The Department of Youth in the Ministry of Gender and Youth, Sports and Recreation together with stakeholders have been urged to quicken preparations for Youth Summit envisaged to take place in September 2021.

This came up during the stakeholders meeting held virtually on Tuesday to discuss issues relating to youth unemployment and the proposed Youth Summit. This meeting was organised by the Prime Minister’s  Delivery Unit in collaboration with the Accountability Unit as well as the Ministry of Gender and Youth, Sports and Recreation.

Addressing participants during the meeting, the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Gender and Youth, Sports and Recreation, Dr Mamoeketsi Ntho commended and thanked all stakeholders for their participation in meetings of this nature as they are intended at pursuing youth development and empowerment.

Dr Ntho noted that it is her ministry’s role as a government agency to create an enabling environment, facilitate and coordinate the engagement of other stakeholders and the private sector in the development of youth in the country.

Giving a brief during this dialogue, the Director Youth in the Ministry of Gender and Youth, Sports and Recreation, Mrs. Lipalesa Lesenyeho said the Ministry established an interim committee or a task team which she said was endorsed by the Cabinet.

The task team which she noted serves as a link between the department and youth, is made of nine members drawn from Bacha Shutdown, Opposition parties, Coalition government, Christian Council of Lesotho (CCL), Higher Learning institutions and SMEs to mention a few.

She noted that the task team was established because the department could not operate in a vacuum due to the absence of structures like the National Youth Council as the first elected council could not complete its mandate due to court cases that took three years until their term in office expired hence the task team.

Mrs. Lesenyeho said the Task Team is mandated to support the department in the finalisation of the National Youth Development Bill, support department in preparing for the elections and youth unemployment.

She added that in 2015, the ministry was advised to review and develop the new policy that was adopted in Parliament in 2017, saying this 2017-2030 policy is meant to improve the livelihoods of Basotho youth.

Giving her presentation, the United Nations Representative, Ms Nishimura Eriko said they aim at engaging youth in different platforms nationally, regionally and globally to voice out their views.

Again, their aim is to empower youth with comprehensive sexuality education both in and out of school and social behavioural communication change using different platforms.

She noted that 200 youth are to be trained on marketable trade in the districts of Mafeteng, Mohale’s Hoek, Quthing, Qacha’s Nek and Leribe.

She added that youth will receive business training, start-up kits and capital to start their business or increase their employability.

In his comments, the Economic Advisor to the Prime Minister, Dr Maluke Letete said the country is confronted with triple burdens that include unemployment, COVID-19 and Economic Recession that was never experienced before.

He said the ministry has a programme intended to create temporary employment for the youths, saying these programmes focus on public and civil works component, apprenticeship component as well as business development creativity and innovation projects component.

Dr Letete said the programme also aims to consolidate the previous intervention targeted at addressing the youth unemployment crisis, saying it targets youth placements of 37 000 over a period of three years.

When rapping the discussions, the Head of Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit, Mr. Chaba Mokuku urged all stakeholders to work together in ensuring that the proposed Youth Summit becomes a reality, urging for transparency and inclusiveness in all processes that include youth.

Again, the task team which the ministry has agreed to beef up whenever there is a need as per youth request has been urged to use different platforms to disseminate relevant information and reach out to all youth.

By Staff Reporter: ‘Maphoka Loikotsi

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