There has never been a better opportunity for creatives and innovators to step up and usher in new solutions to challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic than now. Botswana Innovation Hub (BIH) supports some innovations that consumers may find useful during this time of restricted movements, extreme social distancing and many other preventative measures to contain and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
MyFoodness Delivery App is one such innovation. It is one of the fastest growing delivery Apps in Africa, according to BIH. MyFoodness delivers to the consumer’s doorstep with contactless delivery. Users order on the App and pay digitally. Items that can be ordered from the App include groceries from Spar G-West, restaurant food from Kebbabish, The Daily Grind, Saffron, Eastern Crescent, Fego, Pizzahut and The Meatin Joint.
MyFoodness has fully trained their delivery staff to do ‘contactless delivery’, which they implemented recently to help their riders, restaurant partners and consumers stay safe and free from COVID-19. MyFoodness App is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Another App is ClassMate Online which makes home schooling more efficient.
This is an inclusive, Social E-Learning platform for students and educators to access educational content and promote collaborative learning. The platform currently offers educational Botswana General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE) content such as syllabuses, past examination papers, education quizzes, e-library books, video tutorials.
With Classmate Online, education is not limited to the classroom teaching environment. Download Classmate from the Google Play Store. SkymartBW on the other hand is an e-commerce online marketplace that is transforming the local and regional industry. With SkymartBW, customers can purchase their products online at their own convenience and comfort.
Businesses can also pitch up a Sky Seller Store and sell their products and services online. SkymartBW has 210 merchants with over 7 000 items for customers to choose from. SkymartBW makes same day deliveries within Gaborone and surrounding areas and delivers within one to two days around Botswana through Sprint Couriers and DHL Botswana.
SkymartBW also has delivery partners; Botswana Post EMS, DHL International and Fedex Economy for the rest of the world. Another life-saving App is PriceMate that enables consumers to compare prices before shopping. It gives consumers easy access and an opportunity to compare products as well as services across the country for free before they embark on shopping.
Pricemate hosts shopping catalogues/specials from various merchants across Botswana, restaurant menus, newspaper front pages and it offers advertising slots for companies to advertise their products and services. The user-friendly website boosts more than 70 000 visitors to date. PriceMate is available on Google Play Store for android users as well as on its website.
Retention Range is another innovation, which is an Open Source Software Company manufacturing computers, parts, components and accessories. The computers have three packages namely; RETENTIONedu which offers desktops and laptops for schools and home running on RETENTIONedu Operating system; RETENTIONclassic offering desktops and laptops running on linuxmint operating system and RETENTIONlegacy Desktops and laptops running on Microsoft windows operating system.
RETENTIONedu comes pre-packaged with educational content for preschool, primary, secondary and tertiary students. The educational material is a combination of visual, audio, interactive, practicals and teaching aids that assist students in learning. The latest addition to the package is a desktop application for pre and primary school exercises and tests. These exercises and tests are currently offered online for free as a contribution towards education continuity in the face of the Covid-19. According to BIH Brand and Communications Manager, Kemiso Ben, in addition to these innovative solutions, BIH has a pool of developers who are ready to deploy the necessary solutions.
It is often said that it’s OK to speak to plants, but you should be worried if the plants seem to speak back to you. Director of Valour Mental Wellness in Francistown, Charlotte Siya, recently reiterated this and advised members of the public to prioritise their mental wellbeing during the lockdown.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought distress and stress for many people, most of who are struggling to be distanced from their usual daily routines and loved ones, as well as panic over strained economic and social prospects. Siya said all this could have a negative impact on the mind. She pointed out that as much as this could be a good time for self-introspection, such periods could also instigate or aggravate mental health conditions such as depression.
“Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming, causing strong emotions in adults and children. Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations and how one responds to the outbreak can depend on their background, the things that make them different from other people, and the community they live in,” she said. Siya further said that people who may respond strongly to the stress of the crisis include those at higher risk of COVID-19, people who are working on the frontlines such as healthcare workers and first responders, as well as people who have mental health conditions including problems with substance abuse.
Siya said mental wellness encompasses a greater part of holistic health. She suggested steps that many could take to support themselves during lockdown. “Limit watching news, reading unverified information on social media or listening too much to stories of how bad things are because this can be upsetting and stressful and also lead to physical pains such as terrible headaches and body aches.”
She also said that taking care of the body is also important. “Take deep breaths, stretch or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly and get plenty of sleep. Avoid alcohol and drugs. Make time to unwind and do activities that you enjoy. “Also find time to connect with others and talk to people you trust about your concerns. Not everyone is going to use this time to make a major breakthrough but resting and taking time from our daily activities can help us come out stronger,” she said.
Conflicts often arise during such periods of tension, isolation or forced containment and Siya said people could try and use their time and energy constructively and positively. She said communication is the best policy. “Couples and family members can use this time to talk and iron out issues. It is unavoidable for people to not have a misunderstanding when spending time together but it is important to talk about it. “For those who struggle with this, I suggest connecting with friends or engaging organisations with professionals equipped to help with conflict resolution.”