Failure to secure employment by some qualified young people in Botswana has been partly attributed to the recruitment literacy gap.
IBranch Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Tshepiso Leinane explains that often-times qualified young people fail to secure jobs because of the way they present their qualifications and skills in a job application. IBranch, a product of Leintel Codemasters Holdings is Botswana’s first business-to-business social media platform that primarily operates as a mobile App that makes it easier for job seekers to receive employment opportunities straight to their mobile phones wherever and whenever.
The App, a result of two years of hard work and research, bridges the gap between employers and the unemployed population across Botswana regardless of age, area of interest and qualifications.
According to Leinane, since their official launch a year ago, they have been able to facilitate employment for over 200 Batswana. The company now has introduced yet another initiative, a weekly radio show dubbed IBranch Radio Show on RB2 that starts this Wednesday mornings at 10:15 in their efforts to further fight youth unemployment.
This is the first of its kind in Botswana with the sole purpose of bridging the recruitment literacy gap. “Every year our country suffers socio-economically due to the high unemployment rates among the youth in Botswana,” he says. Through the Radio Show, IBranch gives human resources practitioners and employers from various sectors including mining, health, finance IT and accounting an opportunity to discuss live on the show and network with job-seekers on a nationwide scale. “This networking allows for seamless sharing of information between the employer and the jobseekers,” Leinane says, adding, “We started this initiative after realising the mistakes jobseekers make when applying for jobs through our mobile app.”
He believes that through this facilitation, job seekers will be able to get first hand advice and tips directly from the employers on national radio. “This will consequently equip them with the necessary tools and knowledge needed to increase their chances of securing jobs,” Leinane says. According to Leinane – a computer science undergraduate from the University of Botswana, the App primarily assists job seekers who do not have access to other sources of information like newspapers and websites for vacancies, especially youngsters who are fond of social media.
Leinane, 23, works with three other youngsters, Otshepeng Opadile, 23, Motshidisi Molelwane also 23 and Arona Motsemeng 25.
The quartet is proud that since inception, their App has assisted employers and job seekers beyond Botswana including in the US, where the App already has 25 users. “We still however, cannot confirm whether these users in the US have been able to either find employment through the App or recruit through the App,” Leinane said in an interview. They have plans to launch in South Africa next year and spread their services to Ghana, Nigeria, Indonesia, Canada, Kenya and Syria. IBranch has also partnered with other like-minded companies on Facebook to ensure an efficient service.
“We work closely with Get A Job Botswana which has over 200 000 followers on Facebook. Whenever Get a Job Botswana flights job openings, we provide a link that applicants can easily link to start the application process.”
The App provides real time notifications to users, who are currently over 100 000. When employers post their vacancies, notifications reach users in real time. In addition, the sophisticated backing system also allows for users to access the service offline in the event that there is no connectivity. Leinane is also quick to state that a majority of recruitment platforms target graduates, and leave out certain groups.
IBranch on the other hand prioritises overlooked content by including a variety of vacancies that require a wide range of qualifications from junior certificate, Cambridge and university level.
The App caters for all groups and ages from temporary jobs to permanent jobs. Some employers have validated the App, stating that it is an effective tool to use. One such is Minister of Tertiary Education, Research Science and Technology, Thapelo Olopeng who interacted with the youth company at the Youth Expo and sought their services.
“I asked them if they could help me look for a suitable Farm Manager and Herdboy and I liked the efficiency and timely feedback I got from them,” Olopeng says. He emphasises that in an era that Botswana wants to embrace a knowledge-based economy such initiatives and innovations by young people are highly appreciated and need to be supported. Managing Director of CapSuite, Gaokgakala Tubutubu also believes that IBranch is an effective tool for employers. His company employed two people in the past as a result of the facilitation by the App. IBranch has partnered with Orange Botswana and the Botswana Innovation Hub to make the non-profit radio show a success. IBranch won the Best in Science and Technology Award at the Youth Business Expo, and were second position at the Botswana Youth Awards for Best in Innovation and Technology this year.
Youth lament slow pace towards ICPD commitments
Young people representing Botswana at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD25) in Nairobi, Kenya last week have expressed disappointment at the slow pace at which governments are moving towards achieving ICPD25 ideals.
Trevor Oahile, a youth advocate and student at the University of Botswana participated at the Nairobi Summit to highlight on Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) of men and boys.
Oahile hosts a radio show sponsored by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Don’t Get It Twisted on Yarona FM. The show deals with issues that affect boys and men. Oahile participated in a panel discussion at the Summit on the involvement of men and boys in accelerating the ICPD promise.
He is of the view that countries needs to work together to end violence that is perpetuated by harmful gender norms that are antagonistic to progress towards the ideals of the ICPD agenda. “Botswana government and private sector are still challenged to invest a lot of money into implementing their commitments,” Oahile said, adding that Comprehensive Sexual Education on the other hand has to be rolled out to every school in the country.
“We also acknowledge that it is important to avoid stereotypes that impact decisions that people make. Men and boys often avoid certain services because they are known to be for girls and women,” Oahile said. Millicent Sethaile was at the Summit as a youth ambassador from an organisation called Her Voice, which funds and offers grants to smaller organisations that advocate for SRHR in communities. In her view the summit was significant because it was an opportunity for countries including Botswana to make commitments to fulfill the unfinished business of the ICPD made 25 years ago.
“What struck me the most is that I realised that Botswana has a long way to go to achieve the commitments she set for herself.”Sethaile also observed that the four commitments including to strengthen access to family planning, the reduction of maternal deaths, reduction of Gender Based Violence, provision of quality, timely and disaggregated data are activities that were already in the pipeline and have been discussed before. “I believe we now have to come up with actionable items that we can work on so that we can effectively deal with current challenges.”
For 18 year old University student Michelle Simon, the Nairobi Summit was a reality check, an opportunity to reflect and map the way forward.
“I realised that there are so many challenges, especially in Africa concerning SRHR,” Simon said. She also realised that Botswana has a lot of catching up to do to implement the commitments of the ICPD. “I also realised that issues including youth in power were left out.” Botho Mahlunge on the other hand comes back from the Summit with a conclusion that there are a lot of predicaments that young people find themseles in across the African continent including GBV and teenage pregnancy.
Programmes need to be intensified to ensure implementation. Mahlunge is also of the view that there is minimum youth engagement on issues that affet them the most. “Young people are tired of always convening about the same issues. It’s time to see the outcomes of Summits and Conferences,” Mahlunge said. She advised the youth to also be willing to engage when the oppotunity avails itself and to take up programmes that have been set to help them. Mahlunge said that failure to educate our young people on sexuality “is the reason so many girls are getting pregnant and infected with HIV.”
She said the continued exclusion of young people in rural areas from sexual and reproductive health and rights discussion is also to blame for the prevailing state of affairs. “Young people in rural areas are completely vulnerable. They are so far removed from the little information and services available to young people in urban areas,” Mahlunge observed.
Safe communities for our women and girls – Moalosi
Gender Based Violence (GBV) has been identified as one of the critical issues that impede women, girls and men from fully enjoying their human rights and unleashing their potential. Delivering his State of the National Address (SONA) on Monday, President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi said government is concerned about the rising statistics of those affected.
The National Relationship Study of 2018 revealed that 37 percent of women and 21 percent of men have suffered some form of violence in their lifetime, which occurred within Intimate Partner Relationships.
To address this problem, President Masisi says government will intensify the implementation of the National Strategy Towards Ending GBV. The Strategy focuses on the comprehensive care and support of GBV survivors; the Prevention of new GBV incidences; Strengthening national capacity to address GBV; Improving efficiency and effectiveness of the coordination and management of the national GBV response; and Strategic information and knowledge management on GBV.
Just last week, Botswana Non-Governmental Organisations represented at the Nairobi Summit on ICPD25, committed to ensuring that all is done to end GBV.CEO of Botswana Gender Based Violence Prevention and Support Centre, Lorato Moalosi who was presenting on behalf of Botswana NGOs said having reflected on the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) agenda since 1994 and on what has changed on Sexual GBV, they are equally disturbed by increasing levels of SGBV in Botswana communities.
Her desire is to empower communities to come up with their own solutions to end SGBV. Moalosi told participants at the Summit that NGOs in Botswana commit to contracting and ensuring robust community engagement, including starting indigenous and disability movements on SGBV to galvanise and mobilise communities to prevent and respond to SGBV. Their plan is to also develop sustained gender transformative programmes that mainstream HIV and GBV, as well as to expand reach and coverage of services and create community safe spaces for the hard to reach, as well as improve services in urban areas.
“We commit to utilising social contracting and ensure NGOs lead in the prevention of SGBV and in the response to ending SGBV at community level,” Moalosi said, adding that they also commit to mainstreaming gender equality conversations and break the silence on SGBV.
“We can no longer hold back. Our communities have to be safe for our women and girls,” she said. The Nairobi Summit on ICPD25 that concluded hursday last week in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi represents a renewed, re-energised vision and community working together to act and deliver.
“Together, we will make the next ten years a decade of action and results for women and girls, keeping their rights and choices at the centre of everything we do,” said UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Natalia Kanem.
Denmark’s Special Envoy for the ICPD25, Ambassador Ib Petersen said there will be no ICPD50 because women and girls around the world have waited long enough to have rights and choices.