The ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do. - Steve Jobs
The Action for Jobs story starts one afternoon after an intense strategy planning session projected a depleted marketplace in the not-so-distant future. Consumption has been in free fall since 1989 but the fall gained more speed from 2005. In this period, our economy haemorrhaged jobs and failed to create new ones for the many who graduated.
Against similar trends globally, this future prompted us into action. We saw how the continued unemployment of our fellow citizens weakened the marketplace further and exposed the business space to great risk. Suddenly, concerns on the risk of growing unemployment expressed by the Government of Botswana over the last couple of decades became alive before us. A shrinking economy can never be good for business. Something had to be done and could be done.
We called the initiative “Action for Jobs” and heeding government’s call for private sector participation in providing solutions to unemployment, together with other business and community leaders, we resolved to mobilize a Business Alliance in support of the creative sector. By 2018, more than 50,000 youth had graduated from institutions of higher learning as Botswana’s tertiary education enrollment increased from 47,889 in 2008 to 53,450 in 2018. Estimations show that at least 45% of these graduates walked out of creative universities and colleges. The number is probably higher, but that is beside the point; the point is that we saw this as an opportunity to create an upward mobility for creative youth in Botswana.
The Baisago needs analysis report of 2017 had already highlighted the gaps in the sector. It called for a bridging of performance gaps within the media fraternity. These gaps included:
Social media and information sharing
Ethics in journalism
Financial reporting skills
Media writing and reporting
Best practice in media training
Leadership and diversity
Sales and Marketing techniques
This became our starting point. #IamWithGraduates became our rallying call. Last September, the Alliance set out on a national tour, making 13 stopovers introducing itself to communities around Botswana. Upon our return, we began talks with Chief Executive Officers, rallying them to join the Alliance. Over 40 opened their doors in a space of a month and-a-half, from October end to mid-December 2020. All agreed that it was time there was Action for Jobs.
During the same period, 100 creative youth were enrolled for training as well as practice. Their glistening faces reveal a bright future full of hope. Only we can fail them.
*K. Gabriel Rasengwatshe
Gabz-FM Station Manager and Action for Jobs Lead Strategist. He writes here in his personal capacity.