Connie Molothegi – Botswana

Connie Molothegi – Botswana

Date: July 1, 2015
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I now have a servant’s quarter house. I have painted it, put in the ceiling and tiles. I have also managed to buy furniture. I now have water and electricity, and I am able to pay the utilities. I have bought a TV and a bed. My children used to watch TV at my neighbours. I am earning P900 ( £71) per month, and I am now off the government destitute programme.

Lobatse town council in Botswana provided support to a group of women with no start up capital but with lots of potential in an attempt to eradicate poverty and address the problem of unemployment in the district. The council conducted a mass needs assessment in the district in order to assess the potential for local economic development (LED). The assessment revealed a gap in the area of skills development. Lobatse Town Council is promoting Local Economic Development through planning and organizing events such as Market Day, People’s Day, Mayor’s High Tea, and a business forum workshop. Addressing the high level of poverty, especially among women, is one of the priorities in our town council gender action plan.

The district strategy to eradicate poverty is to promote production and income generation through small-scale entrepreneurship among the poorest and most marginalized people. Another objective for local economic development activities is to create employment opportunities for residents, both men and women, especially those on social welfare support. I am one of the beneficiaries; I am a mother of five, two girls and three boys. This is a story of how the LED transformed my life, and the life of my entire family.

I had an unemployed husband, and I did not have any source of income to support the whole family, particularly regarding education. I visited the social and community development office to seek assistance and I was later assessed and registered under the destitution program. I was assisted with a food basket, school uniform, mattress and some blankets. I was staying in a shack without a toilet, clean water and electricity. I got water from the neighbors, and used their pit latrines. I used to collect firewood from the bush for cooking and at times do menial jobs like laundering to earn a living. It was enough to buy small things like candles, and basic food items.

I was referred to a rehabilitation program while I was still assisted under the destitution programme. The social and community development office conducted a needs assessment, and I showed interest in a catering project. I went through a training on catering with a group of 5 women for six months. Two of the women dropped out, but I finished the training. The department gave us start up funds, and using this, the three of us started the “Ipopeng Take Away and Restaurant.” We got P15,000 (equivalent to £ 1190) to purchased materials and equipment for the restaurant. We have now registered our business name with the Registrar of Companies, and we opened a business account. We were awarded a trading license in February 2010. The restaurant is operating successfully. Our major clients are mostly different government departments such the council, police, and youth. We also serve the people in community. Now we are running at a gross profit of P60,000 ( £4761) since we started.

I am planning to extend my house because my children have grown up. Now they are crowded in one bedroom. The oldest is 24 years and the youngest is 12 years. My husband is still engaging himself in piecemeal jobs. This project has clearly changed my life; now I can support myself, and my children are living much better. I hope other women have the same opportunities I do.


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