By Mpho Shelile

MASERU – Taking on bold challenges such as forming a society that is meant to empower graduates can be quite a struggle, but two endowed siblings took it upon themselves to do so.

One may have heard about graduate programs but have no idea how they differ from graduate jobs or regular jobs, here is a good and handy explanation. While all graduate programs differ somewhat in their structure, they’re all designed as a fast-tracked career pathway for a specific organisation or industry. You’ll be offered industry-specific training, professional development, and networking opportunities as you consolidate the theory you’ve learned and put it into practice in a real employment situation. Many graduate programs also offer the opportunity to perform multiple roles in an organisation on a rotating basis, giving you more exposure to a range of different jobs within your chosen field.

“Getting a job after completion of studies is every graduate’s expectation, but when years go by and you are still job hunting, the feelings of futility and despair arise. These prolonged feelings result in depression. In order to overcome these aforementioned problems, the two National University of Lesotho alumni, Mrs.  Lerato Kolisang-Chaba and Miss ‘Maseabata Kolisang from Maseru, came up with a solution by establishing a Non-Governmental Organization named “Female Graduates Empowerment Network Lesotho”.

This organization aims at empowering female graduates from the age of 30-45 at social and economic level, who have been in the labour force actively searching for employment but in vain, specifically searching for over five years and above. The rationale behind this age limit is because many opportunities such as trainings, attachments/internships and scholarships are offered to people below 30 years of age. Furthermore, many sponsors have much interest in assisting people who have already established their businesses, living aside the ones with viable business ideas.

Female Graduates Empowerment Network Lesotho is therefore of the view that this selected age criteria, still has potential to be independent business women who can perform as efficiently as the age group catered for by other development organizations. “Our organization is distinguished among others in that, it believes in these people and is going to assist them by putting their knowledge and talents in use, especially those who have not established anything but have viable business ideas and are ambitious. This organization is going to assists them in realizing their full potential and achieving financial success. This will be achieved by the creation of empowerment programs that will result in sustainable business ventures”, said Mrs Kolisang.

There is also a need to equip women with digital programming skills. These skills facilitate entry into the labor market in the Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM), specifically, in the 13 Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector, a sector with great potential to offer high salaries and where women are usually underrepresented. Consequently, women with programming skills will have greater opportunities for economic success. The economic empowerment of women is key because of the positive spillover effects for society. Women tend to allocate a higher proportion of their income than men for the health and education of their children. Therefore, investing in the education and employability of women is essential to increase human capabilities.

Despite the need to economically empower women through education and the efforts of the last decades, there are still great challenges to face. Although a regulatory framework that protects and promotes the social and economic rights of women is the first step, it is still not enough. These efforts must be part of a comprehensive approach with articulated efforts between the government, the business sector, academia, international organizations, NGOs, and civil society. In addition, policies and programs to address this issue must not only be replicated to the latter at the global level. Instead, interventions must be tailored to the local context of communities

She therefore emphasized that, if one decides that a graduate program is a right way for them to start their career, they are pleased to announce that the first empowerment program is underway and applications for the program are going to be open soon. Those who are interested to be members, membership is open for the year at a cost of M100 annually. Female Graduates Empowerment Network Lesotho is available on social platforms like: Facebook, Twitter @FemaleLesotho and WhatsApp number: 68883957