2014 Annual Report on our Website!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 990 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 17 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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It’s been a year now!

Dumela Borra le Bomma!

I hope this post reaches some of you who I used to know!  It’s been over a year since I have left Molepolole and I just wanted to say Dumela to some of my old friends.    I see that no one has posted any stories or pictures on this great DMSAC website!  I am sorry to see that!

If anyone has any stories and some pictures that you would like to post here, please email them to me at jmark@stayintouch.us and I will post them for you!

I hope you all are doing well and I think of you often!

Go Siame!

Tiro le Gofaone

Carol and JM from Viginia

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Good bye to our Peace Corps Volunteer – by Tiro

Another Bittersweet event was held last Saturday night.

As the DAC Peace Corps Volunteer, I am writing my last entry here, as my wife, Gofaone and I are leaving Botswana after two years of dedicated service.  We have both worked endlessly to help improve the country of Botswana in every way from HIV/AIDS education to computer technology.

BOCAIP Football Tournament 25-Feb-2011 12

Our service here has been rewarding and satisfying in many ways and there are many people and many things about Botswana that we will miss.  We will stay in touch with some people and others will become fond memories as the years go by.

We wish to thank all the people and organisations who we have touched or who have touched us in any way.  This great experience could not have happened without all of you!

My email address will always remain the same as jmark@stayintouch.us

Salang Sentle and Go Siame!

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John MmaT Retseng IF

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Lobososhale VMSAC Training – by Ntshese

On the 27th to the 30th of August, 2013, the District AIDS Coordination Office (DAC) conducted a Village Multi-Sectoral AIDS Committee (VMSAC) training in the Lobososhale area.

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The training was on the roles and functions of the VMSAC committee, the planning process, the implementation and the reporting.  The workshop was assisted by Nyacko Perry, the Peace Corps Volunteer from Sojwe, along with several others.

The training started at the Lephephe Sub Land Board conference room, were we trained Loologane and Lephephe VMSAC’s. The training was attended by 21 committee members from both villages.  The second training was held in the Sojwe Police lecture room, were we trained the Shadishadi, Sojwe and Boatlanane VMSAC’s.  The attendance was not very good mostly because the workshop dates collided with the Minister Kgotla meetings.   29 Committee members managed to attend out of 45 members who were expected. The training went well but there is a need of support from the office for better results.

By Ntshese

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We all say Goodbye to some good interns

On Wednesday,  August 21st, 2013, the Office of the District Commissioner celebrated the successful finish of several internships.  A very pleasant lunch was provided and several folks gave warm words for the interns who had worked so hard during their term.  We all wish them well and much success in their futures!

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Kweneng East District Show

On Saturday, August 17th, 2013, the Kweneng East District Show was held at the Molepolole Show Grounds.

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The theme for the day was “Transforming Agriculture in the Wake of Climate Change”.  It was a coming together of many of the NGOs, private businesses and government departments associated in one way or another with Agriculture or community service.   Roughly 30 stalls were set up where vendors sold their goods, ranging from raw grains to fresh vegetables to live chickens, goats and cows.  There were also stalls housing many of the Government departments including Agriculture, Revenue, Forestry, Land Board, Prisons, DMSAC, ODC, DHMT and many others.

The show was organised by a committee made up of farmers from various villages in the Kweneng East District and several government departments.  The Chairperson of the committee was Mr. Mapitse, from Molepolole.

On Friday, stalls hosting agriculture such as grains, vegetables and live stock were judged based on quality and presentation.  On Saturday, the event began with a round of competition between all of the government department stalls.  The 4 judges went from stall to stall and interviewed the stakeholders, giving them marks for several categories of operations including performance, customer service, feedback and others.

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The Four Judges

Below is a table showing the final results.  Our DAC office tied for 3rd place based on the answers provided. Congratulation to the folks over at the Land Board for being number One!

Department
Percentage Score
Position
Land Board 79 1
SMC 77 2
Information Services 76 3
Animal Production 76 3
DMSAC 76 3
Crop Production 76 3
Revenue 75 4
DHMT 73 5
Vet Services 72 6
District Administration 70 7
Agri Business 70 7
Public Health 70 7
Forestry 67 8
DWNP 66 9
Botswana Police 64 10
Prisons 59 11

In addition to this competition, vendors of all types of agriculture were given awards for the quality of their goods.  Entertainment was provided by Kgari Sechele Traditional Dance Group, who was loudly applauded.  Afterwards a traditional Setswana lunch was provided.

The event was honored by the attendance of the Paramount Chief and several other dignitaries including the guest speaker, Mr. O. Ramaabya, the manager for SeedCo.  A vote of thanks was given by the MP of Molepolole North, Mr. G. U. S. Matlhaphiri.  Guest introductions were done by the Deputy District Commissioner, Mma Ngaka and several guest officials from various departments of Agriculture were acknowledged.

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Our distinguished guests

Overall the day was a fun and an exciting way for local vendors to exchange products and ideas and to participate in some friendly competition.

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Ronald Mokgotle selling Aloe Vera - 739-07772

Ronald Mokgotle selling Aloe Vera – 739-07772

 

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A BitterSweet Goodbye

On Wednesday, July 31st, 2013, most of the members of the Office of the District Commissioner met for a final meeting with our current DC, Mma Mapitse to bid her goodbye and to be formally introduced to our new DC, Mma Utlwanag Kerekang, affectionately known simply as UK.

Mma Mapitse is being transferred to the Central District where she will continue her responsibilities as the District Commissioner.  The Central District is the largest district in Botswana and includes 7 fully functioning Sub Districts and 2 Towns.  Mma Mapitse was well liked and well known as an accomplished professional who ran a productive department.  She will be missed by all.

Mma Utlwanag Kerekang comes to us from the Ghanzi District, where she acted as the District Commissioner.  UK is warmly welcomed and all of us look forward to working with her to make our District the best it can possibly be.

Mma Mapitse and the New DC

Mma Mapitse passes the Kweneng District Commissioner torch to Mma Utlwanag Kerekang (UK)

The New DC

The Support Staff  bid good-bye to our former DC and welcome our new DC!

New DC, Mma Makati, Mma Mapitse

Mma Utlwanag Kerekang (UK), Mma Makati, Mma Mapitse

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PCI and Hope World Wide Partnership Event

On Wednesday, July 31st, 2013 PCI and Hope World Wide jointly sponsored a Partnership Acknowledgement Event.   This important landmark for both agencies represented the union of two “like thinking” Organisations and the celebration of a large grant from Barclays Bank of Botswana for the sustainable empowerment of Botswana citizens, focused mainly on women and children.

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“I never thought I could speak in public like this, addressing people of  your calibre”

“ I did not think much of the P500 I received as a volunteer, until I saw a bank account being opening from weekly  P2 .00 contributions”

“I never thought I could set foot in a bank, I saw the glass doors as too glamorous for simple people like me, but now I can walk into the bank and carry out transactions, like everybody else

These are some of the words expressed by  two Grass Roots building Our wealth (GROW) group members who gave testimonies at the historic launch of the Project Concern International (PCI) and Barclays Bank GROW Project partnership in Borakalalo Ward, Molepolole  on 31 July 2013. These were Mrs Gomotsegang Sesupo and Mrs Kehumile Mpusetsang.

Speaking at the event, PCI Country Representative, Ms Dorothy Tlagae said PCI is an international non-governmental organisation that provides services to local community- based organisations to support communities to help themselves in addressing the impact of HIV/AIDS and related challenges.

“Through the Tsela Kgopo Program, PCI helps communities to best understand their needs and identify lasting solutions on how to address them,” said Ms Tlagae.

She explained that GROW is a community mobilisation approach that aims at empowering vulnerable populations socially and economically.

GROW  stands for Grass Roots building Our Wealth and has been piloted by PCI and produced great results in some Southern and East African countries. It was then introduced to two of PCI’s partners in Botswana, that is, HOPE worldwide Botswana in Kweneng East  and Kgetsi Ya Tsie in Tswapong District.

In the GROW model, women with very low economic status are put into groups of 15 – 20 to start  savings. The group is responsible for coming up with its own rules and regulations; for deciding on the weekly monetary contribution per member, and any other ways to grow their wealth as a group or individuals.

In Kweneng East, HOPE worldwide Botswana implements GROW in Mmakanke lands, Mosokotso lands and in Borakalalo Ward in Molepolole village.

Barclays Bank liked the model, and then went into a partnership with PCI to fund the GROW project in Molepolole and Kasane (through another PCI partner, Catholic Relief Services).

Speaking at the event, the Barclays Bank of Botswana’s Managing Director Mr Aupa Monyatsi said, “making a difference, changing lives and playing a part to make our communities a better place is the utmost way of giving and living”.

He said “GROW, as a poverty alleviation program, was introduced to us (i.e. Barclays) in 2012, and provided a unique opportunity to invest in a program that is innovative in its approach to addressing poverty”.

Mr Monyatsi  presented to PCI’s Country Representative Ms Dorothy Tlagae, a cheque worth P884 444 for the expansion of GROW in Molepolole and Kasane for the next two years, with expectation to reach 640 individuals.

With a goal to provide very poor women with an opportunity to fundamentally change and develop  their lives and that of their families, Barclays’ vision is to enable young people to live economically active lives. To achieve this, they would be trained in skills such as entrepreneurial, money management and life skills in general.

He stated that, “Barclays will continue to play its part in developing the communities in which it operates by seeking innovative solutions to address critical areas.”

Officiating at the event, United States Ambassador to Botswana Ms Michelle Gavin, said the participation of women in economic strengthening activities has lagged behind due to challenges brought forth by HIV and AIDS.

Among issues that contributed to this was the fact that women spent a lot of time caring for the ill and raising orphans and other vulnerable children (OVC).

“Since 2003, the U.S. Government, through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, has supported the Government of Botswana with over $600 million to assist in Botswana’s response to HIV/AIDS, including care and support for OVC. The country is seen by many as a model for its outstanding response to the epidemic,”  said Ms Gavin.

She echoed sentiments that government cannot go at it alone, but will need the private sector to also participate. Ms Gavin commended “Barclays Bank of Botswana for leading  such an excellent initiative. The resources will allow PCI and its implementing partners to reach more women and youth.”

She added, “The contribution of the private sector is important in leveraging the resources coming from the governments of Botswana and United States of America for bigger impact and long-term positive results”.

Speaking to show  appreciation on behalf of the Government of Botswana,Assistant Minister of Health and Molepolole North MP Mr Gaotlhaetse Matlhabaphiri said, “one cannot over emphasise the gratitude that we feel as government for collaborations between private sector (in this case, Barclays Bank) and Civil Society Organisations (in this case, Project Concern International). “

He continued, “as government, we celebrate any public private partnership (PPP) because, wherever there are gaps due to government’s resource constraints, we can rest assured that we have able and committed partners on the ground as demonstrated through this partnership today. ”

The event was graced by among others, Kgosi Kgari Sechele III, who welcomed guests, Deputy District Commissioner for Molepolole/Lentsweletau Administration Authority Mrs Boingotlo Ngaka, who introduced guests, Kweneng East District AIDS Coordinator Ms Theresa Makati, Borakalalo Ward Kgosana Mr Kebelaele Sesiane, USAID officials, government departments, private sector entities, ACHAP, and civil society partners.

Borakalalo Ward Councillor Mr Shabir Kably gave a vote of thanks, and thanked HOPE worldwide Botswana for making a difference in the community and for bringing to them strategies that empower the residents. In the launched partnership, HOPE worldwide Botswana will be the PCI partner implementing GROW in Molepolole.

At this event, a young boy from Borakalalo named Baboloki Motswana left some in tears as he confidently recited poems about GROW and its impact in the lives of women.

By Kedibonye Malejane
HOPE worldwide Botswana

GROW POEM

BY BABOLOKI MOTSWANA

Dithejwane Junior School
Molepolole Botswana

Grow you are like a diamond ruby
From opel to diamond. You shine bright like star
In the star you bravely stood among the tall mountains
You give life to women. We thank you for the opportunity of life

At times of darkness you light the way ahead
You brought life opportunities to women
You shine bright that even the light bulb breaks up

You are like an ancient Roman soldier
You are brave that you can scar a lion

You are ambassador of women
You are the hero of women
You are the ambassador of women
You are like a river flowing from north to south

We thank you for the water of life
That we drink from you
You are like Perennial River you
Never dry up

You give life to hopeless women
You open job opportunities to women

You are like a ferry that carries women across a river
From one paint to another you carry women across a river

Grow, Grow you are like a diamond
Ruby from opel to diamond
You shine bright that even a light bulb break up

You are the ambassador of women
For that I will say thank you

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Kweneng District Workplace Wellness Day (July 2013)

On the 26th of July, 2013, the Kweneng District Wellness Day was held at the Molepolole Sports Complex.

Stretching at the Wellness Day Event

Stretching  and Aerobics were just some of the Healthy Activities at the Wellness Day Event

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The event started at 8:00 am with the traditional speeches and introductions about health, specifically in the workplace.  There were games, contests, food and booths for HIV Testing, General Health Testing and all kinds of health related information.   There were roughly 200 attendees and the day was a fun event and ended with a successful message.

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Wellness Day (July 2013)_001

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Wellness Day “Best Couple” Beauty Contest

On Friday night, July 19th, 2013, the Office of the District Commissioner, along with the Tribal Administration Offices in Molepolole, Letlhakeng and Mogoditshane, organised a Beauty Pageant called the Best Couple Contest.  10 Couples were chosen and randomly matched.

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1st Prize!

1st Prize!

2nd Place

2nd Place

3rd Place

3rd Place

The event was judged on two parts; Casual (Jeans and T-Shirts) and Formal Dress.  The event took place at Kgari Sechele Secondary School in Molepolole and was held to help raise funds for the Kweneng District Wellness Day for the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development Departments’ event taking place the following Friday, July 26th, at the Molepolole Stadium from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm.

For part of the competition, each couple was randomly assigned a word associated with health, for example: TB, Diabetes, Water, Cancer and others.  After parading around for the audience and judges, the couples were given roughly 5 minutes to express their thoughts about the subject of this word to the audience and judges.

Once all the couples had paraded, the judges chose the top 5 couples and again these couples were allowed to promenade and display themselves.  From this group of 5, the top 3 were selected and crowned as the 2nd Princess, the 1st Princess and the Grand Prize winner.

The entrance fee was P25.00 and food and beverages were sold to help raise money.  A total of P1,300.00 was raised to assist for the Wellness Day coming up.

Gifts were given to all the contestants and a great time was had by all.

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