Mokolodi Nature Reserve has received a P1 million shot in the arm from Debswana Diamond Company. The funds are for the payment of the facility's replacement of its electric fence.
Speaking at the presentation of the donation Friday, former president Sir Ketumile Masire said Debswana has been a leading donor to Mokolodi since its inception in 1991. Sir Ketumile is the chairman of the Mokolodi Board of Trustees.
The gesture has since set off a process that has seen the establishment of Mokolodi as an environmental education centre with a full range of wildlife, including rhino, giraffe and elephant. Debswana has been a member of the facility's board of trustees from the beginning.
Sir Ketumile noted that Mokolodi has become a vibrant charitable enterprise presently employing more than seventy people from neighbouring communities on a full time basis. The mandate of these communities and the nature reserve is focused on working towards the common goals of environmental education and conservation.
"Before that, this was a ranch land, providing employment for only six people", the former president said.
Mokolodi was founded on the philosophy that its tourism activities must finance its core goal of providing environmental education for Batswana children. Sir Ketumile pointed out that Botswana's natural treasures such as the Okavango Delta, the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans and the plains of the Kgalagadi hold the potential to provide sustainable diversification of Botswana's diamond-based economy.
He encouraged Mokolodi to examine tapping into the opportunities presented by the setting up of the world diamond centre in Botswana, which could lead to the nature reserve playing a role as an educational centre of excellence.
On another realm, Debswana has called on Mokolodi to minimise human and wildlife conflict in order to allow the facility to fulfil its mandate of recreation and environmental education.
"In the light of the expansion of Gaborone and neighbouring centres, it has become pertinent to the reserve to minimise human versus wildlife conflict," said Debswana Public and Corporate Affairs Manager, Jacob Sesinyi, in a press statement.
Mokolodi has contributed to the country's development by hosting thousands of Batswana children at its Environmental Education Centre each year.