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Passion for youth

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Passion for youth
GO GETTER: Morebodi

Young volunteer wins American award

Kagiso David Morebodi recently won The United States of America President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) Youth of The Year Award.

PEPFAR is the U.S. Government initiative that seeks to assist countries in achieving HIV/epidemic control and an AIDS free generation.

After quitting his career in banking, 32-year-old Kagiso founded Remmogo Youth Organisation in 2010 to inspire young Batswana towards greater personal and social responsibility.

His organization has successfully used a variety of media channels to educate, encourage, and empower youth to take responsibility towards achieving their goals.

In 2014 he started Botswana Youth Awards to recognize youth contribution towards the development of their country.

Voice reporter, Portia Ngwako-Mlilo had a chat with Morebodi about this year’s Youth Awards and his achievement in volunteerism.

Passion for youth
AMBITIOUS: Morebodi

Q. What inspired you to introduce Botswana Youth Awards?

A. We make over 60% of the population of this country and youth are involved in a lot of things but when do we recognize and celebrate them?

Young people are the leaders of tomorrow they need to be encouraged, empowered and developed in such a way that when they get to a certain stage of decision making they have been equipped and instilled with the essence of leadership skills.

Basically the wards are meant to recognize, reward and celebrate young people who are making a difference in their respective communities

Q. What were you looking at when coming up with awards categories?

A. The policy that was passed by the cabinet in 2010 showed that youth consists of age bracket 18-35 and that is why we started the awards in 2014 with 18 categories but they will increase in future.

We also did a survey as desktop research through University of Botswana to find the core areas and the outcome helped us to come up with those categories.

Q. Explain the theme ‘The Possible Dream, Embracing Tomorrow?

A. What you do today affects your future. You reap what you sow.

It also says nothing is impossible, challenges will always be there but they strengthen us, give us wisdom and open up our minds.

If you are having a project you need to be learn to receive constructive criticism well.

Q. After winning the award what’s next?

A. We have approached various institutions to offer scholarships to some of the winners.

We want some companies to engage some of our winners as bran ambassadors.

Winners and finalists will attend a Youth Summit in October for capacity building. We will be looking at character building, job hunting and business skills among others.

Some of the winners will go to other countries through different embassies for cultural exchanges and networking.

Winners will also get Botswana Qualification Authority accredited certificates.

Q. What are some of the challenges you faced when starting this project?

A. When you start something you will get inundated with doubts and people tend to appreciate your idea when the project is running and successful so mine was not any different.

My team and I had financial challenges.

The awards were launched in 2014 and this will be the second event and already we have ten corporate companies on board, which is a good sign.

Q. What was the outcome of Remmogo Youth Foundation five year strategic plan?

A. I had to quit my job in 2011 and formed this foundation after realizing that a lot of young people are perishing in road accidents due to alcohol and substance abuse.

We came up with a strategic plan and submitted it to office of the president and the late former vice president Lieutenant General Mompati Merafhe approved it.

We decided to come up with road safety campaign songs like ‘Kgweetsa ka Kelotlhoko’ and ‘A re Kopaneng’ to spread the message. We also used social media.

We completed the report but we did not reach our target because we wanted to go as far as settlement areas but unfortunately we had logistics challenges.

We had achievements though and we got positive response from youth.

Q. What are some of your achievements?

A. In 2012 I won Vision 2016 Award under Safe and Secure Nation pillar.

I got Junior Chambers International award and recently American Embassy gave me the PEPFAR Youth of The Year Award.

It is meant to recognize youth leading in social issues, especially HIV/AIDS in their countries.

Last year I got Gabz FM award for 50 Young Batswana Change Makers.

Q. How do you feel about the American Embassy Award?

A. To me it is a milestone and I am billed to travel to the States and receive it.

Maybe I will have an opportunity to meet President Donald Trump (he laughed).

To me it’s an opportunity for me to network and I am proud to be representing my country.

Being recognized at international level is a massive achievement.

Q. What is your dream?

A. My dream has always been to leave a mark or a legacy that the nation will be proud of.

We are not going to live forever. I want people to remember that there was a young man who inspired and empowered a lot of youth.

I believe I was not born for a white-collar job and that is why I decided to quit office work and follow my passion of making a difference in young people’s lives.

I chose to work for my country and my payment will be in heaven.

I think this is a God given passion, mind you I was born on the 7th day of the 7th month and biblically this is the day that God rested.

Q. You seem to be busy with volunteerism work. Where do you get time to rest and to attend to your family?

A. My wife is very supportive and I am lucky to have her in my life.

She takes care of our two children when I am engaged.

I am always engaged, I work with a plan and every day I must achieve something or something that I could not achieve the day before and find a way of making that possible.

Q. Who is your inspiration?

A. My mother and my father and I am their one and only child.

They have taught me principles and guided me to be a responsible young person.

My other inspiration is the minister of Youth Empowerment and Sport Development Thapelo Olopeng.

He has made a lot of changes in young people’s lives and he unlocked a lot of opportunities that the previous ministers did not give us.

He is on the ground and he works closely with young people.

Q. What advice can you give to young people?

A. Perseverance, hard work and patience pay. Nothing is impossible. I am a go -getter and I never give up.

They should not rely on the government, come up with innovative and creative ideas that can help you to earn a living.

Q. Thank God It’s Friday. What are your plans for the weekend?

A. Unfortunately I lost my uncle. He will be buried this Saturday in Molepolole so I’ll be at a funeral.

May His Soul Rest in Peace.

Q. Who is your inspiration?

A. My mother and my father and I am their one and only child.

They have taught me principles and guided me to be a responsible young person.

My other inspiration is the minister of Youth Empowerment and Sport Development Thapelo Olopeng.

He has made a lot of changes in youth lives and he opened a lot of opportunities that the previous ministers did not give us.

He is on the ground and work closely with young people.

Q. What advice can you give to young people?

A. Perseverance, hard work and patience pays. Nothing is impossible.

I am a go getter and I never give up.

They should not rely on the government, come up with innovative and creative ideas that can help you to earn a living.

Q. Thank God is Friday. What are your plans for the weekend?

A. Unfortunately I lost my uncle.

He will be buried this Saturday in Molepolole.

May His Soul Rest in Peace.