Batswana should not rest until they have committed themselves to taking on the challenges of poverty eradication, says Vice President Lt. General Mompati Merafhe, adding that it would help in them achieving dignified and sustainable lives.
Merafhe said this as he launched the poverty eradication programme and guidelines in Tlokweng on Thursday. He highlighted that the policy shift from poverty alleviation to poverty eradication was pronounced by President Ian Khama in October 2009.
He stated that the roadmap for poverty eradication was presented, discussed and approved with some modifications in 2010 in Mahalapye Village by President Khama.
Merafhe observed that the previous poverty pitso in Mahalapye was best addressed locally as each locality has its own positive characteristics which, if harnessed, can assist in developing robust localized programmes and projects that can aid in the eradication of poverty.
“Under phase one, the programmes extended to 30 constituencies, 319 backyard projects have been completed and 592 are under construction,” he revealed.
He said many families will be able to generate income of about P2000 to P5000 a month from selling their produce, depending on crops planted. He revealed that the Central Statistics Office states that a family of four is said to be living below the poverty datum line if its monthly income is less than P879 a month. He said many Batswana would be able to step out of poverty. He further said there is need to celebrate the rollout of the projects and to witness the bearing of fruits of the programme.
“About 2894 Batswana have been identified for training on the alternative packages and P21 million has already been disbursed to districts to set up projects for those who have been trained,” said Merafhe.
According to the Vice President, poverty eradication guidelines are a synthesis of data collected from dipitso, kgotla meetings, full council meetings and media talk shows. He also revealed the objectives of the guidelines which are to aid all stakeholders to understand the underlying principles of the poverty eradication programme. Also to ensure that there is a common platform for implementers across the country, to provide valuable information to the beneficiaries for them to make informed decisions in selection and management of the projects.
“We are not shooting in the dark, and the importance of the issue is great, as it is about uplifting the lives of our fellow beings,” he said.
Kgosi Puso Gaborone of Batlokwa also appreciated the presence of the village exhibitors for the products and services from the area and urged them to continue the journey out of poverty.