Sharing ideas with colleagues is extremely important and teamwork is a fundamental skill in the workplace. CITW Namibia decided to visit Botswana to see and gain knowledge on how to start/work with Adult Eco-Clubs as they would like to establish these in Namibia.
Ketji and Agnes arrived at the Maun office on 23rd June and in the afternoon we drove to Shashe to see the Shashe Adult Eco-Club. Agnes was very interested and happy to see the ladies in their beautiful outfits and the songs that welcomed them. Firstly, the club secretary introduced her group to the visitors and welcome remarks were made by the chairperson. Mary Hastag explained to the ladies the purpose of the colleagues’ visit. She indicated that CITW does the same thing in all regions, so as CITW Namibia does not have Adult Eco-Clubs, they were in Botswana to learn from the group about how they started, challenges and way forward.
The vice-chairperson, Mrs Mogapi, explained how they started, their aims and objectives. She also mentioned the benefits they got from CITW and Wilderness Safaris (WS) and that they have managed to attend many workshops and are supplying WS with products with the quality skills they received from the workshops. She continued that with their own skills they have different projects such as bead work, tapestry, sewing, knitting, papermaking and others.
In addition the vice-chairperson said that they are facing challenges but due to their commitment and hardwork they don’t give up. She said that whenever they have problems they call for a meeting and solve it, she also indicated that they do not earn money in the club on monthly basis, they only share at the end of the year as they believe the club has not yet grown enough to have salaries. She also mentioned that they are hoping to buy their own plot so that they can operate safely since they are still using the school and the house of colleagues so materials are not always safe.
Lastly the group gave Agnes a word of advice to pass to the women that it is not easy to work as a group, the only thing that can work for them is to be patient, to have commitment, to be hardworking and not eager for money. Mary also add to the women advice that Agnes and Ketji should go and help the ladies to find market for their products.
Agnes bought some products from Shashe Adult Eco-Club so that her ladies can see what others are doing, she even got a present from the ladies as a token of appreciation for the visit.
We then travelled to Habu village where Ketji and Agnes met people from Namibia. The chairperson, Mr Kilano, welcomed the visitors. Mr Kilano mentioned the products they are making and that most of their products are marketed to Wilderness Safaris and that they have attended many workshops with the help of Children in the Wilderness. However, he mentioned that they have challenges in that most of the members are adults and farmers who they live at their cattle posts and have limited time to meet.
Ketji and Agnes had chances to ask questions, Ketji asked the club their biggest achievement since they have started. Chairperson proudly showed his up and that sewing of pre-school uniform is one of their best achievement as they have already made a sale and they are now busy doing stock for 2017. On the other hand, one of the member also pointed that basketry is also their best projects since wilderness is supporting them by buying their products. Lastly the adults added that even if they have got challenges, their vision is to see them with unity, cooperation and team work spirit. Agnes and Ketji had time to go through the group’s displayed products and to buy some products so that they can show their group.