DWF aims to increase Youth and Women-led CSOs participation in Lesotho’s SMME ecosystem

Putting Youth and Women at the Centre of Inclusive Economic Growth (PYWIEG) is a three-and-a-half-years programme funded by the European Union Delegation in Lesotho under the Grant titled ‘Civil Society Organisations as Actors of Governance and Development. The global objective of the call is to strengthen Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and support genuine and equitable partnerships within CSOs to empower them and invest in their capacity development.

INTRODUCTION

Democracy Works Foundation (DWF), in partnership with the Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), is implementing the ‘Putting Youth and Women at the Centre of Inclusive Economic Growth’ (PYWIEG), a programme earmarked to be implemented in the Butha Buthe, Leribe and Maseru districts. The programme aims to increase Youth and Women-led CSOs’ participation in Lesotho’s Small Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMME) ecosystem and in decision-making processes at the community and district level.

This will be achieved through two priority areas:

  1. Supporting Civil Society Organisations in initiatives that promote youth participation and empowerment at district and national levels;
  2. Strengthening Women CSOs capacity and ability to participate meaningfully and effectively in decision-making processes.

The SMMEs sector is recognised for its massive potential to absorb women and youth into Lesotho’s economy and is a significant driver of inclusive economic growth. Recognising the vital role SMMEs can play in facilitating gender and youth inclusive economic growth in Lesotho, DWF and FIDA aim to develop and support CSOs to participate meaningfully in government decision-making processes. The overarching aim is to fully integrate the inclusion of women and youth enterprises in the government’s work programme.

The programme will also facilitate an enterprise support ecosystem that encourages and promotes the participation of women and youth through multi-sector cooperation through the enterprise support portal for district representatives (CSOs, CBOs, Business Development Service Providers). This process will include an online campaign targeted at women and youth-led SMMEs to raise awareness around the services provided by CSOs, government and other BDS providers.

To facilitate a political and economic ecosystem in which women and youth-led enterprises are represented in government decision-making requires democratic governance that supports and encourages inclusive participation.

 

INTERVENTIONS

The support will be undertaken using participatory approaches to ensure that the solutions are responsive and sustainable to ensure the stakeholders’ ownership of the programme. These will include community mobilisation and engagement through community dialogues, focus groups, discussions and interpersonal communication. Capacity building and mentorship programmes will be conducted where the stakeholders, through their different groupings, will undergo training workshops on a needs basis. Community leaders shall also be paired with members of local Capacity Building Organisations  (CBOs) to shadow them and mentor them.

 

THE PROGRAMME GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

Goal:

To increase youth and women-led business participation in the SMME ecosystems of Lesotho.

Objectives:

  1. To build the capacity of women, youth and enterprise development-focused civil society organisations (CSOs) and BDS providers to engage meaningfully in policy decision-making processes.
  2. To build the capacity of enterprise development to adopt gender-aware practices in the services they provide.
  3. To create an enabling environment for local CSOs to participate meaningfully in policy decision-making processes around the economic futures of youth and women; and
  4. Creating an enterprise support ecosystem that encourages and promotes the participation of women and youth through multi-sector cooperation has been developed.

 

TARGET GROUPS AND STAKEHOLDERS

  • Youth and Women-led Civil Society Organisations (CSO)
  • Business Development Service providers (BDS)
  • Local Authorities, Counsellors and Chiefs
  • The Ministry of Trade and Industry
  • The Ministry of Small Businesses and Cooperatives

 

EXPECTED OUTCOMES

It is expected that by the end of the programme, there will be:

  1. An increased capacity of enterprise development-focused civil society organisations (CSOs) and business development support (BDS) providers engaging in policy decision-making processes
  2. An increased capacity of enterprise development to adopt gender-aware practices in their services.
  3. An increased capacity of government agencies to facilitate participatory and responsive enterprise support services
  4. An enterprise support ecosystem that encourages and promotes the participation of women and youth has been facilitated.

 

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For more information on the programme, you can contact the DWF Lesotho project at Kahisano Kolobe

Visit www.democracyworksfoundation.org, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn for programmatic updates as and when they happen.

 

Lerato Maloka is a certified digital marketer, with over 10 years of experience in multi-disciplinary communications.
She has agency experience, overseeing strategic & creative development, and public relations for B2B, Corporate Social Investment (CSI), and FMCG organisations. She describes herself as a digital media early adopter, having worked on digital media campaigns since 2014.

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