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Mascom hands over Kitsong Centres

By John Churu, Gaborone, Botswana

Mascom continues with its social corporate responsibility, handing ten young entrepreneurs the Mascom Kitsong centre package.

The package, according to Lilly Sullivan, who is the Chief Information Officer: “comprises a branded Porta-cabin equipped with computer terminals, printers, copiers and data cards.” They also provide start-up computer consumables and stationery.

Sullivan told both the media, the Kitsong recipients as well as invited dignitaries that the fully equipped centre is then handed to a carefully selected youth to operate for their own profit.

“It is a prerequisite that these youth are unemployed and reside in the selected villages. The standard Mascom Kitsong Centre services include airtime and simcard sales, email and internet services, photocopying, printing, typesetting, fax services, and computer training. In addition to these services, some innovative Mascom Kitsong Centre operators have developed other revenue streams including photography, stationery sales, graphics and video productions, as well as computer games.

"Further to this we continue to provide operational support to the centres for both ICT equipment maintenance and sales support.”

Sullivan added that the prime objective for her organisation in the delivery of these centres to the youths is capacity building.

“In this regard we continue to invest in capacity building as well as increasing the service offerings in the Mascon Kitsong Centres. This year we have enrolled 10 Mascon Kitsong Centre operators for the International Computers Driving Licence (ICDL). This is a global computer literacy initiative developed to raise the level of knowledge about Information Technology (IT).”

She said that the operators would complete the training in March next year. “Once qualified the Mascom Kitsong Centre operators will be in a position to extend the training to the rest of the community through the centre. We have also trained and setup up 10 other Mascom Kitsong Centre Operators as MyZaka Agents. They will now be able to register clients who wish to use the Mascom mobile service.”

By the end of this evening we will announce the 2012 recipients of the Mascom Kitsong Centres. We will also announce the 3 new operators for Makwate, Matlhako and Mogobane. Mascom selected 10 villages from a total of 21 villages considered for the opportunity. I am very excited that tonight Mascom will announce the 10 young entrepreneurs from the 34 that have been engaged in a two week-long ICT and Entrepreneurial Development Training.

To date Mascom has invested over 12 million Pula in Information Communication Technology (ICT) projects aimed at encouraging the youth of Botswana to be involved in entrepreneurship.

Minister Nonofo Molefhi, who was the guest of honour at the handover ceremony, said: “In 2009 Mascom partnered with Botswana Government through the Nteletsa II Rural Telecommunications Development Project, and extended coverage to a total of 41 villages and also set up Kitsong Centres in each of the 41 villages.”

He added: “After the success of this project, Mascom continued to build on to this investment by establishing 10 Kitsong Centres in 2011. Today we gather here to witness the handing over of 10 new Kitsong centers to young entrepreneurs to operate as their own businesses. This makes a total of 61 Kitsong centres.”

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