The First National Bank Botswana (FNBB), through its Foundation, has officially handed over an aquaponics project to Gaborone Women's Prison this morning. The initiative seeks to empower women in prison with sustainable skills and opportunities for self-sufficiency, nurturing growth even within the confines of their incarceration.

Giving her handing over speech, the Chairperson of FNB Botswana Foundation, Ms Myrah Sekgororoane, expressed her delight at the completion of the project as it marked another successful collaboration between FNBB and Botswana Prison Service.

Ms. Sekgororoane said the FNBB Foundation had invested P225,251.80 in the project through the three FNBB branches roping their financial allotments together to implement a meaningful project; a legacy project that has far-reaching effect and sustainability for intended recipients.

She emphasized that the project is a brainchild of three female Branch Managers from Riverwalk, Industrial, and First Place who chose to support fellow women from prison in an endeavor to better their lives post-incarceration.

"It is in the interest of the Foundation to promote youth empowerment, welfare development, skills transfer, mentoring, and coaching to our beloved communities' post-incarceration. With the skills instilled in them, they will better contribute and be job creators who will be respected by the community," she said.

On giving his acceptance speech, Deputy Commissioner Anthony Mokento expressed gratitude on behalf of the Prison Service to receive yet another special donation from one of its key stakeholders. He stated that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity that must be recognised in a special way.

Deputy Commissioner Mokento said Aquaponics is a labor-saving technique, saving traditional agriculture work such as plowing, tilling, and digging, and is therefore appropriate for all genders and many age groups. In addition, he said aquaponics systems can be located inside the home, thereby providing a secure means of income generation and nutritional security, as well as offering an opportunity for income-generating activities.

"This donation by First National Bank of Botswana will complement the efforts the Service has demonstrated in intensifying outreach programs to more extensively gratitudinalize our disabled veteran groups of offenders through a pool of programs that are specifically tailored for different groups of offenders that we have within our establishment. This comes at the right time in the wake of the 4th Industrial Revolution and also at a time to put more effort to achieve Priority 3 of the Reset and Reclaim Agenda," he said.

"Aquaponics is an innovative agricultural technique that combines aquaculture (fish farming) with hydroponics (plant cultivation without soil). This system creates a mutually beneficial relationship between the fish and plants, resulting in a sustainable ecosystem that provides both fresh produce and fish. FNBB's aquaponics project does not only offer nutritional benefits but also presents an educational platform for skill building and rehabilitation."

This is the second donation by the Bank to the Botswana Prison Service in the space of three months. In September, the Service received a donation of information technology equipment valued at P76 689.50, comprising twenty-five desktop computers, classroom equipment, and educational materials from FNB Botswana.

Source: Botswana Prison Service