The U.S embassy has been allocating grants to various community projects every year in order to improve the basic economic and social conditions at community level. Since 2000, the U.S embassy has granted over approximately P14 million to support community-based projects throughout Botswana.
As a way of cementing its commitment, the U.S Embassy this past Thursday gave over P1.6 milliojn in grants to support community based projects across Botswana. “From Kazungula to Francistown, Lobatse, Dukwi to Kanye your work makes a huge difference. You take care of orphans and vulnerable children, providing them a safe place to learn and develop. You create peer spaces for teenagers to support each other and learn to take control of their health,” said US Ambassador to Botswana Earl Miller at the Embassy on Thursday morning during this year’s grant signing ceremony where he gave over P1.6 million in small grants to support community based projects across the country. Miller said his Embassy gives preference to projects that align with US priorities in Botswana such as Community-based natural resource management, economic diversification including small business creation and income generating activities, social services to assist vulnerable children and people living with HIV/AIDS and youth development in general. The grant recipients included among others Rerotlhe Care Center Trust in Seherelela, Skillshare International Botswana in Dukwi, Tebelopele in Kasane, Trust for Community Initiatives in Francistown and Young 1ove in Gaborone.
“The US Embassy currently has two small grants programs namely The Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Fund and The US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) grants,” explained Information Specialist at US Embassy Ephraim Keoreng. He said the Ambassador’s Special Self Help Fund seeks to assist small-scale community development projects aimed at improving basic economic or social conditions at community level. He said the projects must include significant community contribution and or involvement and lead to ongoing self-sustaining activities. “Recipient organisations must demonstrate their commitment by either contributing to the project financially, or providing labour or supplies to carry out the project,” said Keoreng.
Keoreng said PEPFAR is the US Government’s initiative to control the HIV/AIDS pandemic and seeks to assist countries in achieving epidemic control and an AIDS-free generation. He said the historic commitment is the largest by any nation to combat a single disease internationally. “Projects funded under this program are required to have a direct beneficiary impact in their local community and in turn have community support in the form of money, labour and or other services,” he explained. Keoreng said projects must be able to establish clear performance goals, indicators and timely project deliverables that can be externally verified. “The project should have a long-term impact in the community. Once the grant is over it must be able to continue on its own or with forthcoming help from the community and or other donors. Grants can be anything from P50 000 to P250 000,” he continued.
Miller said whenever he travels through Botswana; he is always impressed and moved by the people taking it upon themselves to care for their neighbours with no expectation of reward. “The United States is Botswana’s strongest development partner, and our small grants program demonstrates our commitment to help some of these extraordinary people like the heroes and heroines in this room today. I am honoured to be here with you to uplift these projects that will make such a difference in your communities. I cannot wait to visit you all and see what you will surely accomplish,” said Miller. He said he would love to visit all the projects to see how they are all doing and promised to do so before the end of the year.