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SmartSwitch Botswana Donates to Shoshong Community

SmartSwitch Botswana in collaboration with Mahalapye Social and Community Development Department under Mahalapye District Council selected 177 social grants beneficiaries in Shoshong Villages to donate to as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility on the 26 April 2023. This paradigm advocates for the company to be proactive in community involvement by empowerment and sustaining communities through strong partnerships with communities and the Botswana government.

SmartSwitch’s overall mandate is to improve people’s lives by bringing FINANCIAL INCLUSION to Botswana’s underserved consumers and merchants. It has been working with Ministry of Local Government and all councils’ offices in Botswana as
well as local merchants to allocate funds effectively around the country and to make access to funds for social grants beneficiaries easier.

Through this project, Smartswitch engaged 3 Batswana youth owned and ran companies that does canvas products to make 177 Canvas school bags namely Lebatumi Canvas in Lobatse, Nkaokera Canvas in Kanye and Sethunya’s Canvas in Gaborone. It also donated winter blankets, travel bags and Smartswitch Branded T-Shirts for all boarding students within the system in Mahalapye S&CD. The collaboration went beyond just Shoshong village and Mahalapye District Council but was also aimed to empower local manufactures.

The event was graced by Rre Kgosi Mosinyi – Shoshong who welcomed the gesture and thanked SmartSwitch Botswana on behalf of Shoshong dwellers for choosing his village as beneficiaries because he believed this will positively impact the
lives of people in the community.

SmartSwitch uses technology that promotes equal rights in financial access to the underserved, unbanked and underbanked consumers and merchants in Botswana.

It aims to deliver an eco-system of solutions that assist in building safe and secure ways to bank, as well as transact, earn and deliver economic outputs through technology, insights and innovation particularly for the underserved market.

It basically delivers software’s and systems that facilitates the transfer of money from organisations to its beneficiaries.

Speaking in vote of thanks was Council Chairman Hon BD Merementsi, who mentioned that knowing how much Covid 19 had impacted our government and companies since 2019, it makes this effort even more impactful that SmartSwitch found it suitable to spare some funds toward giving back to the community. He mentioned that their biggest efforts in the community is to allocate resources where there is need but it is never enough.

He appreciated Botswana companies like SmartSwitch who has worked with the government over the years and as well for empowering local merchants in financial inclusion activities which the government urges to all local companies to take to the people of Botswana.

He encouraged in reemphasis of Mr Mabiletsa’s speech which was to encourage students to stay away from drug use and focus on their studies.

He said “a gift impacts in two ways, that is it makes your life better and it also shows your how lucky you are that you’re the one receiving instead of someone else.”

He encouraged all students to treasure what they are given and take care of their gifts as well as to grow up knowing it may be them tomorrow giving to someone else in need.

SmartSwitch Botswana donates tracksuits to all at Thankane Primary School students

SmartSwitch Botswana exists as part of a bigger ecosystem that serves to make financial access for a variety of beneficiaries easier. This means it operate in a space in which their end users do not have the same access to the same benefits as many other members of society.

SmartSwitch Botswana’s CSR policy is their initiative to engage these disadvantaged communities in which they already have a presence in, in such a way that they can positively impact their growth, development and socio-economic standing.

This year SmartSwitch Botswana chose to deliver smiles and hope to Thankane Primary school pupil in a ceremony that attracted Thankane community leaders and stakeholders at large.

Thankane Village is situated between farms after Mokhomma Village, approximately 70km south from Jwaneng along a dusty gravel road. Thankane Primary School houses 324 students today from reception class to standard 7 and was established in 1989.

Gracing the event and welcoming all stakeholders was Kgosi Dinkwetse Kesemang, who spoke with concern about the needs of his village. He urged not only SmartSwitch but other private companies to remember Thankane village when they do programs like these to help eradicate poverty and reduce its sting in the community.

Encouraging and applauding SSB particularly for choosing the education sector within their constituency was Mme Segomotso Machola (Principal Community Development Officer II) from Mabutsane Sub District Council.

She urged private companies to consider all the areas within their constituency as it is highly hit by poverty and any help is big help. She mentioned that, a gesture like the one SmartSwitch displayed will definitely encourage their kids to work harder and better their studies.

SmartSwitch Botswana has been the technology behind the Food Basket System of Botswana for over 10 years effectively delivering social grants packages to orphans, destitute and homebased patients specifically.

Its core mandate is to utilise smartcards and a network of point-ofsale devices as a means of extending mainstream banking and financial services to the poor or vulnerable communities and using technologybased solutions to ensure efficient and timely transfer of government grants and minimize leakages.

Thankane village caught the attention of SmartSwitch Botswana sometimes in 2019 through a country wide roll out project where the company was exerting efforts to improve service to merchants who houses their POS devices and engaged through this program to service social grants beneficiaries by local authorities.

The Smartswitch Card, popularly known as the “Zebra Card” especially in villages get credited on monthly basis to allow beneficiaries to buy food packages at their convenience and a place of choice within approved merchants across villages.

The team led by the Managing Director, Mr France Mabiletsa, dedicated its efforts to the Thankane village. He mentioned that, as a stakeholder in a project that shows the government’s efforts to its communities, it was important for the company to dress all students irrespective of the social background.

“We worked with Batswana owned small companies to do this project as it is also significant to empower them”. He ended by saying “all this was done with love as Batswana for Botswana communities and answering a call from the governments of Botswana to private sector to help improve and show compassion to our communities”.

He emphasised that the company houses technology that does any payments for governments and private groups who may not necessarily qualify to be banked like Pensioners, ipelegeng workers, clusters workers etc.

It was evident through the project that a collaboration of the government and private sector can impact communities positively.

SmartSwitch Botswana Answers a Need at Gamodubu Child Care Trust

Having been in the business of providing convenience and access to funds to the vulnerable population of this country, it is only natural to gravitate towards hearing a call of essential needs from the very same audience. Gamodubu Child Trust Care coordinated By Mme Shirley Madikwe, houses orphaned and vulnerable children from as young as days old and above. She is passionate and has a never-ending drive to improve the lives of children and youth with health and care issues around Gamodubu Village.

The center offers hope and support for the most vulnerable and addresses the challenges of widespread poverty and disease through practical programmes and youth are fed, taking medication and have access to regular check-ups. SSB decided to offer support with the basic needs such as gas, electricity, kitchen cleaning stock as well as COVID-19 compliance kits like masks and sanitisers. After a few weeks of getting acquainted with the coordinator, it was established that the children did not have enough masks between home and school to always ensure they comply. There was also a shortage of kitchen utensils that made it difficult to maintain compliance from bodies governing such a non-profit organisation.

SmartSwitch Botswana recognises that part of maintaining a profitable business environment, requires enhancing the well being of the community. We do this through practising our corporate social responsibility. SmartSwitch Botswana has provided a payment solution since 2008 to food basket system of Botswana. We replaced the normal manual methods with a highly technical solution that required extensive implementation and a change of mindset.

The goal was to provide a solution that provided CHOICE for government social grants beneficiaries as well as restoring DIGNITY for beneficiaries who were stigmatised due to the fact that they had to queue with wheelbarrows to load groceries every month. Beneficiaries gained the choice to spend their food allowance whenever they want and wherever they want and since then SSB has taken the challenge of giving government social grants beneficiaries access to financial services.

SmartSwitch shares a similar mandate of caring for the orphaned, disabled and vulnerable population with Gamodubu Child Care Trust and was more than pleased to work with them over the month and answer their plea for the necessities. Madikwe mentioned that cooking gas and electricity is a serious need because they have to prepare meals and water for all the school children and ensure there is enough light for their homework to be done. It was evident from the time spent at the center that Ms. Shirley Madikwe and her team of volunteers are doing a remarkable job and have a genuine passion for the children and the job they do.

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