GABORONE - Orange Botswana, through Orange Foundation, is proud to launch its 6th Women’s Digital Centre (WDC) in Botswana, officially opening the Chobe WDC on the 19th of October 2022. The WDC, in line with Orange Foundation’s global model for WDCs and its wider inclusive diversity agenda to bridge the digital gender and power gap, has as its primary goal a desire to increase women's employability and financial independence. The new Chobe WDC caters for up to 60 women in Botswana’s tourism hub who are marginalised from mainstream economic activity, and yet seek means to grow their ability to become active participants in the country’s economy. .“As stalwarts and breadwinners in homes across the Nation, the role of women in growing and supporting families cannot be overlooked. The inclusion, support and empowerment – whether for family support or sheet independence – therefore cannot be overlooked, and we can and must continue to invest in this. Women account for over 50% of our nation’s population. The WDCs aim to make a change in this regard,” said Orange Botswana Director of Legal Affairs and Corporate Affairs, Lepata Mafa-Nthomola,The Chobe WDC, located at Kazungula, will provide ICT literacy and micro-entrepreneurial skills training modules to disadvantaged women in the community. The initiative aims to provide women with a platform to harness knowledge on ICT literacy and entrepreneurial skills in order to gain financial independence by creating their own businesses. Setting up the new Chobe WDC, Orange Botswana has donated 30 tablets, 30 headsets, 10 laptops, 1 printer with 4 additional cartridges, a projector and projector screen, 2 servers and 100 USBs. This will be followed by ICT training, financial literacy and entrepreneurial skills training. .“Gender equality is a right recognised by the United Nations across the world; however, it is a long way from being applied everywhere in the same way. Even in Botswana, despite great efforts being made, we cannot confidently say we are where we need to be; where the women of Botswana deserve to be. This is what the Women's Digital Centre (WDC) programme aims to do at its core: support women to better support themselves, and in turn, their families and communities. It is a tried and tested model that allows us to create shared value and impact in a sustainable manner, moving us as a nation closer to bridging the digital and indeed access gap, and ensuring we are that much closer to becoming a more knowledge-based economy. It is about digital solidarity for progress, and indeed, with a purpose,” concluded Lepata.In 2018, the WDC was launched in Ghanzi in partnership with Humana People to People (HPP). The following year, in 2019, an additional centre opened in Molepolole in partnership with Project Concern International (PCI). The third centre was opened in 2020 in Mabele village in the Chobe region, also in partnership with Project Concern International. In 2021, a WDC was launched in Selibe Phikwe in partnership with Eagles Avenue. There are now a total of six WDCs in Botswana, with an estimated direct impact for over 800 women across the nation.ENDS.