The Mayor of Francistown Sylvia Muzila says that the city of Francistown is continuing with its poverty eradication and employment creation programmes.
Addressing a full council meeting Monday, Muzila said that poverty eradication efforts have improved a number of lives adding that, more effort needs to be done to uplift more lives in Francistown. Thus far, fifty (50) applications for the Youth Grant have been received, she said.
“On the marketing part, expositions are being held for the Youth and Women to showcase their products. One such exposition was the Poverty Eradication Exposition which was held on 27 July 2017 under the theme: ‘Eradicating Poverty And Empowering Of Beneficiaries To Change Perception,’ she said.
She said the main objective was to expose marketing opportunities and enable beneficiaries to network and share ideas. Muzila said that in an endeavour to assist women, another exposition, with participants coming from places such as Serowe, Selibe Phikwe, Francistown, Kasane and Maun, will be held from the 18th to 24 September for beneficiaries to come under one roof to showcase their products, learn from one another, share skills, experiences and ideas as well as network with each other.
“The theme for the event is, Be Bold For Change; Connecting Women To Greater Markets,” revealed Muzila who proceeded to explain that the theme is in line with the International Women’s Day as it seeks to implore women entrepreneurs to change their mindset in the way they operate their businesses.
Muzila also told Council that, in a show of commitment to the empowerment of women and gender equality through gender responsive legislation and policies, government has signed the Revised Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol on Gender Development. Muzila appealed to her colleagues to mainstream gender issues, “We all have a role to play in addressing these issues and it is for this reason that I urge you to attend the coming exposition in large numbers,” she urged.
The Mayor also appealed to the community of Francistown to engage in sustainable agricultural initiatives despite limited land for agricultural purposes in the city and its surroundings. “We do have the 139 hectares farm of this Council by the Mambo Treatment Plant that could be outsourced to the private sector for job creation.
“We do also have the 18 hectares at Donga that can be designated for agricultural initiatives and other pockets of agricultural land in the city. Through the initiatives from the community and your own collective decisions, funding from the Constituency Programme can be utilised,’’ explained the Mayor.
She noted that, as a way of eradicating poverty everywhere, there is a need to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all by way of achieving equal access for all men and women to affordable quality technical, vocational and tertiary education, including university training.
“If we focus on attaining this goal, we will substantially increase the number of youths and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship. More importantly, we also need to build and upgrade education facilities that are child, disability and gender sensitive and provide non-violent, inclusive and effective learning environment for all,” said Muzila.
She said that out of 20 schools in Francistown, seven (7) are offering reception classes. The current enrolment stands at 329 learners which number is constituted by 144 boys and 185 girls. Muzila explained that, programmes such as the Youth Development Fund, Poverty Eradication, Gender Affairs Grant and Local Economic Development Programme, are geared towards the creation of employment.
“The availability of institutions such as the Local Enterprise Authority (LEA), the Citizen Entrepreneurial Agency (CEDA), Business Botswana and many others also have their stake towards employment creation,” said Muzila.