In its quest to improve the quality of their students’ education, Botho University has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) together with non-profit organisation Rise International, which will see Botho students getting hands-on experience through internships at Rise International.
Relationships Inspiring Social Enterprise (Rise) is a US-registered non-profit organisation that manages the social responsibility program for BOND Events. Rise links aspiring social entrepreneurs in vulnerable communities in low income sub-Saharan African countries to essential resources they don’t otherwise have access to in their local communities.
Resources provided include start-up funding, business skills, and mentorship. By working directly with individuals and their communities in a holistic manner, it aims to develop training and solutions that can address local needs and contribute to economic development.
Botho University Dean and Head of Maseru Campus Abhishek Ranjan said having started out with only 21 students when Botho opened its doors in 2015, 19 of whom will be graduating in February 2020, they always seek ways to give their students the best opportunities.
He indicated that their students are their main source of energy and in the times where education is meaningful, one has to make sure they will not only have a certificate but experience that will lead them to opportunities.
The finance and employability PVC at Botho University Priya Iyer, added that their vison at Botho is to produce employable graduates. She said they work tirelessly to produce graduates that will be able to start their own businesses and also be able to employ others.
She said as the university, they use an industry forum approach to encourage their students. She said in this approach they have industry advisers in every programme that they offer so that their students can get first-hand information from people in the industry they will be working in.
“We would like anyone to give a hand in improving our students. If you are someone already in the industry, you can just approach us and be our adviser on what you would like to see our students achieving when they leave this university,’ Iyer said.
The founder of Rise International Daniela Gusman said they realised the rate of youth unemployment in Africa, that is why they focus on grooming young African entrepreneurs so that they can create their own opportunities and their own enterprises.
Gusman indicated that they took the massive rate of unemployment in Lesotho and paired it with the need of infrastructure development. She said they work with universities that teach environment related subjects and take young graduates who have finished studying but are unemployed, who are hungry for entrepreneurship.
She also said they then partner with communities that need the infrastructure and the graduates get to build and design the development projects as if it was theirs. She indicated that this gives this graduates practical experience.
“We also provide them with business training so by the end of the programme they get their portfolio and they are experienced, and some are ready to start their own businesses. We are looking forward to doing all these programmes with the fantastic team here at Botho University,” Gusman said.