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Sesigo project journey ends

Government is making strides towards digital inclusion in the context of information provision, Minister of Youth, Sport and Culture Mr Shaw Kgathi has said.

Officially closing a global libraries initiative project called Sesigo in Gaborone on Thursday, Minister Kgathi said the project formed part of the broader e-government initiative of increasing service delivery through technology.

When it started four years ago, it was envisaged that the project would be a vehicle to transform Botswana into an information society and information, communication technology (ICT) compliant nation, Mr Kgathi said. He said, “the key to this transformation was to have an effective modernised public library system that offers not only book but also information in multi-media format.

He said equipped libraries played a leading role as they were strategically positioned in most areas of the country to accelerate government efforts to roll-out e-services to the public. Prior to the project, Mr Kgathi highlighted that none of the libraries provided public access to computers and internet.

He said the advent of the Sesigo project offered a learning opportunity not only to the librarians but also to communities in general. The project had up to date offered training on basic computers to 352 of the 435 target of library personnel and it had also managed to equip 72 of the 78 libraries with computers, 41 of which had internet connectivity.

Through the Sesigo project, Minister Kgathi said, not only has the country witnessed positive improvement in the lives of citizens but has seen public librarians grow and develop their competencies in library provision work. He said despite the positives, there were challenges that the project continued to grapple with such as the unavailability of affordable internet infrastructure and power supply, especially in the rural areas.

The minister highlighted that his ministry would make every effort to resolve them and continue to make the necessary provisions for sustained computer and internet services in public libraries.

For his part, African Comprehensive HIIV/AIDS Partnerships (ACHAP) chief executive officer, Mr Mafeni Jerome said the Sesigo project aimed at transforming public libraries. He said the project also contributed largely to the country achieving the Vision 2016 pillar of an educated and informed nation.

“This project has largely contributed and assisted the public to easily access information”, he said. Sesigo project director,  Dr Sebusang Sebusang said the four year project which started in 2009 has gone through a dynamic process for it to achieve its goals. He said it has since moved to provide the public with resources they needed to access information.

Despite the challenges faced, Dr Sebusang said the project has begun to provide opportunities even to pre ╨ primary school going kids, a moment they require to computer knowledge.

He said through the project, they intend to impact library services users in order for them to benefit through information availability.

The Sesigo project commenced in 2009, when the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture, together with its partners, ACHAP signed a Memorandum of Understanding to embark on a project sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation through the Global Libraries Initiatives.

The project was a nation ╨ wide endeavor that aimed at installing computers and internet in national library service points for free use by the public to improve the quality of people’s lives.

The name Sesigo symbolises the flourishing source of information from which everyone can have a share irrespective of age, gender or educational background.

The project’s benefits were geared towards narrowing the information divide that local communities often experienced due to lack of access to affordable information resources and communication technologies necessary for equitable socio ╨ economic participation. ENDS

Source : BOPA

Author : Segametsi Kebonang

Location : Gaborone

Event : Initiative project closing

Date : Aug 04 Sun,2013

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