Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Ba Isago, Kellog move to empower San community

Capacity building programmes equipping the minority San of the D’kar Community in the Ghanzi District initiated jointly between Ba Isago University College and Kellogg Foundation in 2010 will reduce their ingrained donor-driven dependence syndrome.

Ever since the majority of donors’ migration from Botswana when it qualified for middle income rating towards the turn of the new millennium to lesser developed countries, government has experienced a mammoth task of improving livelihoods of marginalized rural-based communities such as the San through livelihood skills empowerment programmes.

However, given a limited budget, government needs civil society and other stakeholder interventions to make the positive difference in the wake of unshakeable donor-dependence syndrome.

According to Ba Isago Managing Director Odirile Gabasiane, as a result of targeted funding from the BA Isago/Kellogg Foundation smart partnership, the short-duration community-based training was divided into three project-focus-youth development programmes involving building economic self sufficiency, promoting healthy lifestyles, forging good family and social relationships, HIV/AIDS and productive health oriented safe sexual behavioural practices.

Promoting youth engagement and encouraging them to play meaningful roles in their respective communities, comprised part of the training.

Giving opening remarks during the Certificate Award Ceremony for Capacity Building Workshops in D’kar, Ghanzi on recently, Gabasiane told the tumultuous gathering hosted in the Reformed Church facilities the Capacity Building Workshops enabled Batswana dominated leadership including traditional, elected and other rural community incumbents to develop skills and facilitate informed involvement aimed at enhancing a self-driven mindset. Furthermore, Ba Isago and Kellogg Foundation fully subscribe to the need for an indigenous leadership system that those most vulnerable in society must have a voice and should be heard.

“The process of accepting new ideas particularly in the remote D’kar Community, where residence developed a donor dependence syndrome, depends on building their capacity to find workable solutions and eliminate the reliance on donors. And again, take up the challenges of planning their future, and where possible use local resources and solutions to their benefit.

“The people of D’kar have committed themselves to new project initiative because of the training they received and bitter memories from projects that have failed. Members of the D’kar Church Council and D’kar Board Community wanted to be part of the capacity building programme because they realized the value of working closely with the youth, traditional and informal labour complement of D’kar. Notwithstanding, the role of women was more defined because they attend more workshops than their male counterparts, even though they needed a translator because of lack of formal education.”

The MD said Ba Isago paid P40 000 to the Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) for a reconnection of electricity to show common solidarity. A concurrent vegetable garden project which supplied Ghanzi shops and supermarkets earned substantial revenue for the participants. Furthermore, the furniture including other household effects used during the entire process was donated to an orphanage in D’kar on completion o the training programme.

The Deputy Ghanzi District Commissioner Leah Mundia said the outstanding achievements and successes as a result of the Ba Isago/Kellogg Foundation partnership opened doors for crucial capacity building in D’kar. In turn, certificate award recipients invested time and effort to attend traditional and youth leadership workshops.

Mundia said: “During 2010, Kellogg Foundation Project Director Dr. Morgan Chawawa implemented in D’kar mid-term project evaluation, community mobilization to attend workshops on introduction to Entrepreneurship, Small Business Management, Business Plan Formulation, Working with Ghanzi Government Departments, Bookkeeping for Small Businesses, Commercial Gardening & Poultry Management, Principles of Business Management, Tourism Business Opportunities, Customer Care & Marketing, Project Management, Restaurant & Hotel Management add Cooperative Management.

“The project attracted interest of University of Botswana scholars who have seen it as a model for showcasing fulfillment of the University’s Third Mission in Botswana. We are also reminded of waging a relentless war against poverty in line with Vision 2016 goals of: A Just & Caring Nation. We express sincere appreciation to the Reformed Church Council for cooperation during the implementation phase.”

D’kar Reformed Church Council elder James Morris commended the Ba Isago/Kellogg Foundation partnership for implementing the programme meticulously from 2010 to February 2012. The D’kar Community will experience positive growth effects as a result of the capacity building workshops.


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