Orange Botswana supports women’s digital inclusion

By John Churu, Gaborone, Botswana

As Botswana still grapples with digital inclusion, Orange Botswana, one of the country’s leading mobile network companies, has reaffirmed its commitment to empowering the less privileged and closing the digital gap that women and girls face.

Boga Chilinde-Masebu, the company’s spokesperson, said Orange Botswana is dedicated to promoting digital inclusion through opening Women’s Digital Centres.

Opening the second such centre in Molepolole, a village west of the capital Gaborone, Orange Botswana said the Centres aim to improve women’s employability as well as enhance their financial independence.

 “The programme empowers the economically vulnerable women by providing them with training in digital technology, management skills and use of basic software to improve their employability and business management skills,” said Chilinde-Masebu.

Chilinde-Masebu added that the programme was targeted at women in disadvantaged situations who normally have limited access to educational opportunities.

“This technology will bring women into contact with the broader world, opening up access to education and vocational training in a very cost effective way,” Chilinde-Masebu said.

According to Orange Botswana the Centre will reach out to over 100 women in Molepolole and surrounding areas by accelerating uptake of learning modules and enhancing technological knowledge of the vulnerable groups (girls and women).

Orange intends to seek more partners in Botswana’s various villages and remote areas to partner in opening the Centres.

The first centre was opened in Ghanzi, a town in the middle of the Kalahari Desert, the western part of Botswana.

Orange Botswana is one of the world’s leading telecommunications operators with sales of over US$ 41 billion in 2017 from its 29 countries and a total customer base of 273 million customers worldwide.

Botswana is currently one of the countries that has women empowerment funds gathering dust amounting to US$14 million at the Universal Service and Access Fund, despite affordability being a major barrier to connecting women, as 1GB of mobile prepaid cost over  five percent of monthly average income.

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