The Institute of Development Management (IDM) Botswana on Wednesday signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with the body representing the voices of former migrant labourers who worked at South African mines.
The MoA between IDM and Botswana Mine Labourers' Association (BOLAMA) was signed at Molepolole kgotla in front of Bakwena leader, Kgosi Kgari Sechele and other chiefs, the district commissioner and the local community.
Molepolole kgotla also happens to house the BOLAMA headquarters, while the village also currently hosts the only hospital in the country for testing of mining related TB, as well as hosting the offices of TEBA - the former recruiting agency for mine workers from Botswana to South Africa.
Since the partnership IDM has agreed to upskill beneficiaries of the ex-miners with entrepreneurship skills to enable them to invest wisely whatever funds they would have received as compensation from the mines, after the South African mines eventually released substantial amounts of money to benefit the former miners including in Botswana, who were adversely affected by the mines' working conditions.
The process of claiming compensation includes verification of status as a former mine worker as well as tests at the Molepolole specialised clinic to determine the extent of harm the working conditions at the mines did to one’s lungs.
With more and more former miners now receiving compensation, BOLAMA approached IDM to partner with them to impart life skills for members and beneficiaries to wisely use the meagre resources.
According to BOLAMA’s chairperson, Simon Dikhudu the association developed interest in IDM after the training institution’s research on TB at the mines, which led to BOLAMA inviting IDM to present on TB at the mines’ findings at a former miners’ widows forum held last year.
Dikhudu said IDM was then approached to extend a hand in offering training for the BOLAMA members many of who lack financial or entrepreneurial skills to help them invest their funds wisely.
Ellen Mokalake said they would interact with the beneficiaries to find out about their training needs.
For IDM, the Molepolole signing ceremony with BOLAMA was a continuation of their long-standing community development partnership programme.
In 2014 for instance, IDM signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, which has since seen the training institute develop training programmes such as degree in community development, as well as short term courses to train and up-skill community development officers.