Minister Sets Record Straight On Volunteer Scheme

| May 13, 2015

Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Mr Thapelo Olopeng, says the recently introduced Graduate Volunteer Scheme (GVS) is valuable.

Mr Olopeng said in an interview that GVS was a volunteer programme meant to be a solution for unemployment.

According to the minister, a volunteer was a non-salaried worker and spent valuable time doing something that will benefit a person or the society without expecting any remuneration.

“I got very disappointed how this initiative raised controversies and criticisms, after it was introduced despite the fact that the name of the programme itself is self-explanatory ‘Graduate Volunteer Scheme’ I even visited the dictionary to confirm the meaning of the word,” said Mr Olopeng.

He said government’s involvement was to assist the youth with pocket money. The minister said for a long time, the youth under the National Internship Programme were sometimes made to wait for their turns, and that during such periods, some of them opted to volunteer.

“When these children are out there volunteering their service, they are bound to incur expenses and that is when government made an initiative to assist,” he said.

He said government encouraged volunteerism as a spirit that had been there from as far back as 1965, hence the introduction of the P600 token to meet volunteers half way as they gained some experience for the job market.

He said some organisations, especially the private sector, required employment recruits to have two or more year of experience as such, GVS will give the young people an opportunity to be ready for such demand.

Mr Olopeng said at the moment the ministry was still working around the clock to see how the GVS uptake will be and that currently there were 105 applicants registered under the scheme.

The programme is due to be launched and it focuses on youth from 18 to 35 years and it will strictly be reserved for government entities for purposes of management, accountability and access to information.

With regards to reducing unemployment amongst youth, minister Olopeng said his main focus is on Youth Development Fund, which he intends to use to change lives of young people.

He said currently he has assigned officers to come up with a proper database that is informative and systematic in order to be able to attend to specific issues with regards to these projects.

“We want to evaluate existing businesses to know why they were collapsing and in future consider refinancing those projects that can create employment for more young people,” he said.

Source : BOPA

Source : Botswana Daily News

Category: Governance

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