There is a popular belief that politicians are liars and selfish individuals who only care about their own welfare rather than the plight of their voters. Former mayor of Francistown and Satellite South councillor, Billy Buti, seems intent on proving that notion wrong.
Buti has embarked on a sponsorship programme which he initiated in 2011 to try and empower the youth with business skills.
The main objective of the programme is to prepare the unemployed youth for the job markets and help them start their own businesses. The students are sponsored to pursue various short business courses ranging from financial accounting, Information Systems, Human Resource Management and Security Management.
On Friday last week, 64 youths who were sponsored under the programme graduated from the Centre for Business and Secretarial Training (CBST), a business school in Francistown.
In an interview with the Sunday Standard , Buti said that he initiated the sponsorship programme in 2011 after realizing that there was a lot of unemployed youths loitering in the streets and doing nothing to improve their lives.
“I realized there is a need to empower the youth with business skills so that they can start their own businesses and contribute to the economy. If the youth are empowered with business skills, they can easily access government programmes such as the youth grants and even CEDA. From 2011 up to now I have sponsored 94 youths. Some of the youths have already been absorbed by the job markets and some have started their own businesses,” he said.
Buti who will be contesting for the Francistown East Constituency against Phandu Skelemani in the 2014 general elections, said that the sponsorship programme is not a political stunt as some may believe.
“Some people might view this initiative as a political stunt but it is not. Giving to the underprivileged and the needy has always formed part of my personality before I had any political ambitions. Before I joined politics I used to sponsor a football team in my area,” he said.
On how he raises the funds for the sponsorship, he said that he uses part of his personal funds and partly gets assistance from the business community in Francistown. He said that he always approaches the business community to solicit funds.
“The business community is responding very well to my initiative. I would love to urge them to continue with the spirit. The government cannot afford to eradicate poverty without the input of the business community,” he said.
In conclusion, he said that his office in Satellite South location is always open and urged the unemployed youth to take advantage of his programme. He said that the programme targets those who are not working ranging from those who hold Junior Certificates and Senior Secondary School certificates.
“As long as there are enough funds, I am going to continue and help the youth because they are the future of this country. I was once a youth and I understand most of the challenges that they are facing,” he said.