Local time: Monday, 20 May 2019 01:41:34hrs
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National Service Programme Takes off.

The Botswana National Service Programme, popularly known as Tirelo Setshaba has started. Officiating at the programme launch on Tuesday, April 1, President Lt Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama said the development demonstrated government’s commitment to youth empowerment.

The programme kick-started with an initial intake of 15,000 young people aged between 20 and... 30. They will assist with provision of extension services in different parts of the country. In the process volunteers will acquire valuable experience that would increase their chances of gaining employment in the future.

President Khama encouraged the participants to serve the nation to the best of their abilities, act responsibly and serve their communities with Botho. As pioneers of the programme, he said, government relied on their feedback in order to improve the programme.

“You, therefore, have a huge responsibility placed on you to shape the development path for other young people who will serve after you,” he added. Furthermore, President Khama said government had set itself to give young people as many opportunities to become responsible citizens able to contribute to the country’s economy.
He cited the President’s Day Competition, which allowed youth to seek opportunities in the arts industry. The competition, President Khama said, had seen 14,061 participants, since 2013. He also added that for the year 2013/14, the constituency competition had 203,830 participants.

In addition, President Khama also said since its inception, the Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency's (CEDA) Young Farmers Fund had seen 5,509 projects, the Youth Development Fund had seen 3,871 projects.

For its part, the Internship Programme for the year 2013/14, had benefited 4,000 participants, Back to School, for the year 2013, had benefited 33,044 learners and the youth expositions and capacity building boot camps had benefitted 26,203 youths.

He also noted that 9,794 youths had been allocated land, since 2013. The 50 years of Independence theme: Botswana Pele, President Khama said, resonated well with the principles of the Botswana National Service Programme, as “is a call to service for all Batswana.”
He said the concept of volunteerism was not new in Botswana. Therefore, he said the occasion was an opportunity to re-emphasise the very tenets on which the nation was founded, adding that “our contributions in society both as individuals and as a collective are defined by the values we uphold”.

The participants are to be paid an allowance of P700 per month; being given P500 every month end, whilst P200 will be saved and given to them when they exit the programme to afford them the opportunity to start up endeavours in their own areas of interest. About 3,000 participants from Gaborone, Kweneng and South East areas attended the launch. (BOPA)

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