Barclays Bank Botswana, along with Habitat for Humanity Botswana and the United Nations Development Programme, transformed the landscape of Moshaneng village, erecting 32 unit houses for 30 most needy families.
The houses, worth over P1m, were unveiled and commissioned by the Corporate Managing Director, Wifred Mpai, last Wednesday.
“Together, as different corporate entities, we found it plausible that we engage each other to assist where possible thereby walking in tandem with government’s initiative of poverty reduction and eventual eradication of this tragedy,” said Mpai at the occasion to mark the commemoration project, saying the initiative was not the first of its kind as his institution has, in the past, spearheaded similar projects.
Moshaneng, just a few kilometres from Kanye, and with a population of little over 1000 people, is a far cry from the Bangwaketse capital city with few isolated modern corrugated houses, which include a primary school and kgotla facilities while the remaining are makeshift mud huts.
Added to this plight, is the village’s very low economic status with the majority of the people depending on temporary jobs for survival since the closure of the “Pioneer Quarries”- a local community project which used to employ a large number of Moshaneng members but which cut down due to financial problems.
Worse still, the community has a convincing number of orphans and destitutes, most of whom needing a lot of attention that never comes their way.
Against this backdrop, Barclays selected the village to do their part in uplifting the lives of the local people.
Mpai, however, politely indicated that Barclays was not spurred by President Khama’s clarion call that companies come to the rescue of the poor, insisting that Barclays started assisting people long back before the alarm was raised.
“Yes the President’s call was very important to spur most us into action but people should know that Barclays had long started these similar noble exercises,” he said.
Convinced that the government could not do much to assist the populace on its own, president Khama called for the private sector to extend an olive branch to the underprivileged, sheltering them where necessary.
“We selected Moshaneng because we found it more deserving,” Mpai further said, adding that “as corporate companies we had to start somewhere”.
Whilst Habitat for Humanity was responsible for implementation of the project, purchasing construction materials and community mobilization, UNDP installed solar panels, to provide power and light, making life a little smoother for the beneficiaries.
“Environmentally friendly and small as it may be, the investment will go a long way in alleviating the misery in the affected families,” Khin-Sandi Lwin, UNDP representative, added, referring to the solar project, which immediately gained Moshaneng Village the nickname “Airport” because of the lights that now illuminate the area.