In a bid to promote their culture, Gumare Advisory Association (GAA) held its second annual interactive meeting and fundraising dinner to take head –on issues affecting their constituency.
The event, which was held in Gaborone by the Gaborone chapter of the GAA on Saturday last week, brought together residents of Gumare and surrounding areas in the Okavango, officials from Citizen Entrepreneurship Development Agency (CEDA), Local Enterprise Authority (LEA) and other stakeholders.
Explaining the motive behind them hosting the event under the theme ‘opportunities in my backyard’, GAA chairperson Olaetse Kebalepile said that as an association from the Okavango region with a mandate to better lives and bring development to their motherland, they realised though home to most of the country’s top tourists destinations like the Okavango Delta, the region remained among the least developed in the country, which subsequently translated in a high number of people living in poverty.
Okavango is currently ranked the second poorest region in Botswana, after Kgalagadi.
Kebalepile said that as residents of Gumare and the Okavango region they have realized that, they can actually alleviate the poverty status that is now synonymous with the region by tapping into natural resources that is available in abundance from their ‘backyards’. According to Kebalepile though there was a roll-out of different government policies and programmes geared at empowering people and developing the region, positive results were still yet to be seen.
Kebalepile says his organisation has found it befitting to now mobilise and facilitate the Okavango region residents to be proactive and start utilizing resources available in their region to better their lives.
For his part Gumare resident who was also the guest speaker at the event Lekgatane Kanelo who holds higher qualifications in the Agricultural sector implored Gumare resident to venture in Agricultural sector especially arable farming since the advent of Foot and Mouth Disease in the region has so far rendered Pastoral farming inefficient.
According to Kanelo despite common belief that arable farming was feasible in the region research and facts on the grounds have proven otherwise. The region he says has abundance of underground water, good alluvial soils and good climate to mention but a few. “The arable sub-sector can prove to be an alternative for people of Okavango and can be turned into a profit making sector” he said.
GAA is a non-profit making organisation officially registered in 2013 by residents of Gumare and surrounding areas who resides in different areas in Botswana. Because its core mandate is to ensure that the region is developed and residents are alleviated from poverty, the association recruits members from different professionals from the region whose input can be used to develop the region.
The association has branches in Gumare, Maun, Francistown and Gaborone.