MAUN ÔÇô The Botswana National Youth Council’s subsidiary – Sechaba Youth Agricultural Enterprises will for the next four years benefit from United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) through an incubation and innovation project.
The information was unveiled at the commencement of a three day strategy workshop in Maun by the UNDP Project Manager Christopher Batsalelwang.
Batsalelwang stated that UNDP felt compelled to support Sechaba as it is also an innovation that is supported by government.
He noted that the intention is to pull all available resources and devise a new strategy to help it stand on its own, considering that it will in a way work as a youth empowerment tool.
“As UNDP our intention is to look at and support strategic issues that are long term. We have a support development programme, and the agriculture sector is one of those that we will be supporting through Sechaba”, he said.
Having started operations in 1998, Sechaba is said to have suffered a serious blow just a few years later as there was no proper guidance, leading to management deciding to halt operations to allow for a restructuring exercise.
Chief Programs officer at Botswana National Youth Council (BNYC) Emang Seabo said as a result of the past experience, the government now wants to resuscitate the establishment as an incubator so that it continues training and offering skils in the Agriculture sector. “We want the youth to embark on food production or even start their own enterprises. Therefore we want stakeholders as well as people from different sectors of agriculture to come on board and ensure the success of this project because we don’t want Sechaba to close shop again, hence the new strategy” said Seabo.
For his part BNYC board member Tshenolo Palai highlighted that the project has a lot to offer the youth and give them opportune time to be self reliant and not rely on white collar jobs as it is currently the case with many out of school youth. He said they are going to look at rural areas in search for mass land that can be used for agricultural projects for commercial gain. “There has been realization that a good number of youth are so passionate about increasing food security locally, which is why we want to help government reduce dependence on foreign produce. These are the people we would very much like to empower, and so we are more than delighted that UND has stepped in to offer the much needed assistance”, said Palai, adding that much focus will be on the youth as they still have all the energy to engage in projects meant to empower them. Once in full operation which is expected soon, Sechaba will train youth on various disciplines such as bee keeping, piggery, and horticulture, to mention but a few.