Youth commit to addressing unemployment and inequality
After a two-day event, during the 2013 Social Good Summit Meet-Up in Gaborone, youths identified and array of national development challenges and how deployment of local technological and innovative solutions could help address them.
Dominated by youthful female participants, the dialogue concluded noting that; while unemployment and inequality remained among the biggest challenges faced by Batswana, the same are exacerbated and continue to be perpetuated by lack of information. They emphasized that as victims of the consequences of this information gap, they were best placed to come up with solutions. Consequently, they agreed to establish a social enterprise whose main focus would be the development of a national Resource Hub that will be accessible and usable by both internet and non-internet users.
The Hub would house and generate information related to key economic sectors of the country as well others through online and GSM mobile based technologies.
- Botswana’s annual internet penetration rate rose from 0.3% in 2001 to 14% in 2012.
- While unemployment and inequality remained among the biggest challenges faced by Batswana, the same are exacerbated and continue to be perpetuated by lack of information.
According to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Botswana’s annual internet penetration rate rose from 0.3% in 2001 to 6.0% in 2009. Other studies show that currently the penetration rate stands at 14%. Leveraging this, the participants highlighted the opportunity to reach an already growing population of internet users.
Areas like Kgalagadi, Ghantsi and Ngamiland, are among the highest concentrations of severely poor households in Botswana, however, with a national mobile penetration rate of over 100%, the Hub would use mobile protocols like Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) to transmit and share information as requested for by users who own mobile phones that do not have internet applications. The participant committed to transforming this identified innovation from an idea to an intervention through further consultations and refinement.
Further discussions are being organised to refine the idea further with support from UNDP and BIH.
At global level, the Social Good Summit held in New York challenged participants to share solutions, ideas and innovations with a central look at what needs to be done now to pave the way for a better world in 2030. Several Meet-Ups were organized in more than 55 countries, supported by UNDP Country Offices across the global, focusing on different issues and themes.
Speaking at the Meet-Up in Gaborone, UNDP Resident Representative, Mr Anders Pedersen urged the participants to identify challenges faced today and years to come and how the same could be addressed using innovative solutions. “Let us take this opportunity and dig deeper into the many possible innovations that will help us live a better life in the future-for ourselves and our grandchildren.” Said Mr Pedersen.