De Beers Group, along with the United Nations (UN) Women, has joined forces with Botswana’s Ministry of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs, to launch an investment programme aimed at advancing women business leaders in Southern Africa.
Over the next three years, a BWP8million investment will be made in capacity-building programmes to support women micro-entrepreneurs in select villages in the Okavango Delta and Kweneng District.
As part of the programme, De Beers and UN Women will work with the NGO Adore Little Children Botswana (ALCB) in the Okavango Delta.
The partnership will extend ALCB’s existing women’s economic empowerment programmes, which focus on improving livelihoods through permaculture programmes that produce fresh vegetables for local communities.
In Kweneng District villages, De Beers and UN Women will work with local partners to advance existing micro-enterprises that include leatherworks, pottery and livestock businesses, as well as identifying and developing opportunities for new small, medium and micro-enterprises.
The programmes, to be launched in early 2018, will equip female micro-entrepreneurs in the target regions with business management skills, an understanding of access to markets and marketing, and technical skills, especially in agricultural activities. The programmes will help build life skills and confidence to support effective decision-making, communication and negotiation.
The Okavango Delta and Kweneng District are some of the poorest and most remote areas of Botswana. DeBeers identified these areas in particular due to the strong potential to deliver tangible, positive outcomes that support entire communities through the increased economic empowerment of women micro-entrepreneurs.
Bruce Cleaver, CEO, De Beers Group, said: “Botswana has achieved a huge amount of development through prudent use of diamond revenues, but challenges remain and programmes such as these can have a real and lasting positive impact. Advancing women’s economic empowerment in two of the most disadvantaged areas of Botswana will not only support the women micro-entrepreneurs that participate in the programmes, but also their communities through increased employment opportunities and skills development.”
Anne Githuku-Shongwe, Representative, UN Women South Africa Multi-Country Office, said: “This initiative is in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals Agenda 2030 to ‘Leave No One Behind’, targeting one of the most marginalised communities in Botswana to invest in women’s economic empowerment and create long term sustainability for families in this region.”
De Beers and UN Women are working with local stakeholders in the target areas to finalise the implementation approach. More information on how to participate will be provided early next year.
The programmes are part of De Beers’ three year global partnership with UN Women and its commitment to stand with women around the world. De Beers is investing US$3 million to advance women micro-entrepreneurs and STEM students in its diamond producing countries of Canada, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa.
In addition, as one of seven UN Women HeForShe Thematic Champions, De Beers has committed to achieving parity in the appointment of women and men into senior leadership roles in its own organisation, as well as ensuring the company’s brands are a positive force for gender equality through all its marketing campaigns.