The European Union has availed over 4 million pula to Botswana Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and deserving impactful non state actors. The funding is availed under the Empowerment of Non State Actors Programme in partnership with the Ministry of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs.
Speaking at the unveiling of the grants, Minister of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs, Edwin Batshu, explained that the organizations to benefit from the funding will be those screened against a transparent and fair process. The aim is to select NGOs with clear proposals to best benefit their targeted groups.
“Only the NGOs with projects proposals that ensure more impact on the lives for their clients will receive a share from the grant,” he said. According to Batshu who is also the Member of Parliament for Nkange, the NGO Council in Botswana has developed a strategic framework for the Civil Societies Fund in which it intends to mobilize financial resources, provide funding to CSO’s and promote activities designed to facilitate the engagement of civil based organizations and NGO as partners with government on national development programs.
“I am happy that this funding comes at a time when the national NGO council is succeeding in developing strategic framework to engage the government and non state actors towards working on national impactful projects,” he said. A total of 9 beneficiaries is said to have already received grants, amongst them is Khama Rhino Sanctuary, which has been awarded P450 000 towards their community Fire Management Program.
The sanctuary is run by a trust of villages around the tourist attractive rhino home and reportedly is working with five villages being Serowe, Mabeleapodi, Paje, Mmashoro and Tshimoyapula on the program. According to administration at the Khama Rhino Sanctuary, their proposal impressed the European Union because it intends to empower village communities with sustainable fire management skills.
Thapelo Baiphethi told WeekendPost that veldt fires continue to be a national threat specifically in tourist attraction areas. “Fire is a national threat and because of lack of funds, it is difficult for government to assist small villages like Mabeleapodi. Through this program we are trying to meet government halfway,” said Baiphethi.
According to Baiphethi, Khama Rhino Sanctuary with its veldt fire fighting experience has trained over 160 people, 30 from government departments from respective villages and 130 ordinary villagers selected by Dikgosi. He added that now with funding available they will expand the number of trainees.
“We train VDC members so that they can go and manage Fire Management Teams established in their villages,” he explained. Baiphethi said the training was done so that in the event of a veldt fire, as they were popular during winter season, there would be trained people who could manage it before it destroys life, the environment and property.
With the monetary assistance from the European Union the sanctuary will train 80 fire fighters, who will go through an eight-month long course, divided into theoretical and practical training. The Botswana Empowerment of Non State Actors Program is a partnership between the Government of Botswana and the European Union, co-funded by the European Development Fund, the program provides funding support to civil society organizations in Botswana. With the aim of empowering Non State Actors (NSAs) in the development process of Botswana, enabling them to contribute more effectively to the achievement of the national development goal.
The program avails funding for projects in Education, with particular attention to Early Childhood Care and Inclusive Education, Social Services in particular targeting Orphans and Vulnerable Children, Environment, Gender (women's empowerment) and Arts and Culture (cultural industries/ maintaining cultural identity).
The grants are expected to enhance the capacities of NGOs to effectively implement programs and advocacy initiatives in the priority sectors, and Support the strengthening of cooperation, coordination and networking among NGOs, leading to an effective participation in development planning and policy dialogue. It is reported that 9 Non Governmental Organizations have so far benefited from the 2017 Grant.
A representative from the European Union, Alexandra Bom, observed that in Europe, non state actors and impactful NGOs have a funding from the national coffers, noting that unlike here in Botswana, that makes it easier for genuine NGOs to carry out their mandates as there are also public donations for them easily available.
“Here in Botswana we have to continue finding methods to solicit funding for these organizations as they play a pivotal role in implementing national projects,” he said. However according to Bom’s observation some NGOs do not have a clear mandate and outlined plan to carry out their course, something which he noted makes it difficult for them to receive funding from any independent sponsor.
Bom therefore urged that registered NGOs should be trained and orientated to be able to run their dealings effectively. “The NGOs have to be capacitated and empowered with skills to carry out their intended objectives before being allocated any funding especially from state aligned coffers,” he said.
While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.
Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.
Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.
Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.
Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”
“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.
He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.
He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.
According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.
There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.
Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.
“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication. The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.