and Stepping Stones International, to roll out a training program for youth across Botswana. During a 3-year period, we were able to train over 10,000 youth in ReadytoWork. The program has now been successfully incorporated into a USAID funded program known as DREAMS and is being utilised to train adolescents and youth. Madi Majwana – Stories from your Pocket Financial Literacy Radio Program in partnership with Maitisong Theatre – is an innovative financial literacy program that came to life with the development and launch of the theatrical production “Pula Money Matters.” This theatrical production, highlighting the important role that money plays in our lives, was an instant hit and gave birth to the radio drama which was launched on World Literacy Day in September 2014. Madi Majwana was created with the main objective of educating the public and evoking dialogue on the important subject of money. The radio drama ran for 5 seasons, creating employment for over 300 young THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT

people and attracting over 500,000 listeners. There was a theatrical component to the program where the cast and crew visited on average fifteen villages across the country during all 5 seasons. The theatrical presentations allowed the cast and crew, most of whom had been trained in money skills to interact with the audience and have a conversation about what concerns them. It also provided a great opportunity to do the necessary research to inform subsequent seasons for the radio drama. In addition to the theatrical performances, the team held listening sessions with schools in each village. These listening sessions would consist of tuning in to several episodes of the radio drama and having a discussion on the pertinent issues that arose from the episode. Madi Majwana has received an investment of five million pula since inception. Force for Good, a Colleague Volunteering Program encourages our colleagues to play an active role in the communities in which they work by providing small grants and time off work. They have been actively engaged in tree planting, vegetable gardening, refurbishment of schools and in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, raising funds to purchase masks and sanitisers for children. Absa Bank Botswana has a fundraising program where we match funds that colleagues have raised to support communities in need. TRC: How has Absa Bank Botswana contributed to poverty alleviation through its CSR initiatives? YKM: All our programs and projects have an impact on poverty alleviation as they seek to provide people with the skills required to live economically active lives. However, we have invested in projects that specifically address people who are living in poverty. In 2013, we launched our partnership with PCI to support the roll out of the Grass Roots Growing Our Wealth (GROW) model that has the primary focus of lifting women out of abject poverty. GROW is an innovative socio-economic model that empowers disadvantaged individuals to build their own economic capital through the formation of self-managed groups that save, lend and conduct business together. The GROW model trains women on financial literacy with a focus on savings, leadership skills and entrepreneurial skills. The facilitator- led groups motivate the women to organise and manage their savingsand to be accountable to themselves and each other. At the heart of this initiative is women empowerment and it initially targeted adult women who lived in marginalised communities. In the first phase of the project, the support from Barclays, (now Absa) enabled the implementation of the GROW program in Molepolole and Kasane. The programme was subsequently extended to include Francistown and Mochudi and has been appropriately named “Women Empowered – GROW – Legacy Project.” At the height of the program, the GROW model was being practiced by 52 Adult Groups with 694 members and

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67 youth groups with 594 members four villages. The model also demonstrated its effectiveness in promoting a good understanding of savings. Throughout the life of the project over P 300,000 was mobilised in savings. This project remains active and is a great testimony to the power of partnerships, effective management and dedication. TRC: Talk to us about which of your initiatives fall under your critical milestones? Which do you deem as an organization to be the most notable? YKM: All the projects that we have engaged with have been notable, as they all had their unique objectives and made commendable achievements. However, if I were to select a few that have stood the test of time and made significant impact, I would select our F.G. Mogae Scholarship Fund and Absa ReadytoWork. The third will have to be the Women Empowerment Grass Roots Growing Your Wealth which was detailed earlier. The Women Empowerment program has had a profound impact on the lives of women and their communities. It is one that can be replicated in any part of the country and drive development that is holistic, respectable and sustainable. Finally, I would also include our Hackathon and Incubation program as it is an innovative program that seeks to build the skills of young developers by providing an opportunity to build a solution that will benefit a wide community of people as well as providing the necessary education and skills to make them successful entrepreneurs. TRC: How sustainable are the CSI projects you align yourselves with? YKM: We are deliberate and purposeful in recognising and understanding the needs of our communities. Our purpose is to bring possibilities to life; to help communities dream and aspire to change their lives. We believe in possibilities and creating sustainable opportunities for our communities as we seek innovative solutions that help build and sustain our communities such as education and enterprise development. In this regard, our Citizenship agenda and programmes are sustainable as they will continue to benefit the individuals and communities that are involved. TRC: Is Absa’s CSR inclusive or it targets certain groups or gender? YKM: At Absa Bank Botswana, we believe in inclusion and diversity. We are committed to promoting diversity in our communities. Therefore, our Citizenship agenda is dedicated to supporting all members of our communities. TRC: How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected the bank’s CSR mission? YKM: Like most organisations, the pandemic has become a challenge mainly for the delivery of some of our programmes. As per COVID-19 protocols set forth, we have had to stop the face-to-face interactions. However, we continue to seek innovative and purposeful ways to continue to support our communities. We have been

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able to utilise and adopt technology to continue with some of our projects although this has been a challenge for those entities that do not have access. TRC: Which sectors of the economy does Absa Bank Botswana target through its CSR initiatives? YKM: We are keen on addressing the education and skills development gap that exists in any sector of the economy. Entrepreneurship remains a critical focus and forms a large part of our activities. TRC: Does Absa have a Corporate Social Investments Policy and what does it entail? YKM: We have a Citizenship policy which details our ambitions and the rules that govern the implementation of our programmes. TRC: There is often an argument that commercial entities exist just to make profit without much regard to problems affecting communities they operate in. What is your take on this? YKM: It is important for all entities to be active and responsible corporate citizens. This means that we all have an obligation to contribute towards the growth and development of the communities in which we work. Moreover, we must remember that we all come from these communities, therefore the problems that affect individuals within the communities will also impact the commercial entities. We simply cannot divorce ourselves from our communities. TRC: Would you say Batswana understand and appreciate CSI -focused initiatives? YKM: We all have a major role to play in social investment and we have seen in recent times, a shift with regards participation in CSI issues. Now, more than ever, Public-Private Partnerships have and continue to play a critical role in addressing social challenges. In recent times, we have seen Batswana, as the general public as well as corporates come together to help the government in the fight against COVID-19, thus highlighting that we all recognise and appreciate our role in building and supporting our communities. TRC: Are your CSI initiatives spread countrywide, or mostly concentrated within the areas of your operations? YKM: Our Citizenship programmes are targeted at reaching various communities across the country. Our target areas expand from urban to rural areas, such that our programmes have reached villages such as Etsha, Kachikau, Shashe Mooke, Bobonong, Goodhope and Ghanzi to name a few. As Absa Bank Botswana, we are proud of our 70-year legacy in Botswana. We remain dedicated to supporting communities across Botswana as we build on the legacies of our forefathers. THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT


ABSA BANK BOTSWANA

THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT

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SNAPSHOT OF BECI’S COVID-19 PRODUCT PIVOT. IMPROVING CASHFLOW FOR LOCAL BUSINESSES GRAPPLING WITH THE IMPACT OF THE GLOBAL PANDEMIC

FOUNDED IN 1996, BECI (EXPORT CREDIT INSURANCE AND GUARANTEE COMPANY BOTSWANA) IS A PRIVATE COMPANY WHOLLY OWNED BY THE BOTSWANA DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION LIMITED (BDCL) AND IS THE ONLY CREDIT INSURER IN BOTSWANA. WITH ITS PRIMARY FUNCTION BEING TO DEVELOP AND EQUIP BUSINESS WITH TRADE CREDIT INSURANCE POLICIES TO PROTECT THEM FROM THE DANGER OF NON-PAYMENT BY CREDIT CUSTOMERS, THE COMPANY NOW OFFERS A SELECTION OF BUSINESS GROWTH TOOLS SUCH AS CONSTRUCTION BONDS AND GUARANTEES, INCLUDING THE COVID19 LOAN GUARANTEE SCHEME IN RESPONSE TO CHALLENGES ARISING FROM THE GLOBAL PANDEMIC.

Understanding the work of Export Credit Agencies Export Credit Agencies (ECAs) such as BECI are entities that offer export credit insurance, guarantees or financing agreements which enable a foreign buyer of exported goods and/or services to defer payment over a period. ECAs are ordinarily wholly or directly owned by central governments, with some exceptions where such holding would be through a local authority or a state-owned enterprise. Instances of privately owned ECAs are quite rare

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and limited to an agency set up where the private owner is contracted to act in the interest of a government. BECI is a member of Berne Union, and International Union of Credit and Investment Insurers. Export Credit Agencies have a primary focus of boosting exports and facilitating trade credit and in so doing, achieve a range of other objectives of national importance including the facilitation of expansion of businesses and employment creation, improve international competitiveness, increase exports, strengthen the balance of payments, and promote and promote economic diversification.

THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT


BECI

purchase order facility has been allocated to local businesses and instrumental in assisting them with operational expenses or fully resuscitate them. The pandemic has resulted in the crippling of a multitude of business across varied sectors globally, with some local businesses experiencing significant challenges that resulted in total bankruptcy, or severe limitations in capital to deliver on their mandate and strategic objectives. It is therefore no wonder that in turn, suppliers in Botswana and elsewhere, are also skeptical on offering credit as was previously the case. It is also with such challenges that BECI has stepped in to alleviate financial constraints for local business owners, seeing it fit to issue out guarantees to these affected organizations to facilitate the delivery of goods and services, as well as honoring of payments.

More on BECI’s commitment to impacting communities.

Addressing marketplace cashflow problems in light of COVID-19 BECI CSR Committee launched a new product called the ‘purchase order facility’, aimed at improving cash flow, enabling access to capital (getting back up from BECI guarantees), thereby reducing the risk of non-payment. Due to the increase in purchase orders from the government especially from the Ministry of Health to procure the much-needed equipment and services in combating the Covid19 pandemic, the

THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT

BECI’s Corporate Social Responsibility Committee credits the knowledge and experience they have gained over the years about Botswana’s business fraternity, as the conduit by which to better offer financial planning and credit management information to strained businesses daily, thus guaranteeing economic sustainability. BECI takes pride not only in ensuring economic sustainability but in partaking in community work, with some of their past CSR initiatives including but not limited to donating uniforms and toiletries to adopted, disadvantaged children in the SOS Children’s Village, committing time towards volunteerism and having Christmas lunch with them. Recently, BECI also donated wheelchairs to the Botswana Cycling society in the Kgalagadi region. The organization is also currently looking at the raising funds to donate to the Cancer Association of Botswana, adopting a school to assist with the buying of school uniform for less privileged children and sharing financial literacy tools with the students in a bid to equip them with information that would contribute towards economic sustainability for the future generations.

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Botswana Fibre Networks work to enhance internet accessibility in schools. Gaborone Senior Secondary School benefit from state-of-the-art ICT equipment powered by Huawei BOFINET, HUAWEI PROPEL GOVERNMENT’S MAITLAMO ICT POLICY 18 |

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n an endeavor to help bridge the digital divide in the nation’s education sector, Botswana Fibre Networks (BOFINET) and Huawei Botswana recently partnered to enhance internet access at Gaborone Senior Secondary School (GSS). In a noble gesture that witnessed BOFINET and Huawei coming together to connect internet at Gaborone Secondary School, the two giant local Information and Technology (ICT) providers also proceeded to donate a colossal Audio-Visual Lab of 10 desktops and 20 equipped for use by special needs students. “The company’s CSR initiatives include ensuring connectivity within schools in a bid to maintain a conducive, ICT-driven learning environment,” said Ms. Pelana Siwawa-Ndai, the Board Chairperson of BOFINET. Gaborone Senior Secondary School Head teacher Lesego Tshabangu expressed gratitude for the massive internet connectivity and donation of ICT by BOFINET and Huawei Botswana, citing confidence that this would yield significant results in enhancing the student educational experience. Supporting schools and enabling socioeconomic growth BOFINET underscores its contractual corporate social responsibilities obligation which THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT


BOFINET

compels all its partners to contribute towards the communities they work within, and this is done through various initiatives that support ICT development. “Since 2014, BOFINET has provided 78 schools across the country with internet connectivity. Because supporting education is a key pillar within our CSR frameworks, we aim to also recognize exceptional academic performance in the schools, particularly during prize giving ceremonies,” cites Siwawa-Ndai. BOFINET has also implemented deliberate and strategic CSR initiatives that are aligned with driving transformational and sustainable outcomes within the communities it operates, and as a wholesale provider of telecommunications infrastructure, BOFINET’s core mandate is to facilitate the growth of the ICT environment in Botswana and to improve access to knowledge. The company’s mandate is core to enabling economic and social growth in Botswana, having executed a total of over 23 corporate social responsibility projects across the country in areas such as Gudigwa, Sehithwa, Kasane, Hukuntsi, Kachikau, Bobonong, Selebi Phikwe, Tsabong, Maun and Mogoditshane. “Our CSR strategy is designed to ensure that as BOFINET, we remain a part of the thread that drives social transformation in Botswana. Our value proposition around corporate social responsibility is more towards social investment and we view our CSR initiatives as investments in better and progressive future,” asserts Siwawa-Ndai. The BOFINET-Huawei partnership Commenting on Huawei’s partnership with BOFINET, Managing Director of Huawei Botswana, Mr. Ye Hui Hui says the company is keen to connect schools, noting that internet connectivity is critical in equipping students with much needed resources to enable effective, real-time access to information. BOFINET engaged Huawei Botswana as a technical partner to install and commission an optic fibre cable network that provided high quality and high internet bandwidth in Extensions 9, 11, 5, 3 and 39 for the comprehensive “Fibre to the Home Project” that was officially launched in 2019. Minister of Transport and Communications Mr. Thulagano Segokgo said the ongoing support from BOFINET and

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Huawei is a notable gesture towards bridging the digital divide as well as fulfilling the Maitlamo Policy, which sets to make Botswana a globally competitive and information-based nation. Applauding BOFINET and Huawei for assisting government through their partnership, Minister Segokgo said: “The Maitlamo policy highlights the mandate of ThutoNet, a programme that aims to increase literacy, skills and knowledge required for both formal and non-formal learners in a networked world by providing all schools in Botswana with modern computers and access to the internet at all times.” According to Segokgo, government can only succeed to execute the Maitlamo ICT connectivity mandate with the assistance of the private sector, investors, and state-owned enterprises too.

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Hollard Life Botswana’s

Project124 initiative transforms youth entrepreneurship and job creation for the nation’s youth

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HOLLARD LIFE BOTSWANA

THE YOUTH ENTREPRENEURSHIP FOCUSED INITIATIVE WAS FORMED AS A PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN HOLLARD LIFE BOTSWANA AND LAUNCHIT INTERNATIONAL

H

ollard Life Botswana is part of the international Hollard Group, and entity based in South Africa which includes businesses formed with strong local partners in Botswana, Namibia, and other countries around the world. Hollard Life Botswana’s partnership philosophy has led to the company forming strategic partnerships and alliances with financial institutions, retailers, and specialized intermediaries, resulting in a uniquely varied range of distribution channels and mechanisms.

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roject124, an initiative formed in 2016 brought by Launchit International in partnership with Hollard Life Botswana strives to transform youth entrepreneurship and expedite effective creation of sustainable jobs for youth across the country. Carrying a mandate to build the economy one business at a time, Project124 seeks to meet economically

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HOLLARD LIFE BOTSWANA

sustainable objectives by investing in the youth. Having been formed in Gaborone, Project124’s footprint has since expanded to areas including Palapye, Maun, Ghanzi, Francistown and Selebi Phikwe, thus reaching a wide range of entrepreneurs across Botswana. Although the initiative’s primary focus is building on its agenda in Botswana, its reach has grown throughout the years, expanding beyond Botswana’s borders into South Africa, Namibia, and Zambia. Executive Program Manager, Mr. Goitsemang Khutsafalo says that their digital footprint is widely growing, and there are plans to organize online cohorts in other countries. He is optimistic about the possibilities of Project124 expanding even further to other countries such as Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Ethiopia, and South Sudan, particularly those markets in which the Hollard Group operates. Dissecting Project124 Project124’s initiatives include The Annual Project124 Entrepreneurship Program, The Project124 Pop-Up Markets, The Project124 Country Tour and The Project124 Africa Finals. Some of the highlights of Project124 include youth entrepreneurs who received funding and training from various private investors and financial institutions. Through igniting passion and creativity in young entrepreneurs who are determined to make a difference in their communities, Project124 has succeeded in enhancing 1387 entrepreneurs through their impactful business and entrepreneurship events and programs, including their acceleration platform: the Stanbic Bank AcceleR8 Incubator. Optimising Africa’s young entrepreneurs In challenging the high unemployment rate especially in developing countries such as Botswana, extensive job losses, and the additional challenges the Covid-19 pandemic presents, a platform like Project124 endeavors to assist countries to optimize their entrepreneurs to sustain their economies through rigorous promotion of entrepreneurship. There is a need for the development of entrepreneurs and enterprises with a strong

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focus on global competitiveness, as well as sustainable business management that will contribute colossally towards improving entrepreneurship in Botswana and Africa, as well as creating sustainable jobs for youth in various countries. Bonolo Belindah Molebatsi, a beneficiary of Project124’s program, is a 33- year-old goal-focused and customer-oriented business entrepreneur. Bonolo owns Nollycraft, a youth citizen owned company that provides professional cleaning services, and she credits Project124 for helping her grow as an individual, benefitting from having attained such skills as public speaking, writing winning business pitches, proposal writing, delegation skills, discipline in business and becoming equipped in business administration. Bonolo states that through the training she received from Project124 and her hard work and resilience she is now a fulltime volunteer as a mentor. Project124’s newest initiative encompasses The Project124 Student Entrepreneurship Clubs. The Project124 Intervarsity Competitions are designed to bring the country’s best university minds under one roof to birth innovative solutions to the nation’s greatest challenges, as well as showcase the brilliance of Botswana’s innovative students within the Business, Entrepreneurship & Innovation space. The most recent Intervarsity Competitions were held in Gaborone in July 2021, under the theme “Leveraging Student Participation in the National Covid-19 Economic Recovery Plan”.

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PPC BOTSWANA

PPC BOTSWANA EMPOWERS BRICK MAKERS IN MODIPANE

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PC Botswana, the nation’s leading supplier of cement and concrete products, recently boosted a Modipane brick making company, Katlego Bricks’ capacity by offering it a new stock brick machine. PPC previously facilitated brick making workshops across the country as part of their commitment to providing mentorship to brick makers, helping unlock their ability to increase production. Speaking at the machine handover event, PPC Botswana Head of Business Tuelo Botlhole asserted that community development is pivotal to sustained growth as it provides the foundation a society builds off to improving the lives of citizens. PPC Botswana cement was used to build iconic structures in Botswana such as the iTowers, Dikgatlhong Dam, and the Obed Itani Chilume Stadium in Francistown. I am giving these examples to show that PPC Botswana does quality work and after this workshop, all the brick makers involved will be producing high-quality work too,” “What is more impressive is that Katlego’s Bricks is led and managed by a lady who understands the craft of brick making so much and as a loyal customer of PPC Botswana over the years, it only made sense for us to do our part to support the organisation’s growth” added Bolthole. Some important aspects of PPC Botswana’s CSR initiatives include SMME empowerment, citizen empowerment and community development projects through supporting education sector too. Over the years, the company has been steadfast in fostering initiatives that help emancipate local communities to enhance Botswana citizens further. Katlego Bricks were delighted to have been supported by PPC Botswana by machine to boost its business, with its founder Patricia

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Mokgwa commending the organization for its kind gesture, adding that the newly received stock brick machine is anticipated to double the production level, thus bolstering its competitive edge. The arrival of new brick-making machine is expected to surge productivity at Katlego Bricks, increasing the number of bags of cement used daily from 25 to at least 40 bags in a day. SUPPORTING SMALL BUSINESSES PPC Botswana has for a long time empowered small and medium-sized entities in the brick making sector by conducting brick makers’ workshops and donating machines that will aid in production. In 2018, PPC Botswana, as a result of its strong commitment to socially responsible initiatives within communities, received an award for its CSR impact in Economic Development during the first ever Botswana Corporate Social Responsibility Awards. The Botswana CSR Awards honour corporations that show a commitment to the sustenance of lives, communities and the very environment that sustains these businesses. Responding to the fight against the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the company donated P1 million towards the COVID-19 Relief Fund, heeding to government’s call for private sector to assist in the fight as well. “As industry players we have to share strategies with the Government on how best we believe we can recover and restore our economy moving forward. This includes local participation, strengthening manufacturing, and building strong foundations for all primary industries for our economic independence and viability,” said Botlhole at the time of donating the P1 million. THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT



BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT

- COMMUNITY CHAMPIONS

UNPACKING THE NEED FOR BUILDING FINANCIAL LITERACY IN SOCIETY

with Joy Buno

F

ounder and Director of Palm Valley Joy Buno, is an accomplished Finance Professional with career spanning 17 years. Passionate about highlighting the need for financial literacy in members of society, she speaks to us about a recently rolled-out initiative coined Financial Literacy with Joy Buno. TRC: Joy, tell us a little about yourself and your qualifications as a financial expert. JOY BUNO: I am a finance professional with 17 years’ experience and a holder of a Bachelor of

Accountancy degree obtained from the University of Botswana in 2002. I then went on to attain an Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) professional qualification and membership. As I progressed in my career, I found the need to study further with the goal of equipping myself for the corporate world beyond just Accountancy, by taking up and successfully attaining a Masters’ degree in Business Administration (MBA) with the University of Derby. During that same period, I graduated with a Postgraduate Certificate in Risk Management with Botswana Accountancy College (BAC). I am a fellow member of CertiTHE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT


JOY BUNO

fied Chartered Accountants (FCPA) and Botswana Institute of Chartered Accountants (BICA). I have worked at different levels in the Finance management environment within the private sector and across different industries. Over the years, I have spent the most part of my Executive years within the financial sector which exposed me to the relevant experience that is critical for this financial literacy journey that I have embarked on. I am currently Head of Finance at Liberty Life Botswana. On a personal note, I am married to a loving and supportive husband, Bruce Buno and we are blessed with 3 children (2 girls and 1 boy). TRC: Take us through Financial Literacy with Joy Buno. As a professional working in finance, what inspired you to give back to society through your programme Financial Literacy with Joy Buno? JOY BUNO: ‘Financial Literacy with Joy Buno’ was officially born on my birthday, 23rd September in 2020, after much thought, introspection, and preparation. I often asked myself difficult questions on days leading to my birthday regarding my purpose in life, my social responsibilities, as well as how I was utilizing my knowledge and God given talents for imparting my knowledge. I have always wanted to teach and train people around finance-related matters but procrastinated on it for years. Throughout this period, I saw the financial literacy deficiency amongst the youth, young adults, grown adults as well as retirees. The more I interacted with people of different backgrounds about many different topics, the more I realized that my fellow countrymen needed to be exposed to basic financial knowledge. In this world it is difficult to maneuver through life without basic understanding of personal finance. I then took a leap of faith and decided to set up ‘Financial Literacy with Joy Buno’ as a Facebook page to begin. TRC: Would you say Batswana whom you interact with understand and value lessons you share with them? JOY BUNO: I try to simplify my posts for ease of understanding by different cohorts within my audience. My mission is to touch on everyday issues that my audience come across daily. For example, I have talked about financial statements, assets, liabilities, income, savings, investments, loans and amortization schedules, assets registers, types of insurances and so on. I think most of my followers do understand the information I share with them because some do share my posts with their followers, some contact me directly for more information via messenger or email and those that have my cell numbers do call me directly for further clarity on

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issues of their interests. The activity that has been going on around this financial literacy initiative since its inception is an indication that Batswana do value the lessons that I have been sharing with them for the past 8 months. TRC: Is the CSR initiative operated at company level or is it only currently running across social media platforms? JOY BUNO: For now, the initiative is operated through social media platforms (Facebook). I however have growth aspirations and would want to take this journey to greater heights by formally operating as a company soon. TRC: Who are your target beneficiaries? JOY BUNO: I believe that financial literacy is a need for all. Everyone has the right to be knowledgeable on matters to do with money and wealth generation. We all trade with money regardless of our social status and must therefore have exposure to financial knowledge. My target audience is everyone that is willing to listen, ask questions, learn and be open to discuss relevant topics. I am fortunate to have also mentored young people recently, sharing a lot of insights around financial literacy with them. TRC: Are there other initiatives you conduct to fulfill your passion for corporate social responsibility as a finance professional? JOY BUNO: Organisations do invite me to speak on financial literacy matters at a lot of their community engagement events. I have had the opportunity to address Botho University students at the invitation of the management and academia and have received an invitation from one leading corporate to speak to young girls that are writing their high school exams this year. This event brought with it great excitement for me as it was an opportunity to guide young lives in the right direction at the right time. I also run my company Palm Valley, where we offer spa services, events hosting and lodging. I employ young girls whom I never stop sharing my financial knowledge with as I believe I am grooming them for life beyond Palm Valley. It is important to me that they evolve into financially responsible citizens of Botswana, and I am humbled to have the opportunity to share my knowledge with them that nobody can ever take away from them. I would like to see them as financially responsible citizens one day and like they say, when you educate a man, you educate one person but when you educate a woman you educate the whole community.

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THE SUSTAINABLE SAFARI WITH NATURAL SELECTION

Large Mammal Migration Project and the Botswana Community Conservation Initiative aimed at facilitating movement of wildlife while reducing conflict with local communities and enabling a diversified, wildlife friendly local economy.

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NATURAL SELECTION

Uplifting and uniting the Local Communities with the Environment and through Wildlife Conservation

THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT

D

r. Jennifer Lalley, Director and Co-Founder of Natural Selection is an experienced conservation scientist who is skilled in sustainable development, biodiversity conservation and environmental awareness. Natural Selection, founded in 2015, was initially started as a conservation driven tourism company with intentions to raise funds for conservation and rural local communities who live in wildlife conservation areas. They then looked into different models of how to operate the company and choose the commercial model route for long term sustainability, focusing on eco-tourism to raise funds for the local community and conservation. With conservation at the heart of what drives Natural Selection as a business, they developed a model whereby they donate 1.5% of their revenue to their corporate social responsibility initiatives. That 1.5% in revenue contributions is still effective even during the Covid19 pandemic where most companies in the industry continue to face significant financial constraints. Natural Selection runs different programs in both Botswana and Namibia with their purpose being ‘to be a force in the protection of natural habitats and to provide characterful experiences that rekindle a deep love and care for Africa’s wild places.’ They look into developing long term portfolio projects that can benefit different stakeholders (the community, environment and the wildlife) in hopes of creating a ‘win-win’ situation for all. Natural Selection intends to keep their guests abreast of Africa’s triumphs, losses and continued challenges with the hope that they will inspire other wildlife-lovers to make a change and a difference for sustainable development. They have partnered with various stakeholders and the local community, government, conserva-

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Elephant Express buses safely transporting school children via an elephant corridor along the Okavango Delta panhandle

tion organizations and other tourism organizations, all of whom share the same sentiments, as a commitment to protecting Africa’s wild places. Some of their conservation and sustainable development initiatives and partnerships include the Botswana Community Conservation initiative, Etosha Rhino Heights Protection, Mereomaoto Village Outreach at Meno a Kwena, Desert Dwelling Giraffe Conservation, Khwai Village Outreach, Khwai Village Sustainable Grass Harvesting, The Desert Lion Early Warning Conflict Mitigation System, The Khomas Environmental Education Program, Mmogo Coexistence Programme and many more. “At Natural Selection, we aspire to minimize our footprint on the environment and to support local environmentally friendly enterprises, to blend into the environment by working with the environment and habitats we find there, to carefully manage and minimize waste, and that’s why we take the initiative to build our camps using local materials, recycled materials and renewable energy to create long term benefits for sustainability,” says Dr. Jennifer. Making a difference with the advent of COVID-19 Natural Selection still strives to make a difference even with the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic presents, especially for the tourism industry in which we operate in. The COVID-19 Village program was implemented to assist the vulnerable communities in remote areas of Africa who depend on tourism. This initiative transports food parcels to remote villages in Botswana and Namibia to improve nourishment of communities in the face of this unprecedented pandemic. Areas such as Gweta used to receive food security parcels, but following heavy rains, agricultural production has boomed in the area and Natural Selection is looking into creating a community liaison where local small scale agriculture feeds into the larger market including tour-

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NATURAL SELECTION

ism, creating economic diversity for the local community. North-west Namibia is also a beneficiary of the COVID-19 Village program where food security measures were implemented following severe draught in the area, which lead to loss of vegetation, livestock and loss of income for the community members. Additionally, the Feed-a-Child Program continues regardless of school closings and Natural Selection’s Elephant Express buses will be on the road in the northern Okavango Delta, assisting people with access to clinics via dangerous elephant corridors and with school transport as and when schools reopen. The Elephant Express buses are a result of the partnership Natural Selection has with Eco-Exist, a company which deals with human-wildlife conflicts, especially as it relates to elephants in the area. They donated 2 buses which carry school children and other local members in high risk areas where elephants are highly populated. Natural Selection also reaches out for public contributions to bolster resources via the Natural Selection Foundation and helps support the thousands of rural livelihoods that have been affected by the temporary closure of tourism camps during the Covid19 pandemic. “Although our mission is to make a difference in wildlife conservation and in the lives of people living sustainably alongside wildlife areas and wildlife conservation, our future plans also involve helping the local community in uplifting and diversifying their livelihoods for economic sustainability,” cites Dr. Jennifer.

Environmental education program in Moreomaoto Village.

THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT

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Ameera Khan Pathan talks “Perfectly Personalised” Power of philanthropy and helping support with issues affecting the underprivileged members of our communities

24-YEAR-OLD PHILANTHROPIST AND OWNER OF PERFECTLY PERSONALISED AND BOBA BUBBLE BOTSWANA ENTERPRISES AMEERA KHAN PATHAN, IS A CHAMPION BEHIND WHAT IS ARGUABLY SOME OF THE OF THE BEST INITIATIVES DRIVEN BY A YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR WHO DERIVED HER PHILANTHROPIC PASSION FROM HER FAMILY. THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN MAGAZINE CONNECTS WITH AMEERA TO LEARN MORE ON HER SMALL BUSINESS’ REMARKABLE MILESTONES, ALSO SHEDDING LIGHT ON ITS FAST-GROWING ACTIVITIES THAT ARE ON THE UPWARD TRAJECTORY TOWARDS SUSTAINABLE GROWTH AND IMPACTING BOTSWANA’S YOUNG WOMEN.

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AMEERA KHAN PATHAN

TRC: Ameera, do tell us a little about yourself, giving a brief summary of your business ventures. AKP: My name is Ameera K Pathan, I’m 24 years old and an individual who strives for better! “Perfectly Personalised” is a small business that I run, and carries out multiple forms of branding, from brand design on wood and metal to cloth as well glass and plastic. We were established in 2018 where our focus at the time was on t-shirt designs but have since expanded into printing on other materials. We are renowned for being a small business that provides good service and supplies high quality products at affordable prices. Everything is made locally, and in this way, we have been able to create employment opportunities for a handful of people through reselling of our branded goods. TRC: Can you shed light on some of the socially responsible work that Perfectly Personalised has carried out for local communities thus far? AKP: Perfectly Personalised Botswana has rolled out campaigns in partnership with Walk of Hope to raise funds for numerous individuals throughout Botswana. We focus our community investments on projects tied to education, entrepreneurship, community wealth and wellness, ensuring that our projects are sustainable such that communities benefit from them for quite some time. TRC: How has some of your work been impacted by the global pandemic? AKP: COVID-19 has brought with it much devastation particularly in the business community, with industries such as tourism being quite hard hit. While we are a small business, we have been fortunate enough to not be as impacted as other businesses. However, the current environment has reduced the amount of donations we receive due to individuals having to prioritise savings in order to stay afloat. We did however witness support from bigger businesses who came to our aid by helping us with feeding the needy and underprivileged individuals and families during the lockdowns. TRC: What is your motivation behind giving back to the community? AKP: From when I was young, my grandparents and parents always taught us to give back to the communities as it was a great deed. It is also an amazing thing that our Muslim religion has taught us to do as it shows the piety and the generosity of oneself. TRC: How sustainable are the CSI projects you align yourselves with? Do the communities that you assist value and appreciate the benevolence? AKP: As far as we’ve seen, we have received letters of appreciation as well as calls to thank us for all we

THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT

have done. We put smiles on children and adults’ faces whenever possible and that is enough for us to know that we are doing the right thing. TRC: The Government has been calling on the business community to create employment particularly aimed at reducing the youth unemployment and poverty as well. How is Perfectly Personalized contributing in this regard? AKP: To date, we have been assisting children in government schools with clothing, shoes and stationery where possible. We have also been helping teenage mothers during this pandemic as we have witnessed a rise in gender-based violence, an increase in rape cases and uneducated women who need assistance with a host of resources. We also have a Teen Mothers Project that will be coming up soon that seeks to provide assistance to these young women in multiple ways across Botswana. Perfectly Personalised is still a small yet growing business with no employees, however we do have resellers throughout Botswana which makes it easier for them to earn their own income by receiving prices at wholesale level with targets to meet for their own advancement. We have a long-standing commitment towards the bettering of the communities and environment in which it operates. We take pride in investing in communities. TRC: How have organizations or communities benefited from your companies Corporate Social Investment/ Responsibility initiatives? AKP: A lot of teen girls and ladies have benefitted with the sanitary wear project which we launched in 2018. We have also provided educational to places we have identified as having a need and continue to witness a positive change. We still however require more assistance from multiple companies to help us contribute towards the needed changes in this country through partnerships so that we change lives of young people locally. We have touchpoints across various parts of Botswana as well as some parts of other countries bordering Botswana. As mentioned, before we target underprivileged individuals and families as well as the old-aged individuals, and believe that to give to one person is to give to all. We are all family in some way or another and we pride ourselves with the ability to give back more. TRC: What is the relationship between you and Molepolole based Walk of Hope Botswana? AKP: The relationship between us and Walk of Hope is all empowering less privileged families and individual members of the community. A great part of our efforts lies in being assertive on the issue of child abuse and giving needed emotional and psychological support of the abused and their families too. I’m humbled to have been named one of Walk of Hope’s Ambassadors as I am one of their youngest donors.

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CAROLINE GARTLAND ON THE BIRTH OF SENSOBABY Creating a shared community for safe play between mothers and their children 34 |

THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT


SENSOBABY

Caroline has a degree in BA Honours degree in Psychology and MSc in Mental Health and Psychological Therapies. She further went on to conduct a post graduate study in Infant Mental Health and Developmental Play. “Having worked in a variety of settings including probation, drug units, working with refugees, children's homes and within communities, I discovered passion for play and wellbeing and so SensoBaby was created out of a desire to support parents through their journey, inspiring playful approaches to life along the way” she says. Today, Caroline runs Sensobaby alongside friend and business colleague Cheralize Scholtz, and together they work to provide children with the best start in life through a wide range of developmental play classes as well as workshops, trainings and events. SensoBaby classes aim to aid the development of babies’ gross and fine motor skills, speech, social and emotional skills, awareness of the world, and concentration needed for future learning. They also help with enhancing bonds between parents and their babies by offering workshops to help parents adapt to their new roles. The correlation between parenting and mental health Mental health is a vital aspect of virtuous parenting, and it is for this reason that SensoBaby creates a support system conducive for the wellbeing of families within the community. This is done through monthly meet ups called ‘Cuppa Love’; designed to give parents and guardians some well-deserved time out to relax, share experiences and educate them about enriching bonds with their children.

C

aroline Gartland currently runs Sensobaby with Cheralize Scholtz, a qualified Early Years Educator and Development Play Practitioner. The idea of founding Sensobaby came at a time when she was expecting her second bundle of joy. She was determined to raise her kids in a safe community that allowed for safe play and a place to share and offer support for effective childcare and parenting with others within the community. And so, the story of SensoBaby began … “I came to Botswana in 2010, was married here in 2011 and my children were born here,” says Caroline as she speaks on the beginning of the SensoBaby journey.

THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT

SensoBaby’s growing initiatives to help new mothers. They also work with ‘Thrive’ – an initiative that supports Princess Marina Hospital Oncology and Hematology ward by providing positive play activities for children in the ward. Part of SensoBaby’s contributions also involve volunteer training and providing gifts for the winter and Christmas seasons. The Breast-Feeding Café is an initiative that offers support to mothers with children in the Neonatal Care Unit at Princess Marina Hospital, also fundraising for breast pumps and providing guidance and counseling on breastfeeding. The café allows for a safe, quiet and comfortable stress-free environment for mothers to feed and express their breast milk. An additional key beneficiary of SensoBaby’s CSR initiatives is Stepping Stones International, a Mochudi based charity, where the organization offers training support to Stepping Stones’ International on Infant Mental Health, Early Childhood Development and family wellbeing and more. SensoBaby is on course to running initiatives to provide support to Hannah Bee, organization that raises awareness on Cerebral Palsy. Caroline Gartland in her role as Director works effortlessly to help others triumph their full potential, focusing her attention on children and families from different backgrounds, championing activations that create shared spaces for learning, development and holistic growth for parents and their children.

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BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT

Meet Lindiwe Modise of Green Loop Botswana

- IMPACT FOR TOMORROW’S GENERATIONS

Driving the mission to spearhead sustainable developmental change for the future.

THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT


GREEN LOOP BOTSWANA

L

indiwe Modise is the founder of Green Loop BW, also acting as the Chief Environmentalist and Sustainability Specialist for the company. She holds an MSc Environmental Safety and Management in the Sphere of Environmental Protection and a BSc. Microbiology from Kazan Federal University, Kazan, Russia. Lindiwe seeks opportunities in projects concerning climate investment, renewable investment, financial and environmental risk mitigation and measures taken to rehabilitate and protect the environment. “Green Loop BW was established after observing Botswana as a nation’s minimal knowledge on sustainable environmental practices, especially concerning amounts of pollution and stores still using plastic as packaging or other non-biodegradable & non-ecofriendly products,” says Lindiwe, when asked what the thrust for founding the organization was. “We aim to combat the environmental challenges Botswana faces and specialise in ‘environomics’ which promotes sustainable environmental and economic models (responsible investment (RI)) for organizations and biodegradable products for the benefit of the ecosystem, human health and long-term profits,” she adds. Green Loop BW targets a wide range of clientele in various industries by providing environmental impact assessments, green rating of buildings, renewable energy solutions, biodegradable packaging, environmental social management systems (ESMSs), sorting-collecting-recycling (SCR) services and environmental social governance (ESG) practices. The organization aligns its principles to the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals through their services and is a member of the Botswana’s Practitioners Association (BEAPA). Green Loop BW also seeks innovative ways to protect the environment by upholding socioeconomic sustainability, distributing biodegradable packaging nationwide, conducting research and providing quality assurance. “We believe that the field of environmental management, its social governance and sustainable development is of vital importance to the mitigation of financial risks. This is why Green Loop BW aspires to partner with audit firms and other financial institutions to create awareness, educate and implement sustainable frameworks for financial institutions such as banks or loan facilities to contribute to the ‘zero waste society’ by ensuring that comprehensive environmental impact assessments are effectively conducted and that sound environmental, social and governance principles are followed by various businesses before they get any form of funding from these key financial institutions,” Lindiwe shares. Leveraging her role as Chief Environmentalist and Sustainability Specialist, Lindiwe has in the past written informative articles for the Weekly Post Magazine, these articles of which were aimed at raising awareness on environmental sustainability and advocating for a ‘zero waste’ society in Botswana. Lindiwe concludes by stating that support for green sectors and innovation is crucial, and there is a need for green investments in areas such as renewable energy and waste management. THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT

“Given sufficient political will, collaboration, commitment and a sense of solidarity, ‘going green’ is possible and sustainable for the future generations. I am optimistic that Botswana will become a nation that is aware of the importance of environmental sustainability, socioeconomic sustainability and that Green Loop BW will continue to thrive and expand as a green growth-oriented company,” she adds.

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BOTSWANA LIFE

BOTSWANA LIFE ON 45 YEARS into legacy creation for tomorrow’s generations Botswana Life Insurance Limited (Botswana Life) is Botswana’s oldest and only home-grown life insurer. Established in 1975, Botswana Life has a proud 45-year history and is a subsidiary of the renowned Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) listed Botswana Insurance Holdings Limited (BIHL) Group. As an icon in Botswana, Botswana Life has become synonymous with life insurance in the country and as a trusted partner to Batswana.

“W

e provide financial solutions that make a positive difference in the lives of our customers and employees,” cites Mr. Gabriel Tlagae, PR, Communications and Marketing Manager for Botswana Life Insurance Limited. “We are committed to creating a world where everyone is financially secure and can live in confidence that we have them covered, and we play out part in this by providing long-term insurance solutions for individuals and groups, such as life insurance, retirement annuities and investment policies,” he adds. Botswana Life’s estimated market share of over 69% has been built over time through hard work, resilience and with a keen interest in sustainability. Botswana Life plays a strong role in driving socio-economic prosperity in Botswana. The company’s investment in Botswana’s economy over the last 45 years is proportionate with its size and success, and is demonstrated through various projects including property developments, the holding of Government and corporate bonds which exceed P5 billion. The bonds represent loans to businesses in Botswana, which are facilitating the growth of private businesses as well as job creation, infrastructure development and many other economic activities. Their Corporate Social Responsibility framework aims to align with engagements with the communities they operate in. “Working with the BIHL Trust and through in-depth research, we realign the objectives and indeed the CSR framework based on areas that need assistance within the country, as an under base, financial and risk inclusion for Botswana and Batswana always being the core,” states Tlagae

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THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT


BOTSWANA LIFE

45-year history, legacy creation for tomorrow’s generations Botswana Life is proud of its heritage in Botswana and will always be a Botswana company, owned by Batswana and managed by Batswana, as it creates wealth for Batswana. That is why the company also has a strong stance on community development through its Corporate Social Investment program where it contributes 1% of its profit after tax to BIHL Trust annually, to enable these projects to be undertaken. Since inception of the Trust in 2008, Botswana Life has contributed P11.3million to the Trust to enable its mandate. Some of the major CSI projects it has undertaken, under the banner of BIHL Trust include a P2,1 million investment in the construction of a multi-purpose hall for Gamodubu Child Care Trust; over P600,000 on the construction of a school library for Kuke Primary School; P450, 000 towards post-graduate studies for six (6) beneficiaries of the Thomas Tlou Scholarship in 2013 as well as donation of P1,2million to Maru-a-Pula School’s Orphans and Vulnerable Children program. These projects are just some of the many implemented under the CSI program since it was put in place. Botswana Life’s commitment to driving its message Botswana Life is currently running a financial advisory angled show the ‘Money Life’ which airs every Tuesday from 1330hrs1400hrs on RB2. Money Life is a platform designed to empower Batswana on insurance and financial matters in an effort to help them secure their futures. “As a leading insurer, with a future-forward outlook, we constantly seek new and innovative ways to provide sound financial advisory that makes a meaningful difference where it matters most. Every weekly episode is built to address the needs and concerns of Batswana as they navigate through their life journeys, and this is vital especially with the economic challenges brought forth by the Covid-19 pandemic,” cites Tlagae. Our unwavering commitment to being a true partner to Batswana remains a core focus of all that we do,” he stages.

THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT

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THE BULB WORLD

THE BULB WORLD’S LESEDI KE MPHO CAMPAIGN ENHANCES LIGHTING IN BOARDING SCHOOLS Innovative initiative seeks to contribute towards the wellbeing of students by addressing lighting deficits in school campuses

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THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT


THE BULB WORLD

S

elebi Phikwe based innovative bulb manufacturing company, The Bulb World recently embarked on a nationwide campaign partnering with secondary boarding schools to help them with enhancing their lighting. The company’s Public Relations and Communications Manager Nondwe Ngcongco weighs in on this initiative… TRC: Tell us about yourself and The Bulb World Company NN: My name is Nondwe Ngcongco, and I oversee the Public Relations and Communications department at The Bulb World. The Bulb World is an LED manufacturing company based in Selibe-Phikwe. We produce a variety of different lighting for both interior and exterior use. TRC: What are the CSR initiatives that the company has in place? NN: Our CSR initiative is called ‘Lesedi ke Mpho’, which is a nation-wide campaign where we partner with secondary boarding schools to help them with enhancing all their lighting. This project came about after we realized that various

THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT

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THE BULB WORLD

boarding schools had lighting deficits that were making it difficult for boarding students to be able to study and maintain a high motivation in relation to their studying and education. So, we launched Lesedi Ke Mpho to help and motivate the next generation through advanced lighting within their current infrastructure. As a start-up brand that has hired an army of 65 youth candidates, it comes as no surprise that we have a soft spot for the youth and through Lesedi Ke Mpho, we are able to create impact from the grass roots level. TRC: Which have been the most notable CSI activities The Bulb World has been involved in since inception? NN: In addition to the provision of lighting through Lesedi ke Mpho, we also do a round of motivational talks to inspire the students as well as running an interhouse competition where the winner is awarded an internship with our organization to give them real-life job experience.

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TRC: How sustainable are the CSR projects you align yourselves with? NN: We believe Lesedi Ke Mpho is sustainable in that our lighting is LED. As you know, the world is moving towards LED lighting and away from compact fluorescents (CFL). This subsequently results businesses and domestic premises spending less on maintenance fees and saving more electricity. TRC: What impact has the COVID-19 pandemic had on The Bulb World? NN: We have been so fortunate in that our CSR initiative happens to be directly aligned with our operational objectives. Homesteads and businesses need light bulbs and so we have been able to maintain decent levels of production. What has been adversely impacted is the uptake of the project from corporates we sought to partner with, and this is because most marketing budgets have been cut due to COVID-19. Every entity is trying to be cost efficient and so this typically results in

THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT


delays especially during such challenging operating environments. TRC: The Company expanded into the South African market recently. Will CSR initiatives also extend to SA? NN: That is the plan. The Lesedi Ke Mpho initiative is one we plan to roll out to every single region that we operate in. We are extremely passionate about playing a part in providing solutions to problems that affect our communities. It is important to us that we are impactful in every market we operate. TRC: How is your business committed to improving lives in the Selebi-Phikwe region? NN: Selebi-Phikwe will always be a special place to Mr. Jacob, the founder of The Bulb World. He was born and raised there and so it came naturally for him to set up the plant in Selebi-Phikwe to create a difference in his hometown area. So far, we have created around 40 jobs in the region, and when the new hires joined the business, we trained all of them into semi-skilled workers through our international partners and with the guidance of Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS). TRC: What sectors of economy does The Bulb World CSR initiatives target? NN: We are extremely passionate about the youth and education. We believe in the youth because we feel they are the next generation and as a youth owned and youth run business, it comes as no surprise that we have taken a keen interest in the development of youth as it relates to their educational process and skills training. Education is also an integral part of every person’s life and at The Bulb World we pride ourselves in wanting to help nurture our children’s education from their formative years right through to secondary school, and this is apparent with projects like Lesedi Ke Mpho.

THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT

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THE QUEST TO GIVE BACK KNOWLEDGE TO COMMUNITIES Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is largely about companies playing their part in contributing towards the development of society through supporting worthy causes. And so, as part of their recent 10-year anniversary celebrations, leading local research and consultancy firm I-Six Logistics Training & Research Consultants Botswana put CSR initiatives at the center of commemorating their milestone by giving back knowledge to communities through a variety of workshops.

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THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT


I-SIX LOGISTICS TRAINING & RESEARCH CONSULTANTS

T

he company’s CSR programming is centered on giving back knowledge through hosting seminars in critical areas such as business strategy to aid capacity building for businesses under the banner “Growing Together – Giving back to the Community.” A home-grown company, I-Six Logistics Training & Research Consultants Botswana was founded in May 2010 and today, specialises in Research, Training and Human Capital Development for both management and technical skills. “We recently celebrated 10 significant years in business, and this milestone means a lot to us as a company dedicated to providing knowledge-sharing opportunities in communities not only in Botswana, but beyond our nation’s borders,” stated the company’s Managing Director Tlhaloganyo Kaisara. “We are a research and knowledge-based business, dedicated to giving back to communities through our line-up of services, leveraging our experience in training Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and civil society on research, evaluation and monitoring. Our 10 years of success reflects in the work we do within our communities,” he said. Though the company carries the title “logistics” as part of its name, they do not provide logistical services such as the movement of goods, but their mandate is rather about helping cultivate performance-oriented organisations by aiding clients with identifying efficiencies that facilitate sustainable growth. In celebrating having reached a decade in business. I-Six Logistics Training & Research Consultants Botswana ac-

THE RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN | BUSINESS • COMMUNITY • IMPACT

knowledges that its success is credited to buoyancy derived from its pro-bono initiatives. The company delivered some key seminars, focused on business strategy in an era of COVID-19, anchored by teachings from Professor Jaloni Pansira. An emotional intelligence expert, Pangaman Kaisara, also presided over a seminar aimed at addressing Gender Based Violence (GBV), which registered an increase in the number of cases following the instituted nationwide lockdowns. Other experts included Tumi Modise and Tefo Phatshwane who also unpacked a seminar on alternative communication and how to continue doing business effectively during COVID-19. Engaging the community and beyond The organisation has since the onset of the global pandemic, also donated food and COVID-19 materials including Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and hand sanitizers to Camphill Community Trust in Otse village, with more organisations in need of support being identified. Some of the company’s notable initiatives also include training Tutume McConnel Community Staff College on Leadership and Emotional Intelligence, Microsoft training for Maitengwe Primary School teachers, offering financial support to Maitengwe Community and supporting the Kutamoguree Primary School prize giving ceremony to mention but just a few. Some of the countries that I-Six Logistics Training & Research Consultants Botswana enjoys an exhaustive client portfolio in beyond Botswana include Zambia, South Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Lesotho in Africa, as well as reaching overseas markets.

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