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Ministry of Local Government (MLG)
Permanent Secretaries Discuss Arts and Crafts
11/11/11
Rural Areas Communities empowerment is vital.

The recently held Rural Area Development Programme (RADP) Pitso  which  was held in Ghanzi, resulted in the formation of a Draft Affirmative Action Plan aimed at empowering residents of Rural Area Communities (RACs).

A matter of particular concern that arose from the RADP Pitso, was  that  the  67 settlements encompassed by RADP are rich in arts and crafts manufacturers. It was therefore noted that the main challenge for these communities, is that they lack the necessary business skills to  market and distribute their wares.

It  is  in  this  context  that Permanent Secretaries from the Ministries of;  Local Government (MLG), Youth, Sports and Culture (MYSC) and Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MOFAIC), convened a meeting on the 9th November 2011, to discuss a way forward in resolving the above mentioned challenge.

The meeting was therefore characterized by the attendance of Permanent Secretaries from The People’s Ministry,  Mr.  B. Khumomatlhare, PS. MYSC Ms. R. Maphorisa, PS. MOFAIC Mr .G. Goitsemong, DPS.  MLG Mr.  M. Keaja, and Chief Community Development Officer (CCDO-DSS) Ms. D. Sehunwe.

The People’s Ministry, MOFAIC and MYSC have thus resolved to work together as means of identifying markets for the arts and craftsmen of the RACs.  This collaborative relationship will thus embody the establishment of a revolving fund, which will be used to purchase arts and crafts from artists and thus reduce turn around time on payments for goods.

Furthermore,  it  was  availed by PS Goitsemang  (MOFAIC) that MOFAIC  aims to  engage its Missions and Embassies abroad to  help  identify;  markets,  the needs and preferences of foreign clients and as such provide a market research type study to inform artists on which goods are viable.

When briefing the attendees CCDO-DSS Ms Sehunwe availed that “the Affirmative Action Plan aims to define means of reaching out to the RACs thus making them self-sufficient and thus alleviating them from their current   economic situation.” Furthermore, Ms. Sehunwe noted that “DSS has developed a catalogue which outlines the arts and crafts skills that can be found in Botswana, by region as a means of providing a concise breakdown of the arts and crafts available in Botswana.”

Ms. D. Phuti from MYSC availed that “my Ministry has been hosting competitions both at regional and national level to source arts and crafts and as such exhibit them at expos, exhibitions etc both locally  and as far afield  as Japan.”

In the same breathe Ms. Phuti revealed that  MYSC  has spent about 1 million Pula on purchasing of the items that won at regional and national competitions. On this point, PS. MYSC Ms. R. Maphorisa, said “that quality control needs to be adhered to especially, when purchasing goods for re-sale to the internal and external markets.”

From this meeting, it can be derived that the collaborative efforts of government ministries have the ability to go a long way in emancipating the residents of RACs and as such, improve their quality of life.

It can thus be said that the recognition of the artistic nature of the residents of RACs links directly   with   the on-going economic diversification drive, as this recognition aims to reduce dependence on natural resources such as diamonds and shift focus to lesser recognized industries which have the ability to contribute positively to the GDP of the country as well as the social development of the citizenry.

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