2018 has been a memorable year for Botswana. This has been especially so for the community of Khawa which has continued to benefit from the Khawa Dune Challenge and support from organisations committed to uplifting its people. The BIHL Trust in this vein were among the proud sponsors of the challenge for 2018 which took place this May. The BIHL Trust contributed P30,000 in prize monies for the top three professional riders among the Motorbikes races, Quad Bikes races and members of the Khawa Academy.


In addition to this sponsorship, 2018 marked the completion of the BIHL Trust Khawa Guest House Project. The initiative was a 3-year-long renovation project which the BIHL Trust had pledged to champion since 2015 and included the renovation of the guest house from a 3 bedroomed to a 5 bedroomed building complemented with ensuites in each room. A kitchen and a dining room were also added to the property. As part of its P1.5 million housing project supporting the Presidential Housing Appeal pledged in 2015, the BIHL Trust committed to the Khawa Guest House Project in order to improve the service offering and capacity of the property, which is being run by the community. With the completion of this renovation the property can now earn higher revenues that can be used to benefit the community.  


Said Trust Chairman Major General Bakwena Oitsile, “We have always believed that Khawa is a location full of potential. Considering that this community continues to be the focus of the renowned dune challenge, this is evidence of the fact that our Nation and our landscapes hold touristic gems. We have to as a Nation collectively work together to establish such developments as guest houses and other income generating properties that attract business to our communities. Tourism still remains among the top 3 leading income generating sectors for our economy and a key contributor is the hospitality sector. Considering that accommodation is a thriving service in urban areas, it is the kind of business that can be planted to develop our more rural areas as well. Our commitment to community initiatives comes from our confidence in our people’s potential to be thriving traders.”


Over the years, the BIHL Trust has been succesful with introducing and supporting initiatives that encourage community trade be it working with common groups including small and micro sized businesspeople, senior citizens, the youth or the corporate community. Among them this year included the BIHL Trust Garden Project. This initative also engaged small vendors to grow their vegetables on BIHL Group grounds and sell them to staff. The project continues to be monitored in efforts to grow its reach in the coming years.


On the back of over a decade of working with communities, the BIHL Trust underwent a revised strategic direction in 2017, namely the 2017-2021 BIHL Trust strategy. The revised strategy is geared towards enhancing community projects that align with six areas, namely, Education, Social Upliftment, Economic Empowerment, Public Health, Recreation and Conservation of the Environment. The Trust’s decision came in consideration of factors including the consideration of pressing social needs of Batswana, the extent to which private sector aid is required and communities in which BIHL Group operates where community resources are limited. In addition, the Trust will support projects where the Group can make a sustainable impact in the lives of Batswana. The 5-year strategy sought to also align with Botswana Government’s Vision 2036 and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.


Concluded Major General Oitsile, “The road to the completion of this project had its challenges but we remained steadfast to our pledge and now we are excited at that the Khawa Guest House has increased facilities to generate higher income and open doors for even vendors to benefit. Since having higher guest numbers opens the opportunity for vendors to sell small goods, be it our traditional food, souvenirs or simple items like airtime. It is these establishments that can make a big difference and we encourage other organisations to join us in growing community trade. We look forward to doing more through collaborations that target rural areas especially, in order to uplift these communities for a better tomorrow, whilst supporting Botswana’s national development goals.