In 2016, Stephen Molatlhegi was selected to the Academy’s own scholarship programme, Talent for Governance. As a Talent, Stephen participated in the two-week Academy training on Local Economic Development and took an internship with the municipalities of Meppel and Steenwijkerland. In Part 2 of this feature for The Hague Academy, Stephen shares his back home action plan. To read Part 1, click here.
While attending the LED course in The Hague, I developed my back home action plan. The plan seeks to involve underprivileged people in local capacity-building initiatives and promote further socio-economic empowerment. To do this, I started a self-help enterprise which encourages people to connect with small- and medium-sized enterprises through a federation of savings and loans groups. The goal is to explore savings and investment mechanisms and foster financial stability and economic growth at the community level. This back home action plan is informed by my role as a project officer for the Poverty Eradication Programme in Kweneng District, Botswana.
Through the self-help enterprise, underprivileged groups – especially women from rural areas and people from disadvantaged backgrounds – can now save and combine money together to launch or grow their enterprises while simultaneously improving the livelihoods of the community. The social enterprise encourages collaboration between and among organizations from different sectors of society which thus far has included a commercial bank, an NGO and a private company. The partnership has helped us take full advantage of the knowledge, skills, outreach and experience that partners have to offer. In this way, we have conducted workshops or trainings on financial management, business management and scaling up business projects.
“The Talent for Governance programme has helped me connect with peers across the world, and this has improved the effectiveness of my initiative, enhanced its impact in the community and further contributed to local economic development in Kweneng District.”
As a result of this initiative, I was pleased to learn that I was selected as one of Africa`s 100 Brightest Young Minds in 2017. The annual award identifies go-getters between 20 and 35 years old who have demonstrated their commitment to positive social change through their actions. I also serve as One Young World Ambassador, after being selected to attend the One Young World Summit in Bogota, Colombia through the European Commission Sponsorship.
On several occasions, I have been invited by the Ministry of Local Governance in Botswana to attend workshops to share my experiences from The Hague Academy for Local Governance. Thanks to the training from the Academy, I am engaged in the development of a strategic plan to help guide future economic development efforts for different districts in Botswana.
Furthermore, the Talent for Governance programme has helped me connect with peers across the world. Being connected across several platforms has allowed us to continue to advise each other on our respective projects. In a personal way, this has improved the effectiveness of my initiative, enhanced its impact in the community and further contributed to local economic development in Kweneng District.