Tokafala program officials have decried the low uptake of Youth Development programme which aims to equip young people entrepreneurship skills and professional development components.
Tokafala is an enterprise development program that focuses on helping entrepreneurs develop the business, financial management and marketing skills they need to build successful and sustainable businesses.
The program also assist unemployed youth who seek to become economically active, through supported sectors such as tourism, agro-processing, mining and textile.
Speaking during a stakeholder engagement, Youth Development programme, Bingani Setume said low uptake of the program was worrisome indicating that majority of people drop out were females due to social (competing priorities) and financial constraints.
Through TokafalaYouth Development Program, she said 235 young people had been assisted to become economically active through enterprise or employment. The program is implemented in three hubs being Gaborone, Maun and Letlhakane respectively and out of the total of 235, she said 70.3 percent were female beneficiaries.
Furthermore, she explained that the program delivers a comprehensive model of support to youth including personal and professional effectiveness, entrepreneurship and personal finance management.
She also indicated that Tokafala has started discussions with Community Based Organization- CBO’s in the Ngamiland District to pilot a partnership where CBO’s will supply the program with youth from their constituent villages (mostly remote area dwellers).
Through the partnership, she said Tokafala would offer necessary support citing assistance with transportation, meals and incidentals, training facilities and business startup capital. Participating community trusts, she said were Okavango Kopano Mokoro Community Trust and Habu Development Trust.
Launched in 2014, the program is a collaboration between government, Debswana, De Beers Group and Anglo America and since its inception, it had enrolled 940 SMMEs of which 40 per cent were women enterprise and as a result supporting 7594 jobs.
The program also the focuses on helping existing micro, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Botswana to grow their businesses through financing, mentoring, and advisory support.
Meanwhile one of the Youth Development Programme graduates Mariah Marenga who runs a tailor shop (Richway Tailor shop) that produces safari clothing and accessories appreciated the program saying it had assisted her to start her own business because she was knowledgeable on running a business.
Initially, she said she was employed for eight years by one of the tailor shops and decided to join the programme in September 2022.
“The program has helped me to be independent and run successful business and my communication skills had improved and I can confidently approach potential investors and funding organizations.”