According to the figures from Statistics Botswana, In 2017, 18.1 percent of the total labour force in Botswana was unemployed, an uncalled for, happening for one of the fastest growing economies in Africa and model for democracy that she has been hailed to be.
Be that as it may, some young people have decided that they will not sit back and watch as the worst unfolds and had rather taken a stance to join government and other stakeholders in trying to avert the situation.
The unemployment campaign is a resultant of such collective efforts from dedicated youth who have joined hands to fight unemployment.
The campaign is the brain child of an organisation called The Business Intervention in collaboration with Young Minds Association, Game Changers, African Union Youth Clubs, Master Minds Coop have embarked on a journey to facilitate a non-political, non-violent unemployment campaign that is aimed at addressing the issue at hand ( unemployment) in the country.
One of the representative of the campaign, Laone Desert, explained to this publication that the Unemployment Campaign is in phases, phase 1 being the use of social media to create awareness on the unemployment, phase 2 being active engagement with the affected group, stage 3 is the community projects that are expected to create employment opportunities for youth and lastly phase4 which will guide policy direction to foster for near future employment creation.
Their main goal she says is to address the issue of youth unemployment in Botswana, their main objectives being to raise awareness on the intensity and the adverse effects of unemployment on the youth, to facilitate and guide employment creation for young people in the greater Botswana, to provide policy direction as far as youth employment creation is concerned and to facilitate stakeholder engagement towards working together as a collective to address unemployment.
The first phase of the campaign has been on-going and Friday was its last day of action. This phase was carried out on Social Media and was used to depict the lives of young people who have graduated but are unable to find jobs. This was to create awareness on the intensity of the problem and to give light to the type of employment the graduates resort to as a way of earning a living.
This was also to de-stigmatize underemployment amongst graduates whom have the belief that it is demeaning to take on a job below their pay grades or to take on blue collar jobs. The social media campaign ran for 2 months for which the first month (April) was the circulation of photos showing graduates doing menial work and the second month (May) was the circulation of the videos interviewing young people on their feelings towards unemployment. The campaign was running under the hashtag #BrokenDreams.
“Within our 3rd day of the social media campaign we had already reached up to 30 000 people on social media. More than 400 shares and more than 1000 likes. On our 4th day, the campaign was already running in 7 different African countries and our 7th day it had reached 11 African countries,” said Desert.
The second phase is what the campaign team is embarking on from now. This step involves active engagement with the affected group that is the unemployed youth. “We will be going around Botswana engaging with the unemployed youth through Pitso/Dialogues to learn and to understand the dynamics of unemployment in the different parts of Botswana. These engagements are expected aid the research we are working on to assist us in coming up with possible recommendations towards addressing unemployment, “said Desert’s counterpart Tumisang Agosi, the regional coordinator of African Union Youth Clubs.
This phase according to the duo is for the purpose of getting the voices of the primary victims directly from them as per from their base without risking the possibility of generalizing challenges faced by each unemployed young person. During the campaign period a petition will be circulating to gain the support of young people and also to have their voices represented in the whole process. Volunteers of the campaign do the outreach simultaneously nationwide on the 16th June.
After getting to know the needs of young unemployed youth in different regions, the unemployment campaign team will then come up with community projects that will create employment for the young people in those specific areas These community projects according to Agosi will be guided by the research they gather during the outreaches and specific to the employment needs in the target area.
And then finally in October on a date yet to be announced they will host an Economic forum which will bring scholars and professionals to discuss unemployment. “The idea is to discuss policy direction and amendments to existing ones to foster for near future employment creation. This is the end goal of the campaign, to aid policy direction as far as youth unemployment is concerned,” she said.