The “Learn to Play” playgroup was established in Kacgae in 2020 to help fill the gaps in the provision of early-childhood education. The feedback we received soon after was that the attendance of children at the playgroup would be bolstered if we could provide some food for the children while they were there for the 3 hour session. Not only would this boost attendance, but it would help the children to concentrate rather than struggling to participate on an empty stomach. After much stakeholder consultation, we decided that it was within our interests to contract the mamas (volunteers from within the community) who run the playgroup to make healthy, balanced meals for the children so that their bodies could be nourished alongside their hearts and minds.
Thanks to our generous supporters we managed to secure the funds needed to provide food for the children for one year, which we were all ecstatic about. Unfortunately, we then hit a proverbial brick wall with the restrictions and qualifications required in order for the mamas to prepare and provide food for the children. In order for the mamas to receive the necessary licenses from the relevant authority to prepare these snacks, it became apparent that they would benefit from structured skills development. Consequently, the restrictions we were facing, became a great opportunity for us to expand our capacity building work with the mamas.
In August, the three mamas from the programme, together with six other community members from three other villages, ventured down to Botswana’s capital city - Gaborone to partake in a 5-day Food Preparation training course. This course trained participants in skills including etiquettes of serving, health and hygiene standards, setting up tables for tea, lunch and dinner, common food handling procedures, as well as several recipes and tips and tricks on cooking, baking, preparing and presenting food. All of the participants absolutely loved the course. Our hope is that with this training, not only will the mamas be certified to prepare food for the students of the Learn to Play playgroup, but they will also have the skills and training needed to develop catering enterprises should they be so inclined, offering CCB (and others) the opportunity to engage them to cater for site level meetings and workshops.