Official urges co-operative to diversify

27 Nov 2023

Members of newly formed Dikujwana Multipurpose Co-operative Society in Nxaraga have been implored to be innovative so to diversify their operations,  create wealth and contribute to society.

Senior Gender Officer, Mr Felix Mapeu, said this during the handing over of Dikujwana Basketry Co-operative project constructed by Save Wildlife Organization to the tune of P96 000 through its women empowerment programme purposed to alleviate poverty, empower women led initiatives and gender mainstreaming at community level.

Co-operatives, he said, had the potential to eradicate poverty, generate employment and address challenges of income inequality in the society.

The event was held under the theme “Establishing collaborations for sustainable development.”

 Mr Mapeu appreciated Save Wildlife Organization for its contributions to cooperatives to advance the achievement of sustainable development goals.

He said the assistance was also in line with the President, Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi’s reset agenda which calls for new approaches to bring clear, evident and immediate change to ensure prosperity for all. Cooperators were also encouraged to find more ways to create income to sustain themselves and contribute towards economic and social development.

“You should work with local authorities and other stakeholders to bring developments and continue to empower your children and other youth so that they maintain the legacy of weaving in future. Indigenous knowledge must not die a silent death but it should be passed to upcoming generation to uphold to culture and tradition,” he added.

Mr Mapeu urged the co-operative to participate in national and international fairs to become visible and expand their market avenues. 

Members were encouraged to ensure the sustainability of Mokolwane tree which they used to weave unique and colourful baskets.

The tree is reported to be one of the protected trees in Botswana and they were advised to consider securing a piece of land to plant the tree for sustainability of their project.

The Co-operative Chairperson, Ms Keene Dipateletso, was happy their dream came true, noting that initially they operated individually from their homestead, but through Kgosi Gaolatlhe Kgosigaenyatswe’s engagement, Save Wildlife constructed a facility where they would display their works to access markets.

Ms Dipateletso appreciated that the organization had already helped them to penetrate the international market, adding that they intended to increase production to make better profits.

“We really appreciate the organization for inspiring us to start a co-operative and we also thank officers for drilling us on entrepreneurship skills, marketing and accounting and we are now ready to produce quality works which could meet international standards,” she added.

Save Wildlife’s Project Officer, Mr Tendai Kholi, said they were committed to working with local communities on conservation issues. He said their partnership with the co-operative started in 2018 following a plea from the community to save hippos stranded and exposed to heat at Nxaraga hippo pool following the drying up of Thamalakane River.

While the organisation responded positively to the community’s plea to provide water to the hippos, he said they learnt about some basketry women and came on board to support their endeavor. He said he appreciated all structures which made it possible for the co-operative to register, and be where it was today adding that the name ‘Dikujwana was derived from Dikubu (hippos which they saved.

Head of co-operatives department in Maun, Ms Ivy Nduna, commended members for demonstrating commitment and determination saying co-operatives played a vital role in the empowerment of Batswana.

She encouraged them to unite and do things transparently to take their cooperative to greater heights. 

They should also familiarize and heed the guidelines of the cooperative transformation strategy so that they could develop, grow and be sustainable.

Ms Nduna challenged cooperative members to work as a unit to overcome challenges. She said some cooperatives collapsed because of poor governance, divisions and mismanagement of funds. ENDS

Source : BOPA

Author : Esther Mmolai

Location : NXARAGA

Event : Women empowerment programme

Date : 27 Nov 2023