In March this year Multotec Botswana – a registered company in Botswana with its head office in Lethlakane – took the bull by the horns and undertook to invest time, money and personnel in a Social Economic Development (SED) educational upliftment programme. The aim is to better the educational lives of school learners in Botswana’s Boteti Region.
Multotec Botswana became involved with the Botswanan Government’s ‘Adopt a School’ programme. The initiative, first introduced by the Botswanan Ministry of Education in 2011 to encourage partnership between government and the private sector, allows companies and individuals to adopt a school by contributing to their physical upkeep and educational requirements. This, it is anticipated, will lead to an improved level of education and training in Botswana.
As Multotec Botswana believes in giving back to the communities it serves, as well as being prominent advocates of the importance of educational development, an initiative of this kind is in line with the company’s SED goals. “The winning formula here is that initiatives such as this allow us to contribute to Motswanan children’s educational requirements while bringing Multotec closer to our communities,” explains Kris Vergote, General Manager, Multotec Botswana. “It is, after all, from these communities that future Multotec employees and managers will be drawn. So, essentially, it is a win-win initiative.”
Companies participating in this educational initiative are requested to contribute to the schools they choose in various ways. Examples of contributions include sponsoring individual students or workers wishing to learn, or sponsoring entire educational programmes; providing equipment and facilities that will aid school goers; granting the means to obtain tutorials and coaching for students; conducting school facility maintenance and repairs; sponsoring school uniforms; supplementing students’ meals, and many others.
Mokane Primary – Multotec’s first adoptee
In the spirit of community upliftment, on 2 March 2017 Multotec Botswana adopted the Mokane Primary School in Boteti. The school is educational home to 1 078 students and 30 teachers, and provides employment to an additional 15 Motswanan’s whose duties encompass cooking, cleaning and hand stamping. Only 28 classrooms and eight pit latrine toilets were available to students, the buildings and classrooms required several coats of paint and the chalkboards used to instruct school-goers were something to be desired.
“We feel strongly about this particular SED initiative as education is key to any countries’ future,” Vergote points out. “Absorbing and retaining the knowledge imparted at school can be difficult. However, when simple amenities such as running water, proper ablution facilities and decent food preparation areas are unavailable, it makes the learning process more difficult. We have undertaken to do our utmost to make Mokane Primary a school conducive to learning and a place learners and teachers are proud to be a part of. This ultimately improves the children’s chances of future prosperity.”
Projects at the school that were completed during 2017 include the acquisition and installation of a pressure pump station along with standpipes; five three-legged pot stands were acquired; five water system toilets were renovated; a new school entrance gate was constructed; the school buildings and 20 classrooms received their well-deserved coats of paint; chalkboards in those classrooms were also painted to make them more conducive for teacher-learner instruction, as was done for an additional 10 movable chalkboards and; last, but certainly not least, Multotec supplied the school with 14 dusters and designed three movable chalkboards. “Projects that are still underway and will be completed in 2018 include developing a school garden, acquiring two large gas pots, and construction of a school storage shed, says Vergote.
Subsequent to some of the upgrades being completed, feedback extracted from a report of activities in the school reads: “…the five toilets renovated have also brought about great relief”. “This is an indication of just some of the gratitude received from the school’s management,” says Kris Vergote, General Manager, Multotec Botswana, “and we think the pun was intended,” he smiles.
Multotec Botswana’s commitment to this SED initiative is reflected by the fact that all work for these projects is carried out by Multotec personnel. “Our employees give up their free time to carry out these projects, which shows their level of commitment to Multotec and to Botswana’s regional communities,” says Vergote proudly.
Installation of a pressure pump station along with standpipes
Chalkboards were painted to make them more conducive for teacher-learner instruction
Providing continuous service
The adoption of Mokane Primary School is not a once off initiative, but rather a continuous project where Multotec Botswana will continue to aid the school and its learners with ongoing upkeep and development projects. The budget that Multotec Botswana allocated to this project more than doubled in carrying out the above-listed scope of work, from P30 000 (P = Pula, a rand equivalent currency) to almost P66 000. The company will, however, continue with these and future improvements for its adopted school.
Multotec Botswana participated in the school’s prize-giving ceremony held on 29 November 2017, where they donated an additional P3 000 to the school and provided personnel to aid with all aspects pertaining to the prize-giving ceremony. “School management was extremely appreciative of our help, and the fact that both I and our Field Services Manager Allen Rousseau were able to attend and deliver a speech at the ceremony was also cherished.”
To show the appreciation of school management, we paraphrase some feedback received from Mokane Primary School Head, Judith Mashabane: “We would like to express our gratitude to the company for its initiative in adopting our school. The school’s appearance has been transformed and it is now more appealing. Teaching is now done effectively due to the smooth use of the upgraded chalkboards and donated dusters and chalk. The five renovated toilets have brought about great relief and the water station plays a critical role in the provision of surplus water in times of need. Our learners used to crowd on to one standpipe and the additional standpipes designed by you have made a significant impact. All this thanks to you, MULTOTEC!”
In addition to the above, Multotec Botswana received a letter of appreciation from the Boteti Sub District Council, and another from the school’s Project Coordinator, staff and PTA in which they outlined their gratitude. A portion of that letter, paraphrased, reads: The assistance, development and co-operation shown by Multotec deserves credit. Many of the projects that have been implemented have helped to overcome or minimise the numerous challenges that hindered school performance. Subsequently, academic results have improved.”
Ongoing educational SED
2018 will be another year of educational SED for Multotec Botswana as, in addition to its continuous sponsorship of Mokane Primary, the company will begin work on another adopted school, Sekoma Primary School in Jwaneng. Some of the projects to be undertaken by Multotec at this school include purchasing kitchen equipment; painting the school’s walls; repairing classroom floors and replacing worn-out ceilings, fixing or replacing broken windows and purchasing school stationery.
“We will continue to contribute to the upliftment of schools as part of our ongoing SED,” Vergote concludes. “Education is essential – a good education even more so. By contributing to these schools basic requirements we’re contributing to advancing their children’s education, which will ultimately benefit Botswana as a country.”
View the Boteti Sub District Council appreciation letter here
View the school’s Project Coordinator, staff and PTA appreciation letter here