BO T S W A N A JOINED the rest of the world in launching Why Poverty (WP) last month at Oodi College of Applied Arts & Technology.
This was in line with a worldwide launch via television, radio, internet and live events.
People around the world discussed, debated and probed why, in the 21st century, a billion people still live in poverty.
In Botswana, Why Poverty? was launched with a two-day workshop, as well as a public film screening and a panel discussion.
The workshop brought together STEPS facilitators, trainers and affiliates to watch part of the WP film collection and to discuss a variety of poverty- related issues raised in the fi lms.
A panel discussion immediately followed the workshops where Solar Mamas was screened.
It was attended by some members of the Oodi community, STEPS facilitators, trainers and affiliates as well as students and staff of Oodi College of Applied Arts & Technology.
The panel consisted of 17 year old Motivational Speaker, Child Activist and Philanthropist Gogontlejang Phaladi, Media Development Consultant and Voice Publisher, Beata Kasale, Debswana Pension Fund committee Chairman (Gaborone Region) Bashi Sengwaketse, University of Botswana teaching assistant and STEPS Facilitator (Why Democracy?) Tumisang Mmape, and a former University of Botswana lecturer Dr. Rogers Molefi , currently an independent Researcher & Consultant.
Part of the discussion centered on the question “Are women better at getting out of poverty than men?”
Also screened and discussed at the workshop were two STEPS for the Future films which explored the link between poverty and the spread of HIV, poverty and unemployment as well as poverty and alcohol abuse.
Face It (a local production by Kelefi le Raditaola, Keamogetse Mogatle and Kagiso Seabelo of Face It group) explored the link between poverty and crime, with special focus on the rehabilitation of ex-convicts.
A total of 14 WP films were screened during the two-day workshop, including Stealing Africa (Zambia), Land Rush (Mali), Hunger for Profit (USA/Kenya), Love and Rubbish (Russia), Colours in the Dust (Haiti), Wilbur Goes Poor (India), New Poor (Spain) and Lullaby (Germany).
The workshop delegates identifi ed possible target audiences and debated the key issues arising from each film.
Similarities or differences between Botswana and the countries featured in the films were unpacked.
Discussions included how the fi lm was relevant to lives and challenges encountered by the affected communities.
Poverty-related issues that were debated over the two-day period included:
• Abuse of public resources/exploitation in Africa, by multinational corporations.
• Fraud, misuse of power and corruption in African countries
• Land (What steps can we as citizens of a state take to prevent land-grabbing?
How best can government leadership involve citizens and raise awareness about protecting public interests e.g. land rights? How can we ensure that leadership – and even individuals – do not sign away the land rights?)
• Unemployment (How can unemployment affect the economy of a country?
• The ever widening gap between the rich and the poor (How much inequality is too much?)
To roll out the WP outreach programme and contribute towards Botswana’s Poverty Eradication efforts, the debate/ discussions that took place during the launch were captured on video; the material is being developed into a 45-minute DVD which will be used by STEPS facilitators and trainers in facilitated fi lm screenings, to kick start discussions with audiences about poverty in Botswana.
Also on the Action Plan is a WP film festival scheduled to take place during the first half of 2013, as well as a project to translate at least five WP films into Setswana, to be used in community facilitated screenings.
Target audiences identified for these screenings include children, youth and adults in both urban and rural areas.