Botswana: Rekindle Church-Government Cooperation

Gaborone — The establishment of sustainable partnerships with faith based organisations is critical to the eradication of poverty, Assistant Minister for Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration Mr Machana Shamukuni has said.

He said this during a stakeholder consultative meeting with the organisations in Gaborone on September 10, where he noted government needed their assistance to fight poverty.

Mr Shamukuni noted that during Botswana's formative years, churches were part and parcel of the development process as they built schools and clinics for communities in which they operated.

The assistant minister said over the years the role of the church had diminished which was detrimental to development.

He stressed the need to rekindle those relationships noting that spiritual leaders were usually more knowledgeable about community needs and better placed to identify cases needing interventions.

Mr Shamukuni further urged spiritual leaders to engage government and to introspect on the kind of solutions to be included in national development plans and Vision 2036 goals to ensure no one was left behind.

Government, he said, had through successive development plans, shown consistent commitment to assist the most vulnerable groups in society.

He mentioned various economic interventions among them Financial Assistance Policy, Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency, Youth Development Fund.

He said the interventions and other social protection and safety nets that government had implemented had led to a gradual decline in national poverty levels.

"Despite these achievements, poverty incidences remain a concern," he said.

Poverty Eradication Programme Coordinator, Mr Montshiwa Montshiwa revealed that 2 066 out of 37 002 funded to date had failed.

According to Mr Montshiwa, the state of affairs presented chances for beneficiaries to slip back into poverty unless necessary interventions were put in place.

"This therefore represents a possible area of cooperation between government and the faith based organisations," he said.

Mr Montshiwa also said the extreme poverty prevailing in the country represented a challenge that could be better addressed by all stakeholders.

The incidence of poverty was more pronounced among women at 55 per cent, he said.

<i>Source : BOPA</i>

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