Ministry of Infrastructure and Housing Development (MIH)
Hon. Swartz Donates Blankets…. “The Children’s Act of 2009 advocates for recognition of fundamental rights including among others, the right to shelter, the right to health and the right to clothing. These are rights which we as human beings ought to enjoy without any restrictions.” These words were uttered by the Minister of Infrastructure, Science and Technology, Hon. Johnie Swartz at a ceremony to hand over blankets to some street children in Gaborone on the 7th July 2011. The handover ceremony was a follow up to the Day of the African Child commemoration hosted by the Ministry of Infrastructure, Science and Technology on the 16th of June 2011 where the Honorable Minister pledged to donate 20 blankets. Commemorated under the theme ‘Altogether for Urgent Actions in Favour of Street Children’, the Day of the African Child accorded the Ministry an opportunity to reaffirm its commitment towards the protection of children’s rights and well being. To that effect the Ministry identified a few ‘children under difficult circumstances’ (street children) and made donations of clothing items to. This was achieved through consultations with various stakeholders such as Botswana Council of Churches and the Gaborone City Council. It also involved direct confrontations with the beneficiaries as well. The Ministry Youth Committee, which was organizing the commemorations, had embarked on a donation campaign across the Ministry staff with a view to collect new and used items so that they can be given to the less privileged. Hon. Swartz called on his staff to reconsider the traditional structures of Setswana values that benefited Batswana so well in the past stressing that “Personally, it is my conviction that the presence of street children in our midst serves as an indictment against us as a people. Where are we as parents, as relatives?” He also emphasized that the fight against poverty cannot be won by Government alone, thus Batswana should collectively and individually do their best to improve their lives and help their compatriots who are in need. The handover ceremony also saw the Botswana Council of Churches representative Reverend Rupert Hambira commending MIST staff for their great efforts. The respected Reverend informed the staff that every good deed towards fellow human beings is a good deed unto GOD himself. He also urged the Minister and his staff to continue with the commendable work of caring for the less fortunate. One of the beneficiaries rose to express his gratitude to the Minister and MIST staff for the blankets and clothing items donated earlier on behalf of his peers. The ceremony was well attended by MIST senior managers and staff. Also present were Botswana Council of Churches representatives, members of the Press and the beneficiaries.
Ministry of Infrastructure, Science and Technology Study on Indigenous Knowledge Progressing Well…. The Ministry of Infrastructure, Science and Technology’s sponsored study on Indigenous knowledge System is progressing well. The Ministry has contracted the University of Botswana based Center for Scientific Research, Indigenous Knowledge and Innovation (CesrIKi) to help in the formulation of the Botswana Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) Policy.IKS constitutes the knowledge that people in a given community have developed over time, and continue to develop. It is the basis for agriculture, food preparation, healthcare, education and training, environmental conservation, etc.It is embedded in community practices, institutions, relationships and rituals. Herbal medicine is a good example of indigenous knowledge, which has affected the lives of people worldwide. The aim of this study is to create an inventory of all the indigenous or traditional knowledge that exists in Botswana and come up with a draft policy to regulate such knowledge. The study started in February 2011 and will run for a period of eighteen months. Up to six (6) million pula will be spent on this project. IKS issues have remained unregulated without any policy to guide various sectors on the subject. It has been found out that with the renewed interest in IKS, foreigners have come into Botswana and acquired traditional/indigenous knowledge from some communities and used such knowledge as a basis of their research, which in the end brought about some scientific solutions with commercial value without such communities benefiting from the output of the findings i.e. sengaparile. In some instances, protection of intellectual property rights have been acquired by the researchers without acknowledging the sources of the knowledge that informed the research, which then leads to the possibilities of the knowledge holders being excluded from using their knowledge because of intellectual property rights. The IKS has been under extreme pressure and severe threat of erosion and marginalization due to modernization, urbanization and globalization. However, in recent years it has gained increased popularity after several studies highlighted that it is a valuable and an underutilized resource. There has been an increasing realization of the significance of indigenous and traditional knowledge in sustainable development. Due to this renewed interest in IKS, countries are now addressing the dynamics that affect IKS within their borders by developing IKS policies. For example in Southern Africa, South Africa has already developed one. Ministry of Infrastructure, Science and Technology through the Department of Research, Science and Technology has a mandate of providing leadership in scientific and technological research in Botswana through the provision of an enabling policy and legislative environment. So far, the Ministry has addressed a press conference to inform Batswana about the study. The Permanent Secretary, Mr Carter Morupisi has also been featured in the national radio morning show program “Masa a Sele” where he explained what IKS is all about. Batswana also had an opportunity to comment in the same talk show program.In the meantime, the University of Botswana team of researchers is busy traversing the length and breadth of the country conducting the study as contracted by the Ministry.
Minister Swartz tours ongoing construction project
As society or community leaders, Dikgosi play an important role in the aim to protect, nurture and preserve indigenous knowledge.
The Minister of Infrastructure, Science and Technology hosted his South African counterpart, Hon. Naledi Pandor on 29 April 2011.
IST-Africa 2011 Finaly here
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