Botswana: North East District promotes Women Economic Empowerment

Date: August 23, 2018
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The Women Economic Empowerment Programme (WEE) helps eradicate poverty on vulnerable people especially women and people living with disability as well as striving towards Gender equality through empowering women with funds to start business hence less dependence on man.

The key objective of this project  is to empower women to start projects there can sustain themselves hence promoting gender equality & reduction of economic dependency on men and also reduce Gender Based Violence.

There main activities are:

Project Proposals/Applications, Screening of proposals, Site assessment for qualified screened proposals, submission of qualified proposals to the District Economic Development Committee for approving potential Projects, Prefunding Workshops(Engagement of different organisations and technical aspects to facilitate beneficiaries on different business management techniques, Signing of contracts, Disbursement of funds, Implementation as per project type and continuous monitoring.

The project has benefited about 5 000 women with 2 500 active groups. The project reaches 7 637 indirect beneficiaries. The North East District allocated $539 2194 to this project. In kind contributions amounted to $5 392 194. The total budget for the project is $10 784 388.

We have a template on monitoring and evaluation which has just been introduced but is not yet in use. In any case we measure gender balance by insuring each and every project involves a woman. Our selection criteria is based on the presence of women in each project.

Group Dynamics, Beneficiaries who are not committed to their projects and those who do not comply to contract obligation (eg failure to submit progress reports. In overcoming these challenges groups are encouraged to liase with organisation that can assist them in resolving conflicts that arise between them, prefunding workshops are also utilised to alert the beneficiaries before starting their projects on challenges they may encounter and how they can resolve such. Through monitoring they are also encouraged to own up for their project and account to everything that happens (There are encouraged to work hand in hand with expects in their projects).

Women’s standard of living has improved as the project gives them a source of income. Women have become more independent’ they no longer sit at home and depend on men for household provision. By so doing the prevalence of gender based violence issues have decrease. There has been several cases where women have even continued their academic lives. They are now able to identify business opportunities as a result of the empowerment. The annual Women’s Expo hosted by our office enables women to share entrepreneurship ideas and life experiences.

Livia Langwane_ Leratamang Mapoka Curtains business owner said that “I was funded by the Gender Office in Masunga at a tune P93 731. 67 in 2017. Although i had been operating my business with the little available resources I had, their intervention boosted my business in terms of marketing.”

Men have become supportive in so many ways. They are mostly the ones who accompany these women in terms of applications, expo support and logistics. On projects like small stock and cattle production, men have become actively involved in herding these animals. They are hands on during the implementation of the project.

The community has now become aware of this intervention. The community now benefits from these projects in various villages. The introduction of these funded projects have economically development the state of our villages as we have noticed high employment rates when it comes to the absorption of PWD’s and youth in these projects. The projects have also led to local dependence when it comes to issues of supply and demand.

A majority of people have become more welcoming to the objectives of the project. In the beginning most people overlooked such government initiatives pointing out that they are for the vulnerable or poor. But that has changed’ we see more people even the highly educated have become more interested mas they flood our offices on quests to inquire about procedures.

We have noticed that the prevalent group dynamic issue has risen issues in areas of decision making and cooperation. So we have tried to curb that by introducing singling out the phenomenon of group dynamics. During monitoring we remind our clients to abide by contractual compliance’s. We also encourage our customers to liaise with local authority offices like the LEA office.

The sustainability of the WEE project can be sustained by putting more emphasis on community sensitization. The project can also be improved by engaging more officers into the whole spectrum.

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