Empowering excellence: Three candidates in Namibia and Botswana attain Master Trainer status in the ILO Start and Improve Your Business packages for AWOME programme success


AWEMO master trainers

The AWOME programme in Botswana has been running since 2018 and has over this period trained thousands of women in the ILO Start and Improve Your Business training packages. Generously supported by the DeBeers Group since the programme’s inception, AWOME equips women who own micro-enterprises in Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa. The entrepreneurs receive the skills needed to run their enterprises, thanks to the important role played by the AWOME trainers using the ILO Start and Improve Your Business (SIYB) training package.

These trainers are equipped with the necessary skills by Master Trainers. The process of training, certifying, and accrediting these Master Trainers is lengthy and rigorous as it aims to produce high-quality, professional trainers of trainers.

A few trainers were selected in Botswana, Nambia, and South Africa to upskill themselves for the important role of equipping trainers who carry out the SIYB training programmes in the respective countries. The package includes the Generate Your Business Idea, Start Your Business, and Improve Your Business modules. The candidates went through vetting, interviews, assessments, and the Training of Master Trainer workshop. Tuyenikelao Dishena was the only successful candidate from the Namibia group. Maitumelo France and Lentletse Mathiba were the Botswana candidates who successfully completed the assessment.

Lentletse is a business consultant at the Local Enterprise Authority in Botswana and has been developing entrepreneurs since 2015. Not only did the Master Trainer programme equip her with the skills she needs to thoroughly equip micro-entrepreneurs and their trainers but also enriched her own personal development. “The truth is that the Master Trainer development process is quite demanding with many hoops to jump through. What going through it did for me is that it solidified to me that with determination I can do whatever I put my mind to. Not only that, but it also empowered me in areas that were not my strength. Finance has not always been my strong point but as I acquired the knowledge through the programme I realized that I’ve developed in that area as well,” added Lentletse.

Lentletse Mathiba watches as the trainers she has been equipping to train women unpack what entrepreneurs need. Photo courtesy of Lentlese Mathiba
AWOME Improve Your Business training session for women entrepreneurs in Okavango sub-district, Botswana. Photo courtesy of Lentlese Mathiba

For Maitumelo France, a programme officer at the Botswana Ministry of Youth, Gender, Sports and Culture, the Master Trainer development process grew her understanding of what it takes to make both the entrepreneur and their business successful. “As a programme officer implementing the Youth Development Fund programme, which is aimed at financing youth businesses, the program brought me to the realization that entrepreneurship development is not all about financing businesses. We need a holistic approach to ensuring that businesses are profitable and sustainable.

With my previous experience, I realized that a lot of SMEs were collapsing or stagnant and the main cause was limited or lack of business acumen. I felt that participating in the Master Trainer program was an opportunity for me to take a leading role in bridging this gap. It is an opportunity to work with the government and relevant stakeholders to find solutions to empower SMEs. This will grow our economies which will lead to the creation of better employment for all and eventually alleviate poverty,” said Maitumelo.

On a personal level, Maitumelo values the impact of the course on her self-awareness and improvement. Maitumelo found the programme not only equipped her for the work she does daily but has helped her step through other doors of opportunity.

Tuyenikeloa Dishena, is the Chief Community Liaison Officer at the Namibian Ministry of Gender, Poverty Eradication, and Social Welfare (MGPESW). "As a former schoolteacher, I enrolled in the Master Trainer development program so I could get an even better understanding of the SIYB content used in the AWOME programmes so we can better help entrepreneurs,” she explained.

Tuyenikelao Dishena (second from left) is the only Namibia candidate who qualified for the Start and Improve Your Business package Master Trainer certification to train trainers of women entrpreneurs. Photo courtesy of Tuyenikelao Dishena
From left: Sibongile Sibanda (Senior ILO Master Trainer Developer), Tuyenikelao Dishena, Alex Shinana (master trainer candidate), Beartha Muhimba (master trainer candidate), and Mamodishe Sebati (UN Women Programme Associate).  Photo courtesy of Tuyenikelao Dishena

Although going through the Master Trainer development process demanded additional time and effort from Tuyenikelao because of her work commitments, she found the process enriching to her career and personal development. “On a personal note, doing these trainings made me come alive and I thoroughly enjoyed the process,” she said.

Her hope is to build up and empower other trainers who will walk the journey with entrepreneurs. “There are quite a few ministries here in Namibia that have entrepreneur development as part of their mandate. But often that only looks like providing funding and resources, without equipping the business owners. I would like to build trainer capacity so that we can offer our entrepreneurs more than financial assistance because that is not all it takes to build a successful enterprise,” concluded Tuyenikeloa.