North West District Development Committee
In the early seventies Botswana became very involved in national development plans and the coordination of the different initiatives in the country for its development. One aspect of this was the creation of District Development Committees in all districts of the country which were led by the District Commissioners, and which convened all those organisations that had some bearing on the development of the country. In many cases it was the first time that people from the business sector had formally met those from the non-government community.
In Ngamiland (The North West District of Botswana), as in many of Botswana’s districts there was a dearth of people who could do the leg work of convening District Development committees, collating existing documentation and research about the activities and statistics of the District, and writing reports. Richard Holloway, whose full time job was running the Ngamiland Youth Training Centre, a Brigade (i.e. a vocational training school) was asked by the DC to voluntarily work as the secretary of the District Development Committee.
This provided a marvellous opportunity to become acquainted with decentralised and district planning, and to help in the effort of feeding information about the north West into the Natinal Development Plan.
Secretary to the North West District Development Committee
In 1972 Botswana set up a new system of District Development to feed into the national Development Plan. The idea was that District Development Committees would convene all the important development actors in a district, and would provide a forum for (a) research into the resources and possibilities of a District, (b) coordination between the efforts and initiatives of the government, business, religious, tribal, and non-government bodies in a district, and (c) coordinated and integrated approaches by multi stakeholders for the development of their district.
The idea was fine, but there Were no new cadres of government officials to staff these District Development Committees. Volunteers were sought, and I was requested to be the secretary of the North West DDC. It was most interesting as people who did not normally sit and plan together, were given the opportunity to do so. The North West District’s resources were game (meat and game products), cattle, grain, water (from the Okavango), and people who had been out of the district, received skills, and had come back.
I waa able to do this part time job at the same time as acting as the Coordinator for the NYTC. When I left a CUSO volunteer was amployed full time to take over the post.