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Office of the President (OP)
Inside the Presidency-Issue No 4 of 2012

“YES for Youth, no to poverty”

Welcome once more to your weekly window into the Presidency, we trust that most of our readers had a pleasant and safe break during the Easter long weekend.

Just before the holiday, at a Kgotla meeting at Loologane in western Kweneng, His Excellency the President, Lt. General Seretse Khama Ian Khama, revealed that Government will soon launch an enhanced Youth Empowerment Scheme (YES). The scheme shall provide for expanded internship and training opportunities in the private and parastatal, as well as public, sectors. YES will thus build upon the existing internship programme, while taking onboard other initiatives such as the Youth Development and CEDA Young Farmer’s Funds.

While in western Kweneng, the President also met with area civil servants. During these encounters he emphasized that in carrying out their duties, they should appreciate that their vocation was a national calling to serve the public, rather than just a job. At the same time he observed that Government was well aware that their salaries are lagging behind inflation and will thus need to be adjusted once the economy has sufficiently recovered.    

Poverty Eradication Launch

A highlight of the past week was the Official Launch of the Poverty Eradication Programme and Guidelines at Tlokweng by His Honour the Vice President, Lt. General Mompati Merafhe,

The Programme is the outcome of Government’s policy shift from the alleviation to eradication of poverty, which was pronounced by the President in his second, 2009, Inaugural Address.

In that address, His Excellency had underscored his Administration’s commitment to the twin goals of job creation and poverty eradication by announcing that the policies and programmes for achieving these outcomes would be coordinated from the Office of the President by the Vice President, who is currently being assisted by the Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, the Hon.  Mokgweetsi Masisi.

Motivating Government’s shift towards poverty eradication then was the recognition that our country cannot achieve its goal of becoming a sustainable high income economy while leaving some of its citizens behind.  We therefore needed to become more proactive in ensuring a dignified life for all.

The Guidelines launched this week are also an outcome of the historic “Pitso Ya Nyeletso Lehuma”, which was convened by the President in Mahalapye in October 2010, where a strategy for poverty eradication was presented, amended and approved, along with a roadmap for further action.

A key finding of the Pitso was that poverty eradication would be best addressed through initiatives tailored to local conditions. This was in an appreciation of the fact that each community in our country has its own mix of opportunities and challenges, which are best met through grassroots programmes and projects.

To formulate such initiatives, as a follow up to the Mahalapye gathering, local Dipitso, as well as other forms of consultation, were subsequently held in all districts.
In his Keynote remarks at yesterday’s launch, the Vice President informed the audience that the rollout of projects under the Poverty Eradication Programme is now intensifying. In this context, he confirmed that already 319 backyard projects have been completed and another 592 are under construction in 30 constituencies.

His Honour also noted that 2894 Batswana have been identified for training on alternative packages, while P21 million has already been disbursed to set up projects for those who have been trained. In addition, he announced that some 7000 backyard gardens will be rolled out to cover all constituencies starting this month.

Besides putting food on their families’ tables, the programme aims to provide its beneficiaries with a basic income of up to P 5 thousand a month through the selling of their produce.

Noting that the Poverty Eradication Guidelines were a synthesis of data collected from the Dipitso and other fora, the Vice President concluded by observing that their objectives are to provide all stakeholders with a common platform and shared information, while ensuring that the core principles of transparency and objectivity are built into the programme.

House Handover

Last Thursday Minister Masisi, on behalf of OP staff members and other contributors, handed over a house to Broadhurst to Mr. Levi Modipe, which had been constructed as part of his Ministry’s Community Service Day commitment. Groundbreaking for the house took place back in November 2010 on the first Community Service Day, which had been led by the President and other members of Cabinet.
Speaking at the handover, Minister Masisi described the Community Service Day initiative as evidence of Government’s commitment to assist the less privileged in various ways.

Giving a vote of the area MP and Assistant Minister for Education and Skills development, the Hon. Keletso Rakhudu, who had himself contributed material to the house’s construction, expressed his appreciation that the project had been completed through many such voluntary contributions of cash and kind.

In addition to money raised by Ministry of State President staff, the project also benefitted from private sector and individual donations, including those by Barclays Bank, Dulux, Builders World, Haskins, Culture Spears Group, CTM, Senn Foods, Ghanzi Beef, and Pick N Pay Molapo Crossing.

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