Innovation Kgotla, Chobe Holdings Launch Partnership

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Innovation Kgotla, a citizen owned non-governmental organisation that exists to transform innovation spaces has launched its partnership with giant tourism group, Chobe Holding Limited as the main sponsor in a project that is geared towards transforming Ngamiland innovation sphere.

The launch held in Maun on Friday highlighted the future of engineering and innovation in Botswana. The launch of the partnership was preceded by the signing of an agreement of collaboration between Innovation Kgotla, and the German Embassy in Botswana. The embassy will fund the first ever innovation centre in Maun.

The collective effort, themed “Transforming Ngamiland Innovation Space,” primarily sponsored by Chobe Holdings, aimed to inspire and cultivate the next generation of innovators and Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) leaders.

The launch event also hosted a showcase of projects created by aspiring young engineers that have become beneficiaries of the project, mainly from Letsholathebe, Mathiba Primary Schools as well as Tsodilo and Sedie Junior Secondary School – which have all been adopted by Chobe Holdings.

Peter Fella, the Director of Innovation Kgotla, expressed excitement over the collaboration. “This has long been in progress and we are now glad to announce the launch of our partnership with Chobe Holdings. Their support has been instrumental in helping us progress and build individuals within the community to foster a culture that is tangibly seen in cultivating the next generation of engineers and scientists. That, I believe, could be the next Elon Musks of the future.”

The event was filled with the voices and faces of the next generation, focusing on inspiring the future pillars of innovation who will elevate the STEM field not just in Botswana but globally.

Ibo Madandume, CSR coordinator -Chobe Holdings, shared his enthusiasm, stating, “We at Chobe Holdings see it fit to invest in the next generation and promote young scientists starting from where we are. When I see all these up-and-coming talents here, I am motivated to ask, ‘Is this the seed that will bear fruit for all to benefit in the future?’ And I smile because I see the answer already and know it is yes. The future is now, the future is here.”

The event featured various performances, including those by school groups led by their teachers and the VDC women, joined by the German Ambassador in the festivities.

Amongst the notable projects was presented by students from Tsodilo Junior Secondary School (JSS), who demonstrated a mechanical car equipped with sensors to avoid obstacles, showcasing the potential of the next generation when given a platform and opportunity.

Kebatenne Sabure, a teacher from Letsholathebe Primary School, praised the students’ efforts, saying, “I am proud of what the students have managed to design. With this platform, it shows the great things that we can create together. I am inspired and believe that the future will be bright indeed.”

Key stakeholders attended the event, including the German Ambassador Margit Hellwig-Bötte, Kgosi Oleyo Ledimo, Chobe Holdings Managing Director Lempheditse Odumetse, the District Commissioner, and community members as well as students from the four schools who demonstrated their innovative projects.

Innovation Kgotla, a fully citizen -owned NGO, aims to empower Botswana’s youth with ICT skills to support sustainable economic development. Their initiatives address critical issues like food insecurity, youth unemployment, and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2023 alone, Innovation Kgotla impacted over 1,000 Batswana with Data Science scholarships and provided STEM and ICT training to over 250 children.

Looking to the future, Innovation Kgotla plans to establish a series of ICT centers across the Northwest District, known as “Innovation Kgotla Centres.” The German Ambassador Margit Hellwig-Bötte will inaugurate the first Innovation Kgotla Center in Maun, marking a significant step towards achieving their mission.

The collaborative efforts of Innovation Kgotla, the German embassy, and Chobe Holdings underscore the commitment to nurturing young talent and driving innovation in Botswana. This event not only showcased the potential of young engineers but also highlighted the importance of community support in fostering a culture of innovation and progress.

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