In a concerted effort to assist the Botswana government combat the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, on Thursday May 7 th , the Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) donated 4000 units of liquid soaps and 1700 bars of soap to Serowe community.
BIUST has taken several steps to help address the pandemic, including partnership with the Local Enterprise Authority (LEA), who provided the much needed mass soap production equipment to ensure sufficiency and efficiency in the production of the BIUST Bathing and Liquid Soap for the local market. The products are produced at the BIUST laboratories and are invented by the BIUST students and the academic staff.
On behalf of the community, the products were received by the village leadership panel; the Bangwato Regent Kgosi Sediegeng Kgamane, the District Commissioner Mr. Rapetse Mathumo, Council Chairman Mr. Lesedi Phuthego and Deputy Council Secretary Mr. Robert Letlole.
Addressing the panel under strict covid-19 social distancing measures, the BIUST Vice Chancellor, Professor Otlogetswe Totolo alluded to the fact at that it is the University’s aims to stimulate research, innovation and technology transfer and society’s aspirations to improve health, wealth and well-being, in order to remain relevant to the lives of the people in the neighbouring periphery. This is a good indicator to the leap towards transiting from a resource-based to a knowledge-based economy.
Prof. Totolo envisioned the university spreading its aid beyond the frontiers of Serowe/Palapye to assist other maligned communities in the country. He indicated that the covid-19 products are without doubt going to have a huge impact in the lives of Batswana.
“Serowe is the capital of the Central District, hence the University saw it fit to be here today to donate these bar and liquid soaps. I believe the relevant authorities will distribute these products accordingly to vulnerable communities’’ he said. Prof. Totolo specified that over and above the products donated, BIUST also partnered with Morupule Coal Mine (MCM) who contributed BWP100,000.00 towards supporting the production of hand sanitisers. Recently drone sprayers were developed by BIUST in conjunction with the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) they have already commenced work to disinfect the air at the densely populated spots around Palapye such as the ever-busy Palapye Primary Hospital, District Administrative Authority and shopping malls. Another innovation is the development of a real-time dashboard for visualisation of COVID-19 pandemic in Botswana, developed through collaboration with iThemba LABS and University of the Witwatersrand (WITS) in South Africa.
He assured the Serowe leadership that the University’s efforts in the mass productions would go a long way to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and in positioning the BIUST products as prospective economic drivers post COVID-19 pandemic and activates economic diversification through research and innovation. “The commercialization of these projects will contribute towards industry growth and development, and advancement of a diversified knowledge-based economy” Totolo echoed.
Upon passing a vote of thanks, the Serowe District Commissioner Mr.R. Mathumo was elated to receive the donations from BIUST and expressed the need to collaborate further and impact on the lives of the needy during testing times to relief government of the vast responsibility.