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TKCS continues to appreciate truck drivers along corridors through the thank a trucker campaign

Whether its wishes or reality that the COVID – 19 pandemic is reaching its sell – by date, one thing that we can’t deny is that it has brought in lot of changes both good and bad, likewise it has given us a different perspectives on a lot of things, and one such is the importance of a truck driver.

Looking back at those initial days when corona virus was first declared a pandemic in March 2020, not many of us knew what that meant but we were all in the lookout that Covid – 19 does not enter the countries we lived in. Governments warned and closed borders to avoid the transmission of the disease from one country to another, and only truck drivers as conveyers of essential goods and a few others were allowed to cross borders.

Truck drivers more especially as their job was to move essential goods across borders The food, the medicines, the oxygen and every single important item that was essential to keep life going, that had to be imported was brought in by a truck driver.

However, stigma developed against truck drivers as they would cross into countries that were regarded as epicentres. People assumed that the truck driver were more likely to be positive of Covid – 19. One truck driver stated how they were not even allowed enter supermarkets to buy food as communities had already diagnosed them as carriers of the corona virus.

Not only have they survived a stigma from communities in every country they entered, a lot of changes especially at border gates affected them more. Borders experienced long queues as a result of the COVID – 19 protocols that were introduced such as screening of drivers, recording personal details for contact tracing, regular testing of truck drivers as well as long waiting times for PCR test results.

There was a point during the pandemic when PCR tests had different validity periods, in South Africa, the PCR test had a validity of 30 days, in Namibia, seven days, and in Botswana only 72 hours. This had a real effect on the ground for truck drivers who were not able to do multiple entries into countries with one test, or who were unable to turn their truck around fast enough to still have the same test valid when exiting a certain jurisdiction.  Furthermore, Truck drivers were faced with other challenges such as increased risks of contracting Corona virus, loss of jobs and some died from Covid19.

It was against this background that Trans Kalahari Corridor Secretariat (TKCS) together with the Walvis Bay Corridor Group (WBCG) came up with the initiative to thank truck drivers along the Trans Kalahari Corridor and on the Namibian Corridors. The Thank A Trucker campaign was sponsored by National Road Safety Council.

This campaign with which the two Corridors Management Institution showed appreciation to truck drivers by giving them a bag of usable goodies  including food has grown in status since its launch in Katima Mulilo in July last year. To date the campaign has given out over 900 hampers to truck drivers in Namibia and South Africa (on the Trans Kalahari Corridor) the next campaign will be held in Botswana from the 8th to the 12th March. Windhoek is expected to host the last of the campaign in April this year.

Apart from the Thank A Trucker Campaign, The Trans Kalahari Corridor Secretariat had to put in a lot of work to ease the work of truck drivers thus facilitating trade between TKC member states. Lobbying with different member states to harmonise the Covid – 19 protocols and ease related restrictions.

This work has bared fruit as we continue to see countries relaxing some protocols with Botswana recently allowing travellers who are fully vaccinated to enter the country without a PCR test result.  This will greatly contribute to agility and seamless movement of trade especially that Botswana is a transit country.

One of the projects that TKCS is a part of and was born to reduce covid19 impact on trade facilitation is the establishment and implementation of Corridor Trip Monitoring System (CTMS) in the Trans Kalahari Borders. The CTMS seeks to facilitate the continuation of cross-border trade in goods and services during the ongoing crisis occasioned by the coronavirus.

The system will further facilitate and ensure that cross-border transport and transit is performed by healthy drivers who can be constantly monitored and tracked to reduce the spread of Covid-19. CTMS will also seek to reduce extended travel and transit times during the pandemic.

The Trans Kalahari Corridor Secretariat is a tripartite trans boundary corridor management institution based in Windhoek. It was established with a political and economic vision to pursue or contribute towards deeper regional integration programmes of SADC, SACU and AUDA -NEPAD

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Orange Botswana Continues to Invest in the Youth Through Digital Schools Programme, Celebrating Thankane as 52nd School Engaged

3rd October 2022

In continued efforts to empower young students across Botswana through the Digital Schools Programme, Orange Botswana through the Orange Foundation don handed over digital equipment worth P53, 731.50 to Thankane Primary School, located in Jwaneng.

“We are excited to be in Jwaneng and to see yet another milestone for impact being delivered. This relationship began with a view towards working together – inclusively and sustainably – give children greater access to quality education. This is, after all, a key goal within our Vision 2036 and even of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. It is also core to our values and beliefs system at Orange Botswana. Our Digital Schools initiative is a true testament to the Orange Botswana Foundation’s unwavering commitment, loyalty, and support towards the youth of Botswana,” said Benson Lenong from Orange Botswana.

Donated equipment includes but is not limited to:

  • 50 tablets loaded with local syllabus content
  • 50 headsets
  • 1 Video projector
  • 1 Raspberry servers
  • 1 JBL Speaker
  • 1 Laptop
  • 1 Case (to contain the package)

The Orange Botswana Foundation, in partnership with the Government of the Republic Botswana, embarked on a quest to empower and educate the youth of the country through giving them better access to technology through Government’s Education & Training Sector Strategic Plan (ETSSP). Orange Botswana signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Basic Education and Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development in 2017, to kickstart a pilot of the Digital Schools Programme in 2018. The programme has seen 16,225 students benefiting from deployed schools, with 102 teachers trained in using digital kits as a mode of teaching. Thankane Primary is the 52nd school being engaged as part of the nationwide initiative.

The Orange Digital Schools Project is all about utilisation and integration of ICTs in learning, while at the same time addressing issues of digital inclusion and digital literacy. The Programme aims to bridge the digital gap by leveraging technology to improve access to education in primary schools such as Thankane.

Thankane Primary School was established in 1989 with 324 learners enrolled from Jwaneng and surrounding communities. The school continues to perform well in the Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE), and consistently works to ensure children learn vital life lessons both inside and outside the classroom. As one of the highest-ranked academic schools in the South region, Thankane Primary boasts excellent academics, leadership, sports, and culture.

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BIUST confers degrees to 297 Graduands

3rd October 2022

The Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) last week held it 7th graduation since its inception with the theme ‘Building a University of industry through a well-rounded ecosystem of economic transformation and innovative entrepreneurship’. 297 students graduated from the class of 2022 compared to the 58 from their first graduation as an institution.

The Assistant Minister of Education and Skills Development, Aubrey Lesaso commended the University as the strides made in the midst of the difficult conditions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic with potentially devastating impact on the learning of students were thrilling. “Some of the challenges experienced during this period include having to change the learning spaces the school was accustomed to, study remotely without adequate preparations and with limited resources,” said Lesaso.

He acknowledged that the Government through his Ministry is committed to ensuring that they provide quality education to the citizens of Botswana, which is in line with one of the aspirations of Vision 2036 that addresses the need for Development of Human Capital.

“I wish to call upon the BIUST leadership and all stakeholders involved, to remain dedicated to driving the BIUST mission and vision and contribute to achieving the targets outlined in the Vision 2036 National Transformation Agenda,” added Lesaso.

The Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of The Bulb World (PTY) Ltd, Ketshephaone Jacob noted that for decades entrepreneurs have been identified as the critical change agents in socio-economic development, and some countries have been a lot more intentional and successful in promoting enterprising. “It’s only in the last decade that our Government has put in concrete measures towards the citizen enterprising and this is where BIUST plays an integral role, not only in terms of provision of much needed manpower but also as a provider and stimulant of innovative solutions needed for today’s smart manufacturing,” said Jacob.

In addition to this, the University’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Otlogetswe Totolo noted that BIUST has embraced innovative entrepreneurship as part of its core mandate. “Innovation is our focus in promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization, to not only encourage more innovations in the University, but to encourage innovations that bring sustainable development,” he added.

The University has not only embraced innovative entrepreneurship but has enshrined it as its vision which states, ‘to produce world class research and innovation in science, engineering and technology contributing to industry growth and development and advancement of a diversified knowledge-based economy.

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The Tourism Business Coaching & Mentorship Programme: Inspiring A More Resilient and Dexterous Tourism Entrepreneurs

5th September 2022

It is said that challenging times bring to life the resilience of the human spirit and some of the most important innovations. The advent of COVID-19 brought tremendous challenges to the global economy, and the tourism sector was not spared. 

It is during this period, that the Tourism Business Coaching & Mentorship Programme was born. Ms. Tshepiso Mganga upon realising the need for tourism operators to get back on track after the slump leveraged her network to assemble a team of professionals across the various disciplines that are critical for the operation of a tourism enterprise. The programme has to date mentored and coached over 70 tourism and hospitality enterprises in Botswana. The programme imparts practical skills to aspiring entrepreneurs who wish to venture into the tourism and hospitality industry, as well as tourism businesses that are already in operation including but not limited to hotels, lodges, guest houses, mobile safari operators, travel agents, tour operators, and travel photographers. In addition, the benefits to start-ups include the enhancement of awareness on issues such as product development and branding, while existing businesses can use insights to reposition their brands and offerings in the market. The programme covers topics such as understanding the tourism value chain, what is takes to operate lodge in remote area, importance of belonging to an association, moving from idea to action, defining target markets, business planning, financial planning, developing digital marketing strategy, branding tourism business, business insurance, customer service excellence, design & guest experiences, travel show readiness.

The bi-weekly sessions are delivered virtually by several experts and professionals within the tourism industry, with the hope that there will be more in-person sessions in the future. The 3-month programme concluded with educational tours to Chobe Game Lodge. The tour brought practical elements to the programme learning, specifically on running a sustainable facility in a remote area. The tour demonstrated the value of environmental sustainability, with the participants being sensitised on level of investment that goes into developing and running an ecotourism product, including encapsulating aspects of reduce, re-use, and recycle in relation to all inputs of running the business. The participants also got to appreciate the return on investment of ecotourism in terms of reduction of costs of operations, enhanced profitability, as well as conservation of the ecosystem. The tour was sponsored by Desert & Delta Safaris, who have been a valuable partner of the programme.

The Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) is another valuable partner, and this year (2022), sponsored thirteen (13) participants to be part of the programme.

The programme is sponsored by City & Safari International, a Destination Management Company (DMC) established in 2017. City & Safari International specialises in Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions, as well as luxury safari planning & bookings covering Botswana and extending to Cape Town, Livingstone, Victoria, and Namibia.

The next cohort is scheduled for 13 May to 30 July 2023. Further information will be shared on Tourism Business Coaching & Mentorship Programme Facebook and Instagram pages.

Tourism Business Coaching & Mentorship Programme

#TBCMP #TourismBusinessExcellence

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