Items filtered by date: Friday, 16 October 2020 - Botswana Guardian
Friday, 16 October 2020 12:29

Treats for the body, mind and soul

Afro Botho is set to roll out a series of contemplative practices dubbed ‘Afro Treats’, which are Body, Mind and Soul sessions curated for clients. The desire is for the client to pause from their busy schedules and take a much needed time to  Relax, Rejuvenate and Reset. These services will be offered in Maun and the greater Gaborone.

The event comes amid the many challenges that many are faced with due to the COVID-19 pandemic, activating a lot of anxiety and fear. The events are to take place in October and according to MotherK Masire, it is very easy to feel overwhelmed or stressed as we navigate all of the changes simultaneously. It is during these times when self-care is crucial to good mental and physical health, she explains.

She further says that they have identified two beautiful spaces, and collaborated with them to offer these mental health sessions. An environment and its energy is critical for Afro Botho in providing holistic’ value added service hence the collaboration with Kana Jang at African Casa in Ruretse and Baratani Lodge in Otse to cater for clients in the greater Gaborone zone. Both  places offer serenity and peace of mind.

They will host the inaugural Tea Meditation at Kana Jang   at African Casa in Ruretse on October 25th. The second event is penciled to take place on November 1st at Baratani Lodge in Otse. Masire explains that Tea Meditation commune is an intentional time and space where they gather and enjoy tea primarily in silence, with time for discussion and questions.

“It is a quiet place to contemplate and grow ourselves, to detach from modern anxieties and stressors, and enjoy the moment. Just as one might use sound or movement as a focus for contemplation, tea facilitates physical awareness, stillness, and community,” she explains.

She further notes that the experience will afford their clients with time to enjoy meditative community experience, while learning skills and insights that can deepen their own contemplative practice and appreciation of tea. “It is beginner friendly, inclusive and trauma-sensitive - no previous tea or meditation experience required,” she explains.

Published in Style
Friday, 16 October 2020 12:26

Local mobile company sets foot in Lesotho

Telecommunications company, VIB Mobile Botswana is growing its footprints in Africa. The local brand made a surprise announcement this week about its latest venture in the mountain kingdom of Lesotho.

The local company is a Value-Added Service (VAS) vendor for mobile network operators in Africa, providing SMS messaging, USD, Voice, Email, WhatsApp, and mobile content services.  The announcement is a build-up to something exciting that is loading in Lesotho. The development will be unveiled soon.

Presently, the company that has been in operation since 2010, provides services to users of the three mobile networks in Botswana namely MASCOM, Orange and Be Mobile, providing mobile added services to them.

Speaking in an interview with the Sales & Marketing Executive for the brand, Thuto Sedimo, he explains that it was right for the company to extend its reach and tap into the Lesotho market. The country is just perfect for them as it is almost similar to the local market in Botswana in terms of demographics.

The country has two networks namely Vodacom and Econet, and they are looking forward to passionately doing what they do best. “We are looking forward to enhancing user experiences and giving them user friendly services,” he says. He further notes that the new venture started in October, and their announcement about this exciting project is a build-up to something even more exciting.

“We are working on unveiling something for Basotho soon,” he explains adding that they want to build the suspense for the surprise in question. He further says that they have had an amazing reception, and that they are looking forward to fully tapping into the market.

Quizzed on which other country they were eyeing, he indicated that it was too soon to tell, and that they are always ready to tap into opportunities that might arise.     Meanwhile, the company remains committed to increasing the revenue stream for artists as evidenced by the royalties that they pay to the artists every year.

Published in Business
Friday, 16 October 2020 12:21

Fashion Without Borders on virtual stage

The annual Fashion Without Borders extravaganza is slated to take place this week. The event that was initially penciled to take place earlier this year is finally happening. It is booked to happen at the Molapo Piazza. This year the organisers are rolling an innovative digital fashion platform for designers, and have adapted to the new normal. It is scheduled to take place on Thursday and Friday. A series of mini events will form part of the event that have been themed ‘phygital’ (physical space and digital technologies).

One of the major activities to look forward to is the Masterclasses, both physical and webinar. The Masterclasses will see key figures in the industry leading a number of discussions on Thursday. Notable figures who will be leading these Fashion Unpacked Masterclasses include both local celebrated names as well as Guest’ Speakers from South Africa. These include Emma Wareus, the former Miss World 2010 runner-up, and an Economic Policy Consultant who will share her insights about the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on the Fashion Industry. 

Also taking to the podium is none other than one of South Africa’s celebrated fashion designer and entrepreneur namely, Thula Sindi who will share his views on the future of the Fashion Industry in Africa during and post Covid-19. Influencer, entrepreneur, and CEO of Glam Troupe, Mohale Motaung will share with the audience the art of business branding, brand etiquette, and the life of an influencer post the Covid-19 era. The brains behind iZaura, Mothusi Lesolle will also share the business of Fashion in Botswana, and the impact of Covid-19 in the local fashion scene.

Other speakers include Sibongile Mazibuko who happens to be an expert in Hair Care. She will share her insights on Hair Care, and which products to use from BLM Naturals. The Vice President of Corporate Affairs at De Beers Group, Pat Dambe will share her wealth of knowledge on her experience and what it takes to run a powerhouse company.  Other panellists include Photographer Peter Yuri on Personal Branding, Business Etiquette, and Brand Association, Khalala Mokefane-Head of Wholesale Banking for Bank Gaborone, about all services that can be offered to small businesses.

On Friday, the fashion show has been divided into two sessions. Fashion designers to look forward to include the likes of Connie Senyatso of Diconzo Designs, Kagiso Lesotlho of Donlu Amore, Trudy Bakwena of Trudy Vidic, Kanyo Molale of Kanyo and many more.  Speaking in an interview with this publication, co-founder of the event, Serge Kabisoso explains that the event is normally held on the first week of April. The event focuses on upcoming designers and models from disadvantaged backgrounds and open to all in the fashion industry in all aspects of fashion (visual artists, make-up artists, hair dressers, and many more. The models and designers are usually from Southern Africa.

Sharing the idea behind this year’s event, he notes that the focus is on the business aspects of the fashion industry, production of quality garments, and cultural exchange between African countries. He further notes that the fashion scene for the longest time has been purely for entertainment purposes.  
“With the sudden mushrooming of model agencies and fashion events in and around Botswana, FWBBW has proved and shown sustainability of quality fashion events that add positively to the fashion industry,” he explains.

He further notes that when it comes to the panellists, they were looking for relevant names in the industry who will share experiences with the participants relating to the Fashion Industry.

Published in Northren Extra

Cristiano Ronaldo is the latest sports superstar to contract COVID-19 after testing positive on Tuesday, although the Juventus and Portuguese forward remains asymptomatic.

The 35-year-old played for Portugal against France on Sunday and will now miss a game against Sweden in the Nations League, a competition run by European soccer’s governing body UEFA, in addition to a Juventus game or two. There is no telling where he contracted the virus. Juventus, which had two coronavirus-positive staffers, says Ronaldo tested negative up until his departure for Portugal’s camp for the international break. There is also no telling whom he might have given it to, although Portugal says every other player in the squad tested negative on Tuesday.

Ronaldo’s positive test offers a stark reminder that Europe and soccer remain very much in the thrall of the pandemic. It underscores, too, that perhaps not every game is equally important and that the necessity of playing them should be considered more carefully. Granted, it’s entirely possible that Ronaldo, who was spared infection during Turin’s roaring outbreak in the spring, contracted the disease before leaving for Portugal duty.

But international soccer represents a needless risk all the same. Unlike club soccer, be it the domestic leagues or continental competitions, it is inessential to sustaining the business of professional soccer. As it was argued in this space last week, only the final round of Euro 2021 playoffs had any urgency to be played, and even those could have been put off a few more months.

There was no good reason to play friendlies in this window. And the various continental Nations Leagues could just as easily have been shelved for a year, without significantly damaging the sport. (TV broadcast contracts could have been fulfilled in other ways down the line.)

Sending all of those players scurrying around the world, mixing the bubbles and pods the clubs have carefully maintained, always represented a danger to the game at large. Ronaldo is hardly the only player to have become infected during this international break. And he isn’t the first of the game’s high-wattage stars to get the virus either; Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and several other men you might have seen in TV commercials became victims previously.

Regardless of the origins of Ronaldo’s infection, the rash of new positive tests among national team players — members of the national teams of Ukraine, Peru, Switzerland, Spain, Senegal and other countries have missed games with this window because of COVID-19 — vindicates concerns their clubs held all along.

They were vehemently opposed to releasing their players to the national teams for fear of the virus spreading among their squads, both while they were away and when they returned, and incapacitating them for upcoming games. It is the clubs, after all, who pay the players’ salaries. They had the backing of international players association FIFPro and the European Club Association in this. But FIFA and UEFA forged ahead with the international window regardless, never mind a club schedule that had already been compressed into a shorter timeframe.

Published in Sports
Friday, 16 October 2020 12:02

BOKA equips technical department

In the time of Covid -19 where sports has been crippled with little to no activity, some sports codes have resorted to operational activities, enhancing the experience and training of coaches and referees.

The Botswana Karate Association (BOKA) has not been left behind in the quest to equip and refine coaches and referees with the necessary skills. The association hosted its coaching course over the weekend where 12 coaches and 25 referees attended and under went training. In an interview, BOKA president Tshepo Bathai said referees and Coaching Courses are carried out in four places around Botswana. “We hosted the first one in Gaborone this past weekend, the next will be in Palapye on16th October, followed by Francistown on 17th October and Maun on the 24th.”

The referees and Technical Commissions conduct the courses. Sensei Mpho Bakwadi is the main resource person in the Referees course while Sensei Christopher Ponatshego resources the coaches. Moreover, successful individuals will be accredited Coaches, Certified Kumite Coach and Certified Kata Coach, “Our first session in Gaborone, saw only 35 coaches and referees grace the event.”

Bathai said they are expecting over 55 coaches and referees across the country to graduate from the courses. In addition, these courses are minimum requirements for any coach to officiate at BOKA events. Meanwhile, the training of coaches and referees is expected to greatly benefit BOKA, “this means we will have more athletes understanding WKF rules and have a smooth running of the local championships,” Bathai said.

Moreover, he said they are expecting to host a Kata tournament the first weekend of December.“We are hosting our Championship, for now we are not certain if it will be an online kata tournament or it will fuse in all of our styles.”

Published in Sports

The Director General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) has implored SADC Members of Parliament to unite and build resilient health systems, saying they are “the best defence against any health emergency”.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus made the plea on Sunday in a pre-recorded video message to MPs virtually attending the 47th Plenary Assembly Session of the SADC Parliamentary Forum. He stressed that unity among the region’s lawmakers regardless of political affiliation as well as collaboration of member states would galvanise national and regional responses to the pandemic. COVID-19 has claimed the lives of more than one million people all over the world.

Ghebreyesus said: “Political leadership must be united across political party lines and between countries. We are all in this together. As parliamentarians, you have a critical role to play in demonstrating the solidarity that is needed so badly to defeat this virus.” On equity, Ghebreyesus implored the MPs to use their privileged positions as representatives of the people and as legislators to ensure distribution of treatment services and vaccines in a manner that reaches populations with the greatest need.

He underscored the need for regaining trust and the dissemination of accurate information during the COVID-19 crisis. “If we are to control this virus, it’s critical that countries share up-to-date information,” he said. Ghebreyesus is the first African to be appointed Director-General of the WHO. He became the first WHO official at his level to address the SADC PF, which brings together 15 national parliaments of southern Africa. He told the lawmakers that attaining development in the absence of good health was not easy.

“My brothers and sisters, COVID-19 has demonstrated that health is not just an outcome of development. It is a prerequisite. When we promote and protect health, we promote and protect jobs, businesses, education, gender equality, peace, sustainability and more,” he said. Observers said by referring to the MPs as “my brothers and sisters”, Ghebreyesus remarkably appealed to pathos, put himself on the same level with his target audience and thus regarded them as co-creators of knowledge and solutions.

The Director-General said working together would not only end the pandemic but “build the healthier, safer, fairer Africa we all want.” The SADC PF Plenary was held under the theme: ‘The Role of Parliaments in Strengthening Accountability during a pandemic: The Case of Covid-19.’ Ghebreyesus said a lot had been achieved in Africa towards containing widespread community transmission of COVID-19 and expanding testing. He, however, said many people were still susceptible and called for vigilance.

He stressed that the virus was still circulating, disrupting economies, upending health systems and jinxing efforts to respond to other communicable diseases. In some cases, immunisation programmes were being compromised, while politicisation of public health and weak governance and other challenges were creating gaps in which the virus could thrive.

Published in News

The world is grappling with the increasing spread of COVID-19, and in addition to the direct health effects of the pandemic, education systems and student learning worldwide has been paralysed.

Over 1.6 billion children were out of school at the height of the pandemic globally, and over 900 000 from primary and secondary schools in Botswana.
Young Love, a non-governmental organisation in Botswana that is conducting educational programming in partnership with the Ministry of Basic Education (MoBE) took decisive and early action to ensure school-going children would not be left behind due to the pandemic.

They provided remote “low-tech” services via phone calls and SMS to provide educational instruction for students in 10 000 households across Botswana with no need of internet connectivity. According to Advocacy and Communications Manager Dorothy Okhach, they ran a rapid randomised trial and produced some of the first experimental evidence on minimising the fallout of the pandemic on learning. “Our results show that remote instruction by phone and simple SMS texts can reduce innumeracy by up to 52 percent for less than approximately P140 per child”.

The trial was run in partnership with the University of Oxford, Colombia University and the Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) and is now actively exploring partnerships with IPA and the World Bank, among other partners to replicate the results across contexts. According to Okhach, prior to the closure of schools as a result of the lockdowns, their in-school remedial education programme, Teaching at the Right Level (TaRL), had provided a large learning boost, reducing innumeracy from 30 percent to six percent across four of the 10 regions in Botswana. Teaching at the Right Level is a remedial education programme implemented in primary schools in Botswana by Young Love through a partnership with the Ministry of Basic Education, Ministry of Youth Empowerment Sport and Culture Development, UNICEF and USAID.

Young Love has a memorandum of understanding with MoBE to scale the programme to all primary schools in the country. In addition to the low tech interventions, they produced an interactive radio show which was aired on RB2 for four weeks. The show incorporated elements of the numeracy curriculum and was aligned with the weekly activities that were sent out to the students. Over 40 percent of the households that received the interventions tuned in to the radio show. Implementation of the intervention was done concurrently with an evaluation to enable the organisation to generate some of the first rigorous evidence on what works to minimise the fallout of the pandemic.

According to Co-Founder and Country Coordinator of Young Love, Moitshepi Matsheng the programme reached over 20 percent of primary schools in Botswana in four regions namely, North East, South East, Kgatleng and Chobe. Digital programme findings indicate that a cohort of students received only text messages while  others received both text messages and phone calls. The use of text messages alone reduced innumeracy by 34 percent.
A combination of SMS messages and phone calls reduce innumeracy by 52 percent. Both interventions increased learning mostly for students with larger learning gaps prior to the intervention.

Matsheng says both interventions are relatively cost effective and scalable if effected in a targeted manner. Parent engagement increased meaningfully as well.  “Parents have been more engaged in educational activities of the

children more during the course of the intervention,” she says.  
According to Young Love the demand for low-tech interventions is high, as 98 percent of huseholds wanted to continue the programme after four weeks.
Of the households that received the programme, 99 percent of parents want remote learning services. Their research also reveals the potential for parents to play a larger role in their child’s education.
Prior research has shown the parents serve as effective complements to school inputs, providing motivation and accountability to the traditional schooling system.
“We find that parents with light additional support can partially substitute schooling by serving as at-home teachers. This includes parents in both rural and urban communities and with limited to no formal teacher training.”
This, according to the organisation suggests potential for greater parent-teacher interaction around a child’s education.
While many schemes exist to facilitate parent and teacher interaction in school systems worldwide already such as report cards and parent-teacher associations (PTAs), results suggest that these built-in interaction points in low or middle-income country contexts might be substantially enhanced with simple, easy-to-engage learning content that parents can directly engage their child in at home.
Okhach, Advocacy and Communications Manager says their digital programming is a response to a need for continued education during a crisis.
“It is time to incorporate alternative approaches to education programming for continued learning to occur. This is the time to involve parents in the process of learning.
“Alternative methods of education programming will ensure that as a nation we do not have fallout during any other crisis.”
Young Love believes that low-tech solutions are cheap and feasible to deliver at scale, as both rely on phones and do not require internet access.
While only 15 percent to 60 percent of households in low and middle-income countries have internet access, 70 percent to 90 percent of households own at least one mobile phone.
“This high rate of access means these low-tech solutions have the potential to teach the masses in an era of unprecedented school closures, especially for low resource families with limited access to the internet and alternative sources of learning at home”.
According to the organisation, the results also have implications for school closure beyond the current pandemic. School closures occur during annual school holidays, other public health crises, natural disasters, and during weather-related shocks.

Published in News

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