Sesigo signifies efforts by the Government of Botswana and partners to enable public access to computers and internet by all citizens.
The four year project is a partnership between the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture (MYSC) and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation represented by ACHAP in Botswana. Implementation takes place through the Botswana National Library Services Department of MYSC which oversees all public libraries in Botswana. The project aims at bridging the digital divide.
Sesigo is a global development project, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It is a partnership between the Government of Botswana ACHAP, as the grantee contracted by the Gates Foundation and the Government of Botswana represented by the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture (MYSC) through the Botswana National Library Service (BNLS) where implementation of the project takes place.
The main objectives of the project are to allow meaningful access to computers and the Internet especially by communities that might otherwise have missed out on the benefits of modern ICTs and information services. Secondly it aims to transform public libraries and allow them to provide the full range of information services and have a measurable positive impact on the lives of users both socially and economically. The project will avail a platform where all can access, at no-cost, ICT services at the public libraries and thus extends the reach of the e-government portal by providing the access points.
The Botswana public library system consists of 24 branch libraries; 4 community libraries (an endowment from Robert and Sarah Rothschild Family Foundation) and 69 village reading rooms (VRRs). VRR’s are community initiated mini-libraries varying in sizes run on community-owned buildings (sometimes local council buildings) which are equipped, maintained and managed by the Botswana National Library Service. When fully implemented a total of 78 public libraries will be equipped with computers and Internet for use by the public.
The project trains library staff on the use of computers, basic troubleshooting as well as how the platform (computers) can be used to generate new services (library) and make public libraries the e-government access platform. All professionally trained librarians will equally be trained to become project advocates and carry out monitoring and evaluation of library services, taking user feedback into account.
The library staff are further trained to become trainers of users (the public) and are projected to have trained 40,000 such users over a four year horizon on basic computer essentials and the use of the Internet.
Vision of success The project’s vision of success is a Botswana which has been transformed into an information society with effective modern public libraries that offer free access to computers and Internet for all citizens. A strong public library system and improved access to information are integral to this transformation, and as such they significantly contribute towards the attainment of the country’s socio-economic goals, in particular the Vision 2016 pillar of an educated, informed nation.
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