On the 22nd September 2022, the 40th Anniversary Celebration of the University of Botswana will be held in Maun at the Okavango Research Institute. Similarly, the Okavango Research Institute will be celebrating its silver Jubilee.
The UB 40th Anniversary celebrations are done under the theme “Motho le Motho kgomo” (one man, one beast). This was a unified campaign by Batswana driven by national pride to raise fund for the construction of the University of Botswana in 1976. A Botswana University Campus Appeal (BUCA) was launched in 1976 by President, Sir Seretse Khama, to generate resources to build a university campus under the rallying appeal; Motho le Motho Kgomo (One Man, One Beast).
The people of Botswana responded and contributed cattle, goats, sheep chickens, bags of corn sorghum, millet and money. The contributions exceeded one million Pula which was the target for the campaign. As a result, the University of Botswana is celebrating the achievements made in 40 years. For example, the University of Botswana has produced 83 882 graduates since 1976 who are spearheading the economy and the leadership of this country.
Similarly, the Okavango Research Institute (ORI) which represent a success story for the University of Botswana in terms of research is celebrating a silver jubilee. ORI is dedicated to the study of wetlands and adjacent drylands. It was established in 1994 as a reaction to need for scientific information on the Okavango Delta.
ORI promotes multi-disciplinary research to make the University of Botswana a research-intensive University by 2029. Research at ORI is guided by five cross-cutting inter-disciplinary research themes: a) Ecosystem Dynamics, b) Ecosystem Services c) Water Resources Management, d) Sustainable Tourism and e) Climate Change. Since inception in 2013, ORI has graduates students being: nine (9) Doctor of Philosophy (PhDs) and 33 Master of Philosophy (MPhil). In its 25 years of existence, the contribution of ORI to engagement has been substantial, especially to community engagement.
It has, for instance, provided a leading role as a think tank on the following areas during the plan period: national community-based-natural resources management, wildlife conservation management, hunting strategy, transboundary water resources management, fisheries management, sustainability of jatropha biofuel production and use, and cultural heritage and sustainable development, tsetsefly eradication in the Okavango Delta, evaluation of the Okavango Delta Management Plan, involvement in the production of a dossier that resulting in the Okavango Delta being listed as UNESCO’s 1000th World Heritage site. ORI has produced numerous management plans and strategic plans done for the various concession areas in the Okavango Delta and Botswana.
In addition to research and graduate training, ORI offers the Winter School which is a 6-credit research programme for undergraduates in research methodologies focused on wetlands. ORI also offers short courses in our five thematic areas noted above. ORI remains the research and training institute of choice in Botswana. It is from this background that ORI is proud to celebrate its 25 years in existence together with the UB 40th Anniversary celebrations.