The people of Machaneng love Thabiso Titus Paul, and with good reason. This 25-year-old graduate of political science and economics has shown his home village the power of their potential when it is harnessed and positioned for positive action.
In 2012 Paul founded Machaneng Achievers Association with the objective to empower youth and guide their vision towards a sense of purpose and community building.
Paul explains that over the years, Machaneng Achievers Association has managed to inculcate a mind-set change among villagers; they are now self reliant and proactive.
“Nowadays the people of Machaneng do things for themselves and they don’t just wait for government to do things for them,” says Paul.
Since 2011 Machaneng Achievers Association has promoted education by sponsoring prizegiving ceremonies for academic excellence. Paul has roped in influential people from the Machaneng village to give motivational talks, as well as mentoring and career guidance sessions, for Machaneng learners.
“We want the children to know that they can make it big even if they come from a small village like Machaneng,” he adds.
Through their efforts, academic performance at Machaneng Primary School and Mosikari Community Junior Secondary School has greatly improved.
“Last year Mosikari CJSS managed to beat all other schools in the region in the junior certificate examinations for the first time in history,” says Paul.
Paul has remained a key voice in the debates on relevant issues concerning the youth today. His passion for awareness on gender-based violence has led to Machaneng’s first- ever Integrated Gender Protocol.
“I am working on extending the protocols to other issues such as good governance, youth inclusion and economic empowerment,” says Paul.
He has also been at the forefront of preparations for Botswana’s 50th independence anniversary celebrations and was chosen to speak as a youth representative when the roving torch came to Machaneng village.
“The roving torch has proven to be a uniting force that has brought communities together, fuelling peace, co-operation, tolerance and tranquillity,” he said during his speech.
Paul is also an ardent advocate for youth empowerment, fuelled by a conviction that the youth are wrongfully marginalised and under-represented in the political discourse.
“The youth should be at the centre of the 50th independence celebrations. They should offer unique ideas moving forward and relay the country’s successes to the next generation,” says Paul.