GABORONE - The Ipelegeng Programme is relevant to addressing the plight of the poor, says Dr Happy Fidzani, a consultant at Botswana Institute of Development Policy Analysis (BIDPA).
He said this during a consultative workshop for the review of the Ipelegeng Programme held in Gaborone on Tuesday.
He stated that data analysis from survey, in-depth interviews and focal group discussions provides the evidence that underscores the relevance of the Ipelegeng Programme in poverty relief and eradication.
Dr Fidzani said an overwhelming 82 per cent of the respondents felt that the programme had assisted them to improve their welfare and 18 per cent felt that the programme had not improved their welfare.
The majority of respondents or about 63.8 per cent affirmed that Ipelegeng had given them skills that prepare them for the formal job market, adding that an overwhelming majority of 85 per cent of the respondents confirmed that they felt the programme afforded them some dignity.
Dr Fidzani noted that the beneficiaries of Ipelegeng and key informants expected the government to be the sole sponsor of the programme, increase wages and the employment duration, as well as employ participants on a permanent basis.
The Minister of Local Government, Mr Peter Siele, stated that from 2008 to date local authorities and government departments have been implementing the Ipelegeng Programme and have been experiencing some challenges.
He noted that even after four years of implementation, there was still disagreement on what Ipelegeng really seeks to address.
The ministry, he said, had decided to undertake a holistic review of the programme to assess its relevance, efficiency and effectiveness.
The review was meant to identify feasible and cost effective enhancements to the programme within the emerging social development policy framework. In September 2011, BIDPA was commissioned to undertake the review.
Furthermore, Mr Siele stated that the programme is a source of supplementary income and employment to, but not limited to vulnerable members of the community.
He noted that the purpose of the newly introduced sustenance initiative under the programme came about as a result of the observation made by government while implementing it.
It was observed that the programme beneficiaries working outside the villages in projects such as bush clearing among others do not have access to outlets where they could purchase food while at work.
The beneficiaries therefore went for hours without food and this affects their productivity, consequent to this government decided to provide a snack to all beneficiaries. The initiative, he said, was planned and budgeted for during the 2012/2013 financial year and implementation started on April 1, 2012. The snacks are in the form of phaphatha, legwinya or lepakiwa and soft drink.
Suppliers of the snacks are small scale entrepreneurs and are selected in any particular locality to support its economic development. The Department of Public Health ensures that health standards are adhered to. BOPA