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BIUST welcomes over 1500 students

The Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) opened its doors at their campus in Palapye on the 5th February 2015. Having operated from Odi College of Engineering, the University has now permanently moved to their main campus in Palapye.

It is currently the home to 1 550 students pursuing their studies in Engineering, Science and Technology as well as Information Communication and Technology (ICT).

The classes and research projects are expected to commence immediately and the University Administration has promised that this is the last time the school takes a long time without classes. They said this has since damaged the image of the University and it was very costly. In their endevour to become one of the best Universities in the world, they are currently in a recruit process of lectures that will deliver the best.

In an exclusive interview the University Council Chairman, Bernard Bolele said lately the disturbing issue has been reports of lecturers leaving the University in large numbers. He dismissed such reports as mere allegations and an attempt to create negativity around the university.

He said the university only lost the Vice Chancellor and one professor and they have worked very hard to stabilize the administration. “Any organisation’s strength is not in the top leadership, it depends on the pipeline. I am currently happy about leadership of our council” he said.

The University was officially opened by Assistant Minister, Ministry of Education and Skills Development Unity Dow.

The 800 new students are currently housed at Botswana Housing Corporation (BHC) houses in Palapye with the University taking care of all their bills for a period of a month. Other students have been housed at the Old Sekgoma Memorial Hospital in Serowe and the University is providing transport to and from Serowe every day. This, the council Chairman said has since provided a conducive learning environment before students can assume their hostels in the university which are scheduled to be ready in a month time.

While welcoming the students the University Acting Vice Chancellor John Cooke said BIUST has set itself high goals to become one of the best research universities on the continent with developing a reputation for excellence in research and teaching. Knowledge production and knowledge dissemination is their core business.      

Speaking at the event, Student Representative Council (SRC) President Enock Government said, “Honourable minister and the acting VC I want to remind you that the students enrolled in BIUST today are the best you can get in the whole continent. I need you to constantly remember that this is the future of the nation and how it unfolds might be in your hands right now”. He further said the nation is trying to move its economy from being resource based to knowledge based and if that is ever going to happen it has to start at BIUST.

“Let me share with you some facts to help you focus. In three weeks time we will have 800 more beds available to us students. In about two months we will have world class Science labs (behind the Cafeteria) complete, also complete will be the labs and classes behind the Engineering building. Recently the government gave this University 500 million to improve infrastructure and staff.

In a few weeks every student in BIUST will have a personal tablet or laptop. I now invite you to imagine what BIUST will be like in just one year or ten years if you want. Ladies and gentlemen if you want my honest opinion I still think BIUST is destined to be the greatest institution in the country,” he concluded.

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Fighting vulture poisoning in KAZA region.

3rd February 2023
As a response to avert vulture poisoning currently going on in Botswana and KAZA region, Birdlife Botswana has collaborated with three other partners (BirdWatch Zambia, BirdLife International & Birdlife Zimbabwe) to tackle wildlife poisoning which by extension negatively affect vulture populations.

The Director of Birdlife Botswana, Motshereganyi Virat Kootshositse has revealed in an interview that the project which is funded by European Union’s main goal is to reduce poisoning related vultures’ death and consequently other wildlife species death within the KAZA region.

He highlighted that Chobe district in Botswana has been selected as a pilot site as it has experienced rampant incidents of vulture poisoning for the past few months. In August this year at least 50 endangered white backed vultures were reported dead at Chobe National Park, Botswana after feeding on a buffalo carcass laced with poison.  In November this year again 43 white backed vultures were found dead and two alive after feeding on a zebra suspected to have poisoned.  Other selected pilots’ sites are Kafue in Zambia and Hwange in Zimbabwe.

Kootshositse further explained they have established a national and regional Wildlife Poisoning Committee. He added that as for the national committee they have engaged various departments such as Crop Productions, Agro Chemicals, Department of Veterinary Services, Department of Wildlife and National Parks and other NGOs such as Raptors Botswana to come together and find a long-lasting solution to address wildlife poisoning in Botswana. ‘Let’s have a strategy or a plan together to tackle wildlife poisoning,’ he stated

He also decried that there is gap in the availability of data about vulture poisoning or wildlife in general. ‘If we have a central point for data, it will help in terms of reporting and advocacy’, he stated

He added that the regional committee comprises of law enforcement officers such as BDF and Botswana police, village leadership such as Village Development Committee and Kgosi. ‘We need to join hand together and protect the wildlife we have as this will increase our profile for conservation and this alone enhances our visitation and boost our local economy,’ he noted

Kootshositse noted that Birdlife together with DWNP also addressed series of meeting in some villages in the Chobe region recently. The purpose of kgotla meetings was to raise awareness on the conservation and protection of vultures in Chobe West communities.

‘After realizing that vulture poisoning in the Chobe areas become frequent, we realise that we need to do something about it.  ‘We did a public awareness by addressing several kgotla meetings in some villages in the Chobe west,’ he stated

He noted that next year they are going to have another round of consultations around the Chobe areas and the approach is to engage the community into planning process. ‘Residents should be part of the plan of actions and we are working with farmers committee in the areas to address vulture poisoning in the area, ‘he added

He added that they have found out that some common reasons for poisoning wildlife are farmers targeting predators such as lions in retaliation to killing of their livestock. Another common incident cross border poaching in the Chobe area as poachers will kills an elephant and poison its carcass targeting vultures because of their aerial circling alerting authorities about poaching activities.

Kootshositse noted that in the last cases it was disheartening the incidents occurred three months apart. He added that for the first time they found that some of the body parts of some vultures were missing. He added harvesting of body parts of vultures is not a common practice in Botswana, although it is used in some parts of Africa. ‘We suspect that someone took advantage of the availability of carcasses and started harvesting their body parts,’

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Giant in the making: Everton Mlalazi

3rd February 2023

The music industry is at a point where artists are jostling for space because there are so many aspirants trying to get their big break, thus creating stiff competition.

In the music business it’s about talent and positioning. You need to be at the right place at the right time with the right people around you to propel you forward.
Against all odds, Everton Mlalazi has managed to takeover the gospel scene effortlessly.
To him, it’s more than just a breakthrough to stardom, but a passion as well as mission directly appointed by the Lord.

Within a short space of 2 years after having decided to persue a solo career, Mlalazi has already made it into international music scene, with his music receiving considerable play on several gospel television and radio stations in Botswana including other regional stations like Trace Africa, One Gospel, Metro FM in South Africa, Hope FM in Kenya and literally all broadcast stations in Zimbabwe.

It doesn’t only stop there, as the musician has already been nominated 2 times and 2 awards which are Bulawayo Arts Awards (BAA) best Male artists 2022, StarFM listerners Choice Award, Best Newcomer 2021 and ZIMA Best Contemporary Gospel 2022, MLA awards Best Male artist & Best Gospel Artist 2022.

Everton’s inspiration stems from his ultimate passion and desire to lead people into Godly ways and it seems it’s only getting started.
The man is a gospel artist to put on your radar.

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African countries call on WHO to increase funding

2nd February 2023

Minister of Health Dr Edwin Dikoloti says Africa member states call on World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure equitable resource allocation for 2024-2025. Dr Dikoloti was speaking this week at the WHO Executive Board Meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.

He said countries agreed that there is need to address the budget and funding imbalances by increasing the programme budget share of countries and regions to 75% for the next year.

“The proposed budget for 2024-2025 marks an important milestone as it is the first in Programme Budget in which country offices will be allocated more than half of the total budget for the biennium. We highly welcome this approach which will enable the organization to deliver on its mandate while fulfilling the expectations for transparency, efficiency and accountability.”

The Botswana Health Minister commended member states on the extension of the General Programme of Work (GPD 13) and the Secretariat work to monitor the progress towards the triple billion targets, and the health-related SDGs.

“We welcome the Director’s general proposed five priorities which have crystalized into the “five Ps” that are aligned with the GPW 13 extension. Impact can only be achieved through close coordination with, and support to national health authorities. As such, the strengthening of country offices is instrumental, with particular focus on strengthening national health systems and on promoting more equitable access to health services.”

According to Dr Dikoloti, the majority of countries with UHC index that is below the global median are in the WHO Africa region. “For that, we call on the WHO to enhance capacity at the regional and national levels in order to accelerate progress. Currently, the regional office needs both technical and financial support in order to effectively address and support country needs.”

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