Remote rural communities in Botswana are among the poorest areas in the country. We request funding to help pay for daily necessities such as clothing, school supplies and toiletries.
Our immediate goal is to raise 10,000 US dollars for a pilot program to address these needs in a small number of settlement communities (primarily Mokgenene and Diphuduhudu in eastern Botswana). The pilot program will take place from June 1, 2019 to July 31, 2020.
If we are successful in raising funds, we will use the results of the pilot program to create a larger program covering more settlement communities. During the pilot program, scans of the receipts and a report on expenditures will be available upon request.
Botswana is a country with a growing middle class. It consistently ranks very high on the Ibrahim Index of African Governance. And the World Bank has reported a consistent drop in poverty levels.
But remote rural populations lag behind, especially people living in settlement communities such as Mokgenene, Poloka, Khekhenye, Serinane and Diphuduhudu, amongst others. In these areas the effects of poverty are immediately obvious, including hungry children, people without proper clothing and blankets during the cold winter months, high unemployment rates and high rates of alcoholism.
Many of the people in the settlement villages do not have sufficient clothing for the cold winter months (with temperatures lower than 40°F at night), leading to illnesses of various kinds. We propose to buy coats, long pants, sweat pants, dresses, shirts, sweaters, shoes, sandals, blankets, hats, underwear and mittens and other clothing items that people need to remain healthy during the winter months. The clothing will be purchased in bulk in Gaborone, the capital city, at stores like PEP.
Toiletries include toothpaste, toothbrushes, washcloths and soap. The lack of sanitary pads for young women is an impediment to school attendance, so we will also provide them.
There is a chronic lack of school supplies in the schools of these villages. We will provide notebooks, scribblers, pens, pencils, erasers, English and Setswana educational books and a small number of calculators.
Many children attend school without a proper uniform. We will provide pants, shirts, dresses, shoes, socks, backpacks. The uniforms are a specific color for each school and need to be specially ordered.
During the school year, children are able to eat at school through the Botswana School Feeding Programme. However, on the weekend and during school vacations, children often remain without food. We propose to offer a pilot program to make food available to children during those periods. Since food preparation in the village is not feasible, students will be given rations.
Unemployment amongst young people in the rural communities is very high. The only jobs available are tending cattle, harvesting crops on a seasonal basis and Ipelegeng (a government sponsored drought relief program). We propose to make funds available for people who wish to pursue educational opportunities in the nearby cities. The funding will be as flexible as possible to cover any expenses that come up, including (but not limited to) living expenses, tuition, lessons, fees and apprenticeships.
Please consider donating today. All contributions are tax-deductible. We are fiscally sponsored by the Endangered Language Alliance (ELA), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
Endangered Language Alliance
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Andy Chebanne is Dean of the Humanities at the University of Botswana.
Chris Collins is professor of Linguistics at New York University. He has over 25 years of experience working in Africa doing linguistic documentation.
Zachary Wellstood is a graduate student in the Department of Linguistics at UC Berkeley.Sources:
Ibrahim Index of African Governance
World Bank Botswana Poverty Assessment