Motshwari Kitso

National Director Botswana SOS Children’s Villages in Botswana

Where there is a will, there is a way A Story of a successful fundraising campaign against all odds

In the year 2004, a Child Rights Situation Analysis Study was conducted in Botswana. This was during the time when HIV/AIDS pandemic was ravaging the country and there was a lot of panic as the infection rate was on the high as one out of three people was infected in the country. The government then had not yet put any solid interventions in place and there was panic in the country. Furthermore there were quite a number of deaths of parents and caregivers, leaving many children vulnerable and orphans. There was a call from the government for participation of all stakeholders/NGO’s, and community Based Organisations in the care and support for the vulnerable children.

Need for a third SOS Children’s Village in Botswana
Thus we were convinced of the need for a third SOS Children’s Village in Botswana. In view of the increasing number of orphans in the country SOS Children’s Villages Botswana resolved to construct the third village in the country. SOS Children’s Villages International was approached for funding the project. Unfortunately it could not afford financing it.  However the board reviewed and realised that there were very limited adequate care options available in the country. Thus it felt strongly that due to the high vulnerability levels in the country, there was a greater need to construct the third village. I was asked to advise the board on the different options available. Would we want to keep on realising our dream even though we were told we will not get any international funding? I thus counselled the board that the only way out was to engage in massive local fundraising. There was obviously a greater need and we needed local citizen participation to overcome challenges on the spot. Further I advised the board to launch the campaign asking for community involvement. They needed to carry out the project. I imagined pride and dignity of local stakeholders as positive side effects. So the board resolved to do local fundraising for the construction of the third SOS Village in the country.

First local fundraising campaign is a success story
In 2005, the campaign kicked off to raise P 14.000.000 and the construction was divided into four phases which were to be achieved in a period of two years. I headed a team of six people who represented the campaign team and we were distributed in different responsibility sectors according to given phases.  The target for the first and second phase was achieved well ahead of time and construction was started. Target for construction was met together with the equipping of the new SOS Village. We built 10 family houses, a kinder garden, administration block, clinic, a hall, and four staff houses. The village is currently a home to 96 children and youths. As part of the campaign, we managed to bring on board sponsors for the purchase of three vehicles as the village fleet, a furniture company donated furniture for all the houses and we also managed to drill a borehole as an additional source of water. One really could see the impact of the involvement and bonding of local stakeholders.

Not only the construction but also the maintenance costs had to and could be obtained locally. One could say we acted from necessity and it turned into a success story.

Being a Member Association in an international Federation
In my capacity as the National Director I always had and have to ensure good working relationships between the Member Association and SOS Children’s Villages International. This story shows the importance of mutual understanding and trust in working relationships.  It also shows the importance of strong affiliation. Furthermore it highlights the significance of face to face debates about solution finding for challenging situations. We have to consider federation rules while we act interdependently.

Moreover it shows that SOS CVI as custodian of the brand must ensure that all member associations are familiar with its governing rules and regulations to ensure common understanding about it. Last not least one could see how important it is to consider local situations when decisions are taken within the federation and the same vice versa.

Member Associations must familiarise themselves with the statutes of the federation
In this campaign I have found out as managers we must familiarize ourselves with the international statutes so that we can advise our local Board accordingly. I also learned that SOS CVI must make an effort to ensure giving on the spot guidance so that we do not fall into potholes. Furthermore it has shown that when people are determined they can overcome all situations. In conclusion one could say ‘where there is a will, there is always a way’. 

Motshwari Kitso

is National Director of SOS Children’s Villages Botswana. Kitso has been working in human development for more than 25 years. He sees childcare as a work field in which every day presents new opportunities and challenges. Nothing is routine and this keeps him continuing to learn.

He is a father of two girls who are a source of inspiration. Family for him means togetherness for a purpose. We all need family for closeness, sharing, support, love and trust. During his leisure time he read novels, newspapers and other publications to keep track of the emerging trends. He also enjoys visiting his farm which refreshes his mind and re-energises him.   
Motshwari lives in Gaborone which is the capital city of Botswana. It is home to over 400,000 people and is safe and clean. It is one of the fastest growing cities in the world and attracts many people from around the world. People in Gaborone are very welcoming, caring and compassionate.