The University of Botswana has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Botswana Red Cross Society (BRCS) to assist the latter in capacity building. Vice Chancellor, Professor David Norris, signed for UB while BRCS Secretary General, Mr Kutlwano Mukokomani, signed for the society.
The MoU was signed during the BRCS Annual Volunteer Recognition and Award Ceremony held at UB Conference Centre on July 5, 2022. The awards were held to honour and recognise individual members and volunteers for outstanding volunteer service and acts of great contribution to the Society's cause for the Red Cross Movement.
Welcoming guests at the ceremony, BRCS President, Mr Otto Odirile Itumeleng, said the signing of the MoU signified a milestone in the history of BRCS and UB particularly that it would assist BRCS in capacity building.
Regarding the awards, Mr Mukokomani spoke about the mandate of the BRCS, noting that where government could not reach and assist those in need, BRCS through its able and dedicated volunteers filled the gap. He observed that the volunteers were the backbone of BRCS, making it possible to provide humanitarian aid.
Assistant Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Ms Talita Monnakgotla, said Botswana’s socio-economic development was founded and anchored on volunteerism. She stated that it was through such spirit that developments such as the University of Botswana were realized under the banner of “Motho le Motho Kgomo” during which Batswana from all walks of life contributed whatever they could to establish the institution.
To that end, Ms Monnakgotla acknowledged BRCS for assisting government when the COVID-19 pandemic struck. She said BRCS helped young people to go through the COVID-19 ordeal providing rehabilitation and guiding those venturing into business. The Minister applauded BRCS awardees and encouraged them to continue their work even under difficult circumstances, noting that government also recognised their efforts.
For his part, Professor Norris prefaced his speech with an expression that “not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts”. He explained that the expression captured what volunteering was all about. In addition, Professor Norris observed that while volunteerism might not be quantified it did not mean it was valueless.
He said a nation that spent part of its time volunteering reflected its values as a caring society with a sense of responsibility and passionate about justice. He highlighted that UB could learn a lot from BRCS especially during this period of transformation where the aim was to move away from just teaching and learning but impacting society and improving the standard of living through research. Professor Norris said he was looking forward to a fruitful and impactful collaboration with BRCS.
Giving a vote of thanks, Deputy Director for Community Development, Ms Delic Sehunwe, stated that the Ministry Local Government and Rural Development believed in partnerships because helping people was only possible through joint efforts. Ms Sehunwe acknowledged BRCS for promoting volunteerism in that it augmented government efforts through provision of social services, health and disaster management. She said such was in line with the Vision 2036 pillar of achieving human and social development.