First National Bank Foundation and Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) have officially signed a Memorandum of Understanding for their partnership towards a Corporate Social Investment initiative that has an objective to empower primary school children at remote areas with Solar Backpacks to support their learning at home on 29 August 2018. The signing ceremony opened a gateway to the official launching of the Solar Backpacks by the Assistant Minister of Local Government Honourable Botlogile Tshireletso on 22 October 2018 at a Primary School in Kavimba in the Chobe District. The Solar Backpacks have been embraced by the Ministry of Local Government which oversees the welfare of rural areas in Botswana, the Ministry under which the targeted primary schools are supported.
The Solar Backpacks will be further rolled out to Primary Schools at other regions of the country namely Kweneng, Kgalagadi North/ Hukuntsi, North East, North West, Central and Southern. The FNBB Foundation and Botswana Power Corporation target to have distributed 3000 Solar Bags countrywide by the end of the 2018 calendar year.
The Solar Backpacks are made such that students can comfortably carry their books to school while at the same time the panel attached to the bag charges in the sun during the day so that the light bulb encased within the bag produces enough light to aid during studies at home in the night.
The two (2) entities have a common strategy to empower youth across the country through their Social Investment mandate and this they have demonstrated individually in their previous projects across Botswana. It is through this common intention that FNBB Foundation and Botswana Power Corporation have jointly ventured into a unique approach to supporting the development and growth of primary school children in as far as improvement of academic performance is concerned.
First National Bank Botswana Foundation Milestones:
- As part of the FNBB Foundation’s focal area of ‘social welfare’, the Foundation opted to fund Childline with the construction of a fully-fledged children’s’ shelter, with a living room, children’s bathroom, staff bathroom, kitchen, sick bay and laundry room. The shelter has the capacity to accommodate 20 children at a time.
- FNB Foundation partnered with UNICEF to fund training workshops on the Early Childhood Program.
- From 2015 until 2017, FNBB Foundation donated shoes throughout schools in Botswana, and managed to reach 9000 students.
- The Foundation supported Adore Little Children Botswana Community Based Organisation’s (Ngarange) feeding program for children and initiated a sewing project. FNBB Foundation also assisted the organisation with a new 4x4 vehicle to ensure they will be able to reach their target market in all areas around the delta.
- FNBB Foundation was involved in the Somarela Thothi Project which started in March 2015 and was completed in February 2016. The main objective was to implement a technically and socially sustainable and replicable concept for water loss reduction for the Greater Gaborone area.
- FNBB Foundation donated funds towards the construction of a hostel and a kitchen/ dining hall facility for the Camphill Community Trust in Otse.
Botswana Power Corporation Milestones:
- Botswana Power Corporation constructed and handed over houses to beneficiaries at Nata and Palapye in partnership with the Presidential Housing Appeal program. The Corporation is yet to handover another house by the end of the 2018 calendar year to a family in Kanye village.
- BPC has adopted Ngarange Primary School in the Okavango over a three (3) year period starting from the year 2017. The school has to this far benefitted from sponsorship of prize giving ceremony, procurement of full school uniform for all the students and refurbishment and furnishing of the school library. BPC is currently on a plan to deliver warm school uniform to about 350 school children for use during the next winter season.
- BPC has refurbished and electrified a bakery that is operated by the Gopong Support Group in Borolong. This project involved also construction of an ablution block and branding of the bakery.
- The Window of Hope Centre in Ghanzi has benefitted from support rendered by the Corporation. They have been provided with Stationery, Television Set and 75 pairs of school shoes for all children living at the centre.
It is against this background that FNBB Foundation and BPC have found it relevant to collaborate towards a common intention, to provide solar power to those in need of light for their personal cultivation. The partners will thus ensure that monitoring of academic performance of the student beneficiaries is undertaken to measure the impact of the Solar Backpack citizen empowerment achievement.