RWA Lesotho: Addressing the Neglected Voices, Challenges Faced by Women and Youth in Lesotho

By Matheliso Phakoe

As we commemorate African Day this month, it’s imperative to shed light on the persistent challenges faced by two vital segments of our society: women and youth. In Lesotho, the neglect of their needs and aspirations has created a stark reality that demands urgent attention and action. Youth Unemployment Crisis: One of the most pressing issues affecting Lesotho’s youth is the acute unemployment crisis. With limited job opportunities, many young people find themselves grappling with uncertainty and despair. The lack of employment not only stifles individual growth but also hampers the country’s potential for economic development. Urgent interventions are needed to provide avenues for skill development, entrepreneurship support, and job creation tailored to the needs of our youth.

Women’s Struggle for Survival: Women in Lesotho face multifaceted challenges, from economic hardships to systemic inequalities. The absence of viable employment opportunities forces many women to bear the burden of providing for their families single-handedly. Despite their resilience and resourcefulness, they often find themselves trapped in cycles of poverty, struggling to meet the daily needs of their households. It’s imperative to address the root causes of this disparity and empower women through education, economic opportunities, and equitable access to resources. 

Gender Disparities in Development Projects: While the government focuses on infrastructure development, such as road construction, the needs and contributions of women and youth are often overlooked. These projects predominantly employ men, further exacerbating gender disparities in the workforce. Meanwhile, critical sectors like food production are neglected, leading to a collapse in agricultural productivity and soaring prices of food and commodities. It’s time to prioritize inclusive development strategies that actively involve women and youth in decision-making processes and allocate resources to sectors that directly impact their well-being and livelihoods.

Call to Action-As we celebrate African Day, let us not forget the voices of women and youth who continue to be marginalized and neglected. It’s imperative for policymakers, civil society, and communities to come together and advocate for policies and programs that address the unique challenges faced by these groups. Empowering women and youth is not only a moral imperative but also a strategic investment in the future prosperity and stability of our nation.

In conclusion, achieving sustainable development in Lesotho requires a concerted effort to uplift and empower women and youth. By addressing the root causes of their marginalization and prioritizing their needs in policy and decision-making processes, we can create a more inclusive and prosperous society for all.

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