Project launched to support women, girls

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Lijeng Ranooe

TOUCH Roots Africa (TRA) Lesotho recently launched a two-year project called Dreams Innovation Challenge, which will provide psycho-social support to women and adolescent girls lacking leadership skills, team work capability and confidence to manage and adapt to the job sector.

TRA is non-profit organisation founded in 2004 that builds the capacity of various stakeholders working to promote child rights and wellbeing. The organisation also provides specialised psycho-social and child protection trainings.

Through its support, TRA contributes to the strengthening of young people’s ability to deal with psycho-social challenges, enhance the ability of Community Based Organisations to effectively implement their programmes, and ensures that local health actors enhance service provision in areas including HIV and AIDS.

Funded by the United States Department of State (DOS), the Dreams Innovation Challenge project, which is managed by John Snow Inc. Research and Training Institute, the Dreams Innovation Challenge targets young women and girls aged between 18 and 24 years who are either in the tertiary institutions or have completed their tertiary education.

The project aims to facilitate HIV, psycho-social support and entrepreneurship camps that will focus on behaviour change communication, provide HIV prevention awareness, resilience building, leadership skills development, peer support decision-making and entrepreneurship skills.

In an interview, the Director of Programmes, Mr Motloheloa Molupe told the Lesotho Times that the project aims to empower a total 800 people in Maseru and Berea districts.

This, he said, follows a realisation that there were many qualified young women struggling to get jobs due to lack of soft skills that can strengthen their chances of being hired. At the same time, the organisation would like to prepare for the job market, girls in various tertiary institutions.

The project will also identify internship opportunities for mentored girls to expose them to the work environment and support gaining of experience. By bridging the gap between tertiary education and employment, the initiative is expected to further boost beneficiaries’ chances of employment.

“The frustration associated with unemployment, despite being qualified can push women into risky activities such as getting involved in sex work,” Mr Molupe said.

To create internship opportunities for the women and girls, Mr Molupe said his organisation will work with tertiary institutions and various companies to support the programme.

Continued monitoring of the performance of beneficiaries on internship will be prioritised to assess progress and address challenges that may arise.

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