Local mobile network service provider, Mascom Wireless has awarded 11 Kitsong Centres to the youth to operate as their own businesses, an initiative the company started in 2009. Since then, Mascom has invested over P35 million into the initiative.
The recent roll out of the Kitsong centers has brought the total number to 110 in villages across the country.
Speaking at the awarding ceremony on Friday, Minister of Transport and Communications, Kitso Mokaila encouraged the beneficiaries to take the opportunity as a stepping stone to improving their lives, building their communities and growing the businesses to be multimillion Pula ventures.
“As business owners, they should learn from the concept that, in business you start small and grow big. They should collaborate as entrepreneurs to share experiences, challenges as well as developing solutions to their problems, to avoid being dependent on Mascom but show commitment and rise to the occasion,” he said.
Mascom came up with the initiative of the Kitsong centres as one of its social investment programmes, which came about as the company’s response to the need to transform small villages into knowledge based economies.
The centres provide ICT equipment and services that make it possible for communities to have access to email and internet, to receive computer training, to use mobile money services as well as to buy sim cards and airtime.
Mokaila said; “Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector mainly exists to create an enabling environment for service continuum in other sectors of the economy, facilitating other sectors to thrive, and for that reason, the ICT sector creates employment and contributes to our country’s GDP.”
“The strategic steps of training the youth and also the rolling out of Kitsong Centres as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility came at a time of utmost need, complementing the country’s economic diversification programme, youth empowerment programme and job creation programme. I implore on other captains of industry to embark on such initiatives meant to transform the lives of Batswana.”
Mascom Chief Information Officer, Lilly Sullivan said through the programme, Mascom has found enterprising young minds in some villages who have made some additional service offerings in their villages. The company continues to provide operational support to all centers.
“We have a dedicated team who routinely travel throughout Botswana to check on the centres. The recipients are also supported through skills development and creation of networking opportunities. Later this year Mascom will host a workshop for all centres to launch new services and to explore strategies to make the centres more sustainable,” she said.