Friday, October 23, 2020

Partnership between Barclays and Stepping Stones benefits youth empowerment

The success of the long standing partnership between Stepping Stones International and Barclays Bank of Botswana has been attributed to sufficient financial support and impeccable implementation, which in the end bore fruitful results for all stakeholders.

Stepping Stones International opened its doors in Botswana in 2006 and started receiving support from Barclays Bank Botswana two years later in 2008; which enabled it to provide youth with financial and entrepreneurship training.

Stepping Stones International is a Non-Governmental Organisation which designs programs that combine life skills, leadership training, psychosocial support and community mobilisation. The program primarily deals with youth aged between 12 and 25 years, enabling them to heal from their past encounters in order to have a brighter future.

The first project under the partnership was a vegetable garden in Mochudi, which birthed four other self sustainable projects. Another commendable project is the Aflotoun Program, which Stepping Stones described as a social and financial literacy program that seeks to develop young people in five core areas; their rights and responsibilities, saving, planning, budgeting and social as well as financial enterprise.  Stepping Stones International is the country representative for Aflatoun and has over the years delivered the program to 20 schools across the country with the assistance of Barclays.

Not to be left out in the fight against HIV-Aids, Stepping Stones and Barclays, together with United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF) developed the innovative educational tool ‘Teach Aids.’ The partners invested funds in the localisation of the program’s materials which were initially produced for India. The ‘Teach AIDS’ program is currently available in both English and Setswana and its facilitators have roped in local music and media personalities to make it more appealing to the youth. Through this program a total of 5, 000 CDs have been produced and distributed across the country. The ‘Teach AIDS’ program is an animation tool which works alongside a detailed educational manual designed for the trainers, teachers and instructors. This package has also been made available online and can be used by other social and community groups to address the HIV and AIDS problem.

Says Barclays Bank: “We have had an opportunity to interact with the youth, caretakers and staff of Stepping Stones International, sharing their skills, time and labour where required. We have watched the young people grow up into responsible young people and pride ourselves in knowing that we have been part of their growth and development. Our ambition is to see many more young people benefit from the programs that SSI has to offer and will continue to nurture our relationship over the coming years.”

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