Thirty-seven volunteers complete tour of duty, leaving Botswana
by Zeph Kajevu
International Citizen Service (ICS) volunteers working hand-in-hand with SkillShare International are leaving Botswana after engaging in projects, ranging from poverty alleviation to HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness on completion of assignments, says the ICS co-ordinator Nikita Holmes.
Speaking to The Telegraph in Botswana last week prior to their departure, Holmes said the aim of the projects ICS volunteers have been working on is designed to bring about lasting change.
According to the UK-based co-ordinator, ICS global volunteering experience was designed to increase incumbents’ understanding and experience of the developing world countries, such as Botswana. She explained that although the ICS programme will no longer be running with SkillShare International, the volunteers that have visited Botswana may, at a later date when they feel like, enjoy the option to return and continue the work that they and SkillShare have started.
Expressing gratitude for the opportunity of working in Botswana with a track record of political democracy and good governance, Holmes said: “The ICS programme has been run under SkillShare International whose vision is of a world without poverty, injustice and inequality; where people, regardless of cultural, social and political divides, come together for mutual benefit, living in peaceful co-existence. SkillShare international Botswana volunteers have spent three months working on projects over a 12-month period, although team leaders and the County Officer Volunteer (COV) have been able to spend a longer period of time in Botswana.”
The projects were spread across Botswana, with the volunteers running them from Gaborone alongside volunteers who had previously worked on various projects, including supporting the retreats and helping write the Ikago Report for the Molepolole juvenile correctional centre.
Volunteers also worked with the Hope Mission project in Boka Village, Kgatleng District, involving building a playground and setting up extracurricular art classes. The volunteers also managed to help the Mission get support from the British High Commission.
Similar projects also took place within the Kgalakgadi District, developing remote villages, such as Kang. This involved supporting the community and registering the pre-school, which supports the vulnerable and Basarwa children.
Furthermore, the volunteers organised a monumental event tackling teenage pregnancy and involving nearly 3 000 people with support of the local community and the British High Commission.
She said the volunteers were also placed in Ghanzi and neighbouring locations where they worked with the Kuru Development Trust on various projects, including the Ghanzi Craft Program and helping to create the development trust on sensitive issues relating to TB and HIV/AIDS awareness, prevention and treatment. And as far as the tourism capital Maun, were volunteers worked with Women Against Rape (WAR) and the Botswana Network for People living with HIV/AIDS (BONEPWA) and embarked on various tasks, which included but not limited to organising a Family Fun Day to raise funds for BONEPWA and building a shelter for meetings and organising an interschool talent competition.
“The programs that the 37 volunteers have worked on have developed and so have the volunteers themselves. Therefore, an enormous gratitude needs to go to the ICS programme and SkillShare International Botswana, especially to the Country Programme Officer, Bakoetse Tsiane, and Programme Assistant Wairimu Gachunghi, not forgetting existing development workers for running the whole pilot scheme for one year. SkillShare International Botswana, which has been running since January 1990, has been a highly professional organisation that has increased development and assisted collaborating counterparts to reach their goals, whilst working closely with communities to create better understanding and links between the UK and Botswana,” Holmes said.