Botswana Speaks blog

How ICTs and traditions work together in Botswana? Read the Botswana Speaks PRESS RELEASE

First crucial stage successfully reached for the Botswana Speaks Parliamentary Initiative with the development of the Alpha version of the online platform and its presentation to the Members of Parliament in Gaborone. Botswana, like many African countries, has a strong history of traditional tribal leadership and administration.  Botswana Speaks launched in October 2012 is a project that enables citizens, traditional leaders and local kgotla assemblies in four constituencies (Maun West, Nata/Gweta, Boteti North and South East South) to share their views and policy concerns with their elected representatives through the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).
On Tuesday 29 January, Vasilis Koulolias, Programme Director of the Botswana Speaks Parliamentary Initiative, presented the Alpha version of the platform to the four Members of Parliament involved in the project: Hon. Makosha, Hon. Motlhale, Hon. Moremi and Hon. Tsogwane.
During the orientation seminar, the Members of Parliament discovered the online platform for the first time, discussed improvements and planned the next steps of the initiative. Their strong involvement and contributions to implementing this initiative reflect in the words of the Clerk of the National Assembly, Mrs. Barbara Dithapo, who showed her commitment during the orientation seminar organized for the staff of the Parliament on 30 January: “Botswana Speaks has to be successful.”
The two orientation seminars organized last week were a great success, with valuable feedback from Members of Parliament on the online platform and fruitful exchange of ideas on the organization and implementation of the pilot phase of the project to start in April 2013. The next couple of months will be intense for the Botswana Speaks partners: development of the final version of the online platform; training of constituency officers who will chair constituency meetings; organization of the constituency meetings where ongoing legislation will be discussed and debated in villages in the four constituencies involved.
“The originality of this project is that we do not aim at implementing an ICT tool without looking at the traditional role of chiefs in the local politics.  Rather, we want to incorporate these [ICT] tools within the traditions and not look at only online tools but the offline world as well,” says Kheira Belkacem, Assistant Programme Director.

Please find below the English and the translated versions of the press release:



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