A momentous step has been taken in unlocking greater academic progress in Botswana’s Northwest District with Children in the Wilderness (CITW) Botswana signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Okavango Sub District Council to build parts of Eretsha Primary School. This comes as part of the “Better School Infrastructure for Better Education” initiative by CITW Botswana
The mandate of Children in the Wilderness Botswana (CITW Botswana), the non-profit entity established by Okavango Wilderness Safaris, is founded upon working to facilitate sustainable conservation through leadership development and education of children in Africa.
This comes as an unwavering commitment to driving sustainable progress and impact for youth across Botswana, as well as empowering the next generation of leaders and eco-warriors.
As part of efforts to this end, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was recently signed between CITW Botswana and Okavango Sub-District Council to build parts of Eretsha Primary School. It entails P1 million in funding that will cater for construction of a block of two classrooms with fittings and furniture, an ablution block for both girls and boys which comes with a water reticulation system within the school premises, and fencing of the school premises.
Building works are expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2023.
The Assistant Council Secretary of Okavango Sub-District Council, Losika Kula, explained at the signing ceremony that the two entities share a common mandate of uplifting and alleviating communities in Ngamiland from poverty. This builds further on the long-standing relationship that dates back to 1996 when Okavango Wilderness Safaris entered into a partnership with Okavango Community Trust (OCT).
OCT represents five villages of Seronga, Gunotsoga, Eretsha, Beetsha and Gudigwa.
Also speaking at the ceremony was the Managing Director of Okavango Wilderness Safaris. Kim Nixon. “This is such a momentous occasion which sees over a year-and-a-half of planning and working to identify the best way forward with our long-term partners at the OCT.” Nixon said. “It is a symbol of our commitment to improve infrastructure at Eretsha Primary School and to support the community that we are so privileged to call home.
No more walking 10km to school
“None of this would have been possible were it not for our partnership with OCT, the Okavango Sub-District Council leadership, and the Chief Eretsha Village, Kgosi Mosenyegi, who approached us after identifying the need. We are tremendously grateful for this.”
Eretsha Primary School has an enrolment of over 200 pupils. It was established in 2015 as a satellite school to shorten the distance that pupils have to travel to access quality education. Prior to 2015, pupils had to walk 10km to the nearest primary school at Beetsha.
It was for this reason that, speaking at the signing of the MoU, the Chairperson of North West District Council, Kebareeditse Ntsogotlho, noted his appreciation for the partnership, saying that the children of Eretsha will enjoy access to basic education infrastructure that should equip them for further education towards attainment of improved living standards for themselves, their families and their communities.
P10m invested in education
To-date, Okavango Wilderness Safaris and CITW Botswana have seen little over P10 million invested in education initiatives in Botswana in the last 15 years, including to annual eco-camps. CITW programmes are being implemented in eight schools in Botswana’s North West District, six schools in Bobirwa Sub-District, at Tshwaragano Primary School in Old Naledi in Gaborone, and at Parakarungu Primary School in Parakarungu in the Okavango, the latter in partnership with FNB Foundation.