Women across the social and economic spectrum of the country, applied for shares in the Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTCL) Initial Public Offering, using a non-governmental organisation, Mosadi Khumo, as a vehicle to make a collective investment. Bookie Kethusegile, the president and founder of the organisation, which advocates for the socio-economic wellbeing of the very indigent and excluded women in society, told Gazette Business that the women’s collective made an application for BTCL shares of P47, 000.
“We went to BTCL and said to them, we want to make a collective investment and we have this platform because we do not want any women to be left behind,” said Kethusegile.“Many could not afford the minimum P1,000 investment that was required but the platform allowed them to put their P200s together and we also took money from their subscriptions and that was replaced as they paid the money for the shares,” she explained.
“We don’t even know as yet how many women have participated because we were receiving this money with mobile money tools and rushing to invest, so we will get our lists later on,” she said. Kethusegile said there is an information gap that needs to be bridged if women’s economic interventions are to work for them.
“The programmes have some impact but it is not as transformative as we would like,” she said, adding that, “even in Botswana women should be able to start SMEs and become millionaires.“Every woman in every corner of this country should have an equal opportunity to succeed…Poverty can never be eradicated if we don’t realise that women make up the numbers of the poorest of the poor and that needs very deliberate interventions for women who make up 53 percent of the population,” she said.
Kethusegile said that after Government’s Economic Stimulus Programme was introduced in the latter part of 2015, they went around the country to meet women from all walks of life to determine if the information had reached them, and they found that women had not received the news and were not in a position to benefit from the programme.“Women stay at home to fend for the homestead and do not get an opportunity to go to the kgotla and this means they are at a disadvantage.
This brings the need to deal with mental issues of women empowerment; we need to dissocialise women from the inferiority that is deeply ingrained in women,” she said.
The two year old organisation has established 22 chapters around the country, including in Lehututu, Tshane, Lesenepole, Mosojane, Chadibe, Ramokgonami, Gaborone, and Francistown, among others. It has a troika, double troika, think tank, secretariat and sub-committees.
It has a membership of over 700 women and their businesses, with 50 trained business developers and 40 trainers of trainers.