Mochudi — Government has made a pledge to eradicate abject poverty with the aim of providing a dignified life for all Batswana.
Speaking in an interview after a three-day poverty eradication training, poverty eradication regional coordinator Ms Khutsafalo Mogotsi said the programme's backyard garden projects did not do well due to weather and water shortage in some parts of the country. She said since 2015, they had managed to clear a backlog of over 1 700 applicants.
The programme in Kgatleng is coordinated by office of the District Commissioner and offers 45 packages, amongst them key projects such as egg layers, machinery, fish farming and cluster gardens. Ms Mogotsi said the key projects were mainly group projects which require high cost machinery.
She further indicated that they were currently experiencing a challenge of beneficiaries who applied for packages that were already saturated in the market, and those who did not have much knowledge about the projects they were applying for.
Ms Mogotsi noted that as part of their efforts to address the challenge, they decided to host a poverty eradication awareness training for the 233 newly qualified applicants. The initiative she said, was meant to be an eye opener to help beneficiaries make informed decisions regarding projects for which they wished to be funded.
"All the six implementing departments for the poverty eradication programme gave insights into packages offered by their departments and also advised on which packages are still economically viable," she said.
This was also an opportunity to inform applicants of what is expected from them once they are given packages, Ms Mogotsi added.
She said during the awareness training, it was realised that applicants preferred popular packages such as laundry, tent hire and bakery.
Ms Mogotsi said such packages were now saturated and no longer marketable in the district, hence they informed applicants about other packages that could yield better results.
For her part, assistant systems analyst with the poverty eradication programme Ms Neo Pitse said participants were inducted and advised to treat their packages as businesses.
"We informed them that they should now start acting like business people and be prepared to spend sleepless nights nurturing these packages," she said, adding that they were also cautioned to always be reachable.
Ms Pitse further said beneficiaries were also informed that the machinery which would be handed to them was co-owned by them and government.
"All machinery will be under consistent monitoring until the end of the five-year contract, of which it shall be handed over to the beneficiaries," said Ms Pitse.
She said the handing over of machinery would depend on the project being sustainable with visible impact on the lives of beneficiaries.
Ms Pitse said failure to operate by beneficiaries within six months would result in recoup of government resources by her office. She said so far there were 69 graduates from the programme who had also employed people within the district and encouraged the 233 newly qualified applicants to work hard in order to replicate such success stories.
<i>Source : BOPA</i>