In July this year, Letshego Botswana partnered with ‘These Hands’; a global social enterprise start-up based in Botswana, that trains and mentors youth innovators to develop low-cost technologies that helps local members of our communities to overcome daily challenges. Letshego Botswana supported These Hands with over P1.7Million in bridging finance to facilitate up-skilling co-creative training workshops and mentorship for local youth innovators to help them to ultimately generate income and participate in the technology and creative industries sectors, as a way to combat unemployment and eradicate poverty.

Over the past six weeks, These Hands have held two–week co-creation workshops in Moiyabana, Mosu, Rasesa and in co-creation training workshops where they trained 50 community members in the rural areas in new and innovative ways to sustain themselves, their families and communities. They are currently in Otse where they will produce 4 prototypes, followed by community co-creative workshops over a two-week period in Ranaka, where they also expect to produce 4 prototypes.

Fergus Ferguson, Letshego Botswana’s Chief Executive Officer said, “I am impressed at the impact that These Hands have managed to have on local communities in such a short period of time, to be able deliver relevant innovations and solutions that benefit our local communities and can potentially ignite entrepreneurship, rural employment and ultimately, local economic development. It is fascinating that residents in rural communities, especially the youth, can now produce quality works and have gain experience as well as a newfound sense of confidence, hope and self-worth.”

The investment by These Hands and Letshego Botswana was greatly appreciated by community’ members and stakeholders, as evidenced by residents producing 10 prototypes, 3 of which were sold in Moiyabana. These included a brick moulder, fodder chopper, a smart garden , a deep sand carrier as well as a  deep sand carrier in Mosu. A Makgonatsotlhe pedal powered sorghum thrasher has been developed for community rental in Rasesa village.

Thabiso Mashaba, the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer for These Hands said, “These Hands is committed to empowering the livelihoods of the poor in rural communities of the developing world. Batswana have truly embraced our co-creative design process approaches to community empowerment and technology development. It spurns me on and gives me a huge sense of pride to witness young Batswana in our rural communities becoming more confident and inspired to take steps to address livelihood challenges, while also applying some of their indigenous knowledge and skills. Nothing makes me more inspired than witnessing sustainable developments growing within our rural communities” 

These Hands believe in a bottom-up approach to community-led development, hence they work with individuals from focal rural communities who demonstrate a commitment to develop skills that they can use to create technological solutions to resolve challenges faced by their community. This helps innovators to deliver relevant solutions through which they can sustain themselves and create jobs and wealth for themselves and their communities, which are often poverty-stricken. 

These Hands’ offices are based in Gaborone and they have opened up centres in D’Kar, Rakops, Dutlwe and Kaputura. After they complete the series of trainings will launch an innovation centre at Tsodilo Village, followed by either Moiyabana, Mosu, Rasesa, Otse or Ranaka given their pending talks with the respective Village Development Committees.