Mmegi Online :: BBS and UBORI donates lifejackets to address drowning
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Friday 16 November 2018, 13:42 pm.
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BBS and UBORI donates lifejackets to address drowning

MAUN: Botswana Building Society (BBS) in conjunction with University of Botswana’s Okavango Research Institute (UBORI) has donated 30 life jackets to the community of Matlapana to be used for safe crossing of river channels.
By Boniface Keakabetse Wed 19 Nov 2014, 16:22 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: BBS and UBORI donates lifejackets to address drowning








The donation was made by the officials of the two institutions to the community leaders at Matlapana Kgotla recently.

The idea was initiated by UBORI but funded by BBS to address the escalation of drowning cases by people crossing the river. Out of the 30 donated life jackets, 20 are for adults while 10 are for children.

The donation was presented to the community by Professor Masamba and BBS Maun branch manager, Shatiso Tafila and was received by Matlapana Kgosi,  Tshupegetso Bontsibokae.

Speaking during the event, Dr Mike Murray Hudson from UBORI said the idea was born out of a concern about lack of information by the communities on safe river use which led to deaths.

He said to answer this concern, UBORI conducted some research on how the situation could be better addressed. He revealed that their research identified lack of access to life jackets by river users as one of the contributors to river related mortalities. It was identified that most people who drown on boats and other crossings are those who cannot swim.

He said they decided that community owned life jackets can improve safety and approached BBS to help fund the project. 

Dr Hudson also explained that as part of

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this intervention UBORI has also struck a partnership with Botswana Defence Force (BDF) to conduct free community swimming lessons for river users in Sexaxa and Matlapana.  He further explained that community-based life guards would also be trained for rescues to avert river drowning.

At the occasion, Deputy District commissioner, Gaefetswe Maphakwane said the donation will help the communities as many people have lost their lives. She said already nine drowning cases have been recorded by the Maun police for this year, 2014.

 She said the donation will beef up all the disaster relief services provided by government to communities. She noted that life jackets are very expensive hence the government has so far failed to provide them freely due to inadequacy of funds.

Maphakwane also hailed the intervention, noting that its strength is public education noting “the best way to empower people is to educate them.”

Matlapana Kgosi, Bontsibokae hailed the donation and the contribution of UBORI to social upliftment in the Matlapana and Sexaxa areas where the research institute is located. He said the community lost their grazing areas in land to give way for the institution, noting that however the community is reaping the fruits of its sacrifice.

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