At the age of 29, Christopher Seagateng has already established himself as one of the country’s most prominent and respected youth empowerment activists.
The Mmopane native’s tireless efforts were recently rewarded when he was voted the ‘Best Youth Supporting Youth Development’ at the recent Botswana Youth Awards.
The Voice’s Portia Ngwako-Mlilo caught up with Seagateng, who is also an Africa Youth Award winner, to find out a little more about the individual and his initiatives.
Q. How long have you been involved in youth empowerment activities for?
A. I’ve been involved in youth empowerment for over ten years.
I’m one of the founding members of BW Jobs 4 Graduates, an organisation that was started as a remedy to address the escalating levels of unemployment amongst the youths.
The idea was to provide a platform for employment opportunities and train young people on job readiness skills.
Q. What inspires you to get involved in youth development projects?
A. Growing up I was always inspired by young people around me who were excelling.
This ignited a spark within me to work closely with youths to better understand their needs.
As time went by the urge to make a positive change in my community and the youth at large grew because I realised that youths have the potential to provide solutions to pinning problems we face through their energies and innovation.
Q. What has the organisation achieved so far?
A. Our achievements include the following: 2017 winner at the Botswana Youths Awards, 2016 1st Position Best Youth Initiative HRC Fair.
Our achievements helped us to participate in a roundtable meeting at New York on Youth Migration in search of work. Over 10, 000 young people have been employed through our organisation.
I was personally profiled by UNFPA Botswana as a young person making change in their communities.
I was also named in the Top 20 Under 30 inspirational young people in Botswana.
In 2016 I won Africa Youth Awards under Youth Empowerment Category.
Q. What do you benefit from helping graduates find jobs?
A. We are doing this to see a change in the lives of unemployed youth and prevent ill behaviour associated with an idle young person, such as theft, teenage pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, depression and others. We mostly operate from our pockets.
The benefits we get are in-kind sponsorships for our projects. We are driven by passion!
Q. You introduced Botswana Youth Jobs fair. What is its aim?
A. Botswana Youth Jobs Fair was started last year by seven youth led organisations with the aim of combining efforts in addressing youth unemployment.
The fair seeks to provide skills and training to job seekers and job exhibition by various organisations.
We intend to facilitate the creation of Youth Employment Centres around the country.
This year we held it in Gaborone from 20-24 June and 223 Jobs were exhibited from 30 companies.
We will be having it at Francistown from 12-14 July.
Q. As the Director of New African Chapter, how do you intend to use your position to address youth unemployment?
A. This a new initiative championed by young people across Africa who came together to drive change across the continent.
Though still a new organisation, we do believe the movement will go a long way in addressing many of the problems youth face in the region.
I am hoping to learn about the best practices in other African countries, including how they curb youth unemployment, and replicate the best practices.
I believe it will also help our youth to find jobs across boarders.
Q. You won an Africa Youth Award – how did you feel about it and what does it mean to you?
A. I do not subscribe much to prize tags because I believe it mounts a lot of pressure that may cause one to crack whilst trying to live up to the expectations of those around them.
Winning the award has however given me a pat on the back to continue with my work as it adds value since I received the recognition.
I have embraced the opportunity presented by the award as more opportunities are on the way, including more networking opportunities with fellow winners for collaborative efforts.
Q. How do you think modern technology has helped to address youth challenges?
A. The advent of social media has provided an easy platform for youth to engage.
More people from high offices, leadership and policy makers have taken heed of youth voices through social media.
More campaigns and movements started through social media and they use it to drive their messages.
The world is now a global village as shared visions are conducted and implemented through it and call for change.
Q. What kind of support do you get from the Ministry of Youth?
A. We currently receive no support.
We have proposed some partnerships and call for support but are still waiting for the response.
Q. What are your views on the standard of education in Botswana?
A. With regard to our education system and connecting it to the job market, I feel there are lots of gaps that need a paradigm shift so that there is coherence between the two.
Most energy and time is channelled towards theoretical as opposed to practical aspects.
Our students lack the urge to be job creators by the time they graduate – instead they resort to job seeking! I am glad Botswana Qualification Authority is in transition, introducing new system that will close the gap.
Q. Who is your inspiration?
A. My mother Catherine Seagateng inspires me. I wake up every day with a motive to achieve something so that I make her proud.
When I started this she always provided and supported me with the little she had.
Her care and humble nature has groomed me to be the son of the nation.
I spend most of my time out in the midst of youth matters and she is always supportive.
Q. You are intently involved in many projects. How do you kill time?
A. The passion and desire to contribute to my dear Botswana and empowerment of as many young people who will add value to the bigger picture drives me.
I am always caught up in action oriented engagement that I have to organise myself not to lose focus.
Most of my life engagement is centred on youth ministry events – that is my leisure time!
Q. What advice can you give to graduates roaming the streets without jobs?
A. I have never struggled to find a job. Before I graduated I was already working as a lecturer in one of the local institutions.
They identified me thorough my voluntary work with BW Jobs 4 Graduates.
My message to unemployed youth is that they should make themselves useful in the quest for employment – find something to do, have a spirit of volunteerism, look around your community and join hands and come up with projects that will attract potential investors.
We are able and have the capacity as long as we wear a positive mind and stop complaining and feeling sorry for ourselves.
Q. What does the future hold for BW Jobs 4 Graduates?
A. My plan for the organisation is for it to be a national youth movement.
We would love to be key stakeholder in facilitating job creation amongst the youth.
Q. Thank God it’s Friday. What are your plans for the weekend?
A. This weekend I will be attending a Youth in Business training session at Botswana National Youth Council, followed by a church concert in Ramotswa.
Sunday is dedicated to church service as well as a leaders meeting.
Name: Christopher Christian Seagateng
Place of birth: Gaborone
Date of birth: 01-05-1988
Home Village: Mmopane
Favourite food: Pasta