The Focused Workshop (FW)
Visit the Focused Workshop page for a general description of the FW intervention.
We began the FW intervention in Botswana in early 2010. A central team of trained female facilitators they undertook initial skills workshops for young women in each of the FW sites. We Community contacts, such as social workers and health workers helped to identify suitable young women participants. The skills workshops were generally over three days, leading on to identification of an enterprise for the young women to work towards, assisted by the CIET facilitators. The facilitators visited each FW group at least monthly and had frequent contacts with them in between. Most of the FW groups received further training on conflict resolution, business management and proposal writing. We supported them to register as companies as this is a requirement for most of the government bodies providing grants or loans in Botswana.
The major challenge was lack of cohesion and commitment among the young women, which led to the break up of many of the groups. The CIET facilitators resuscitated the groups where possible or trained new members. The young women’s enterprises were usually very small, such as selling sweets, airtime and fat cakes. Some attempted larger enterprises such as selling fish or setting up vegetable gardens. They found it difficult to meet the requirements to apply for available government grants and loans and required a lot of support to do this.
Some individuals clearly benefited from the intervention and set up successful enterprises of their own. We encouraged them to stay connected with the groups where possible, while also pursuing solo opportunities. Follow up revealed that many of the young women found employment or returned to studies they had previously abandoned. They felt their lives were improved even when they were not any longer persisting with their group enterprise.