Botswana is the only country in Southern Africa to bring home two awards from the Africa and Middle Eastern Junior Chambers International (JCI) conference.
The conference, which was held in Nigeria last week, ran from the 11-16 May.
Botswana won the award for Best publications and for Best Public Relations. Most of the awards for Africa were reportedly scooped by Mali, the next country expected to host the next Africa and Middle Eastern conference.
JCI Botswana has announced its wishes to host the conference in the year 2013 and has been strategising on getting support from different governmental departments and parastatals. ┬á┬á┬á┬á
Botswana had sent three delegates to represent the local branch; amongst them was Executive vice president for Africa and Middle Eastern countries, Joseph Phenyo.
Phenyo said that the conclusion reached at the end of the conference for all member countries, especially those in Africa was that there was a great need to increase the youth membership of their branches.
In Africa and the Middle East there are 16 000 members of JCI, which they feel should be increased.
The conclusion was reached on the basis that worldwide JCI membership is at 170 000 members while the international body is targeting attracting 300 000 in the five year plan. ┬á┬á
“We as JCI Botswana will therefore be strategizing ways of increasing our membership through extensive marketing of our organisation through the media and other forums. We want to make sure we meet the targeted 10 percent growth of individual countries membership,” said Phenyo.
Phenyo said that the issues discussed at the conference proved that African countries still have a long way to go in areas of addressing issues of poverty and unemployment amongst the youth.
He said that the numerous workshops and trainings offered at the workshop were motivating and educational for members who were present.
His only regret is that JCI Botswana couldn’t manage to fund more of its members to attend the conference.
Phenyo, who was also there as chairman of the conference, said that the initial purpose of the conference is for African and Middle Eastern countries to examine their branch progress and discuss the way forward.
The vice president told the Sunday Standard that he believed that JCI Botswana was ready to host the 2013 conference.
He said that had it not been for minor setbacks, JCI Botswana would have made a bid to host the 2012 conference.
Phenyo said that the local branch had spent most of 2010 canvassing for government’ s support, so far they have pocketed the support of the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Botswana National Youth Council (BNYC ), and BEDIA, amongst other stakeholders.
“We are staging the bid next year in Mali because bids to host the conference have to be made two years in advance. We are seeking the support of government and stakeholders because we understand that to host an event of that nature we need a lot of hands,” said Phenyo.