Orange Botswana, through Orange Foundation, has launched its sixth Women’s Digital Centre (WDC) in Botswana. The WDC, in line with Orange Foundation’s global model for WDCs and its wider inclusive diversity agenda to bridge the digital gender and power gap, has as its primary goal a desire to increase women's employability and financial independence.
The Orange Foundation annually supports initiatives which empower women in difficulty through its WDC programme. The programme aims to teach women basic management and entrepreneurial skills. It also seeks to provide a platform to promote digital inclusion by teaching women how to use digital tools and basic software. The ultimate goal of this initiative, according to Orange Foundation, is not only to provide women with education but also to help them become financially independent.
On the new Chobe WDC, the platform will cater for up to 60 women in Botswana’s tourism hub who are marginalised from mainstream economic activity and are yet to seek means to grow their ability to become active participants in the country’s economy. The Chobe WDC, located in Kazungula, will provide ICT literacy and micro-entrepreneurial skills training modules to disadvantaged women in the community. The initiative aims to provide women with a platform to harness knowledge on ICT literacy and entrepreneurial skills to gain financial independence by creating their own businesses. Setting up the new Chobe WDC, Orange Botswana has donated 30 tablets, 30 headsets, 10 laptops, one printer with four additional cartridges, a projector and projector screen, two servers, and 30 USBs. The donation will be followed by ICT training, financial literacy, and entrepreneurial skills training.
Speaking at the handover ceremony recently, Orange Botswana Director of Legal Affairs and Corporate Affairs Lepata Mafa-Nthomola highlighted that digital education is one of the key focus areas for the Orange Foundation.
“As stalwarts and breadwinners in homes across the nation, the role of women in growing and supporting families cannot be overlooked. The inclusion, support and empowerment—whether for family support or sheer independence—therefore cannot be overlooked, and we can and must continue to invest in these. Women account for over 50% of our nation’s population. The WDCs aim to make a change in this regard,” she further said.
According to Mafa-Nthomola, it is through such initiatives that Orange can drive one of its mandates of gender equality, especially through bridging the gap in the digital era.
“Gender equality is a right recognised by United Nations across the world. However, it is a long way from being applied everywhere in the same way. Even in Botswana, despite great efforts being made, we cannot confidently say we are where we need to be; where the women of Botswana deserve to be. This is what the Women's Digital Centre programme aims to do at its core: support women to better support themselves, and in turn, their families and communities. It is a tried and tested model that allows us to create shared value and impact in a sustainable manner, moving us as a nation closer to bridging the digital and indeed access gap, and ensuring we are that much closer to becoming a more knowledge-based economy. It is about digital solidarity for progress, and indeed, with a purpose,” Mafa- Nthomola said.
In 2018, the WDC was launched in Ghanzi in partnership with Humana People to People. The following year, in 2019, an additional centre opened in Molepolole in partnership with Project Concern International. The third centre was opened in 2020 in Mabele village in the Chobe region, also in partnership with Project Concern International. In 2021, a WDC was launched in Selebi Phikwe in partnership with Eagles Avenue. There are now a total of six WDCs in Botswana, with an estimated direct impact for over 800 women across the nation.
Brief about Orange: Orange is one of the world’s leading telecommunications operators with sales of €42.3 billion in 2020 and 142,000 employees worldwide on December 31, 2020, including 82,000 employees in France. The group has a total customer base of 259 million worldwide as at December 31, 2020, including 214 million mobile customers and 22 million customers on fixed broadband. The group is present in 26 countries. Orange is also a leading provider of global IT and telecommunication services to multinational companies, under the brand Orange Business Services. In December 2019, the group presented its new 'Engage 2025' strategic plan, which, guided by social and environmental accountability, aims to reinvent its operator model. While accelerating in growth areas and placing data and AI at the heart of its innovation model, the group will be an attractive and responsible employer, adapted to emerging professions. Orange is listed on Euronext Paris (symbol ORA) and the New York Stock Exchange (symbol ORAN)