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The Botswana Institute for Technology Research and Innovation officially launched the ICTAssociate@BITRI Programme on Thursday 18th June 2015 at its Kanye offices.

“I am happy to be standing here today at the launch of the Botswana Institute for Technology Research and Innovation (BITRI) official launch of the ICTAssociate@BITRI Programme. It gives me pleasure that Kanye is one of the only two villages in the country to be hosting this programme, this is a great honor for me and my community as we will surely benefit from it being here” Deputy chief Kgosi Telekelo articulated in the Welcome Remarks. Kgosi Telekelo, who was representing Kgosi Malope at the occasion said that the programme will also be highly beneficial for his community since the Associates stationed in Kanye will generate a market for accommodation in the village and pled with locals to rent out their properties to the Associates at reasonable prices.

“The presence of the associates at the village will also help them interact with the communities and appreciate the daily challenges that they face and as such help them think of the projects that they may embark on. It is my ardent hope that the associates will be role models for the children at Kanye, thus encouraging them to work hard at school to make good grades so that they also one day become associates in their own village as well” continued Kgosi Telekelo. Kgosi also expressed his gratitude for the location of BITRI offices in Kanye.

The Guest of Honour at the event, Minister of Infrastructure Science and Technology Honourable Nonofo Molefhi expressed his admiration of the programme.

“I am particularly happy for having been given the platform to speak about BITRI, one of the parastatals in my Ministry. BITRI has certainly taken its mandate seriously by kick starting initiatives to address some of the burning issues facing this country” stated Honourable Molefhi.

The Minister also called on all those who were present to support efforts such as the ICT associates programme that will provide the required solutions geared at alleviate challenges and predicaments of Batswana. Honourable Molefhi closed by saying, “From now on I think BITRI will require additional resourcing to expand this project by adding in more participants and broaden the pool from which projects could be identified and supported and I am hopeful in the process we will find partners who will work together with BITRI to make the dreams of this associates a reality.”

The ICT Associate programme @BITRI is a competency-based two year programme where young Batswana will be involved in BITRI research projects aimed at developing them in an array of competencies in ICT including planning, starting and operating a small business in the ICT sector. The programme aims to develop ICT technical know-how and also qualities leading to self-esteem, critical thinking and problem solving skills needed for an effective management of a start-up business. There are sixty (60) participants in the programme, with twenty (20) based at BITRI B in Gaborone, Palapye and Kanye campuses, respectively. Ms. Kitso Kusane one of the Associates and a graduate from St. Petersburg University, Russia with an Honors degree in Telecommunications expressed her excitement regarding the programme “my experience so far has been very exciting and so far m involved in two projects that make use of my skills as a communications specialist and hopefully at the end of BITIRI we can use some of the business knowledge we are equipped with to start our own businesses” Ms. Kusane said.

The launch was graced by the attendance of high caliber officials including Honourable Molefhi, Member of Parliament Kanye South, Honourable Abram Kesupile who gave a vote of thanks, Minister of Agriculture and Member of Parliament Kanye North, Honourable Patrick Ralotsia, Southern District Council Assistant District Commissioner Ms Dintle Setlhotlhe, BITRI Board Member Dr Martin Kebakile who gave an overview of BITRI and the Associates from Kanye, Gaborone and Palapye offices.

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