By Thoboloko Ntšonyane

MASERU – Designed to, among others, upskill women and youth both in civic space and in business with competencies and knowledge, the Democracy Works Foundation (DWF) training initiative have received thumbs up from the participants.

The two day training was conducted last week in Maseru.

The participants left the training with the sense of urgency that they felt equipped with tools of trade to create impact and address the issues in their different spaces by engaging the policy environment to seize the opportunities that are there for their businesses and organizations.

The DWF’s Monitoring and Evaluation Officer Katiso Mosounyane said the trained is geared towards building capacity of women and youth led enterprises to appreciate the issues around policies on enterprise development, opportunities and also the government responsibility in augmenting the enterprises.

He added: “The purpose of the training is based on the policy formulation, process, compliance, and the overview if the enterprise policy looking at the strategic national policies and programmes mean for enterprises development.

“Priorities were given to the National Strategic Development Plan II (2018/19-2022/23), international instruments, regulations, policies and acts around the enterprise development.”

The European Union (EU) sponsored programme ‘Putting Youth and Women at the Centre of Inclusive Economic Growth’, is implemented by the DWF in concert with Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA).

One of the participants, Themba Phakathi from the Writer Space Africa-Lesotho (WSAL) said the training has exposed him on how the government’s ministries functions and how as non-governmental organisations (NGOs) can interface with them.

Phakathi mentioned that the programme has helped him identify the funding seeking strategy for their NGO.

He further stated that he now appreciates the policy making process.

Asked how the training has helped advanced his work going forward, he said: “Now our organization is going to know relevant steps and offices [to approach] for assistance.”

The WSAL member said he feels that that training has even “over-covered” what was in the brief.

From Centre for Women and Youth Empowerment, Rokoe Lefera said her key takeaways from the training are the opportunities that are there for women and youth to exploit.

Lefera said the training has opened her eyes to be conversant with the laws, policies and regulations to protect and strengthen women and youth in business.

Going forward, she said their organization is going to advance its activities through engaging with programmes that offer youth with opportunities and funding such as the multi-million World Bank sponsored ‘Lesotho Competitiveness and Financial Inclusion (CAFI) project that “aims to facilitate the development of a comprehensive entrepreneurship ecosystem in the country”.

The enterprising Lefera said she learned how to draw up the budget, monitor the progress as well as to report effectively.

Meanwhile, Mosoeunyane said there are trainings slated to run this month and they will focus on enhancing the women and youth understanding of governance operations, processes and entry points of communication with relevant stakeholders.  

The programme covers three districts namely Berea, Maseru and Botha-Bothe.