Youths challenged on SDGs

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The African Book Club Members at the Meet-Up session at Moshoeshoe park

Mamohlakola Letuka

TECHNOLOGY for Economic Development (TED) managing director Mantopi Lebofa has challenged the African Book Club to play a more active role in the development of clean energy and sustenance of the country’s biodiversity as a means of attaining the Sustainable Developmental Goals (SDGs).

Ms Lebofa made the call during the Book Club’s monthly meet-up session at UNESCO Library early this week.

The Book Club is a subsidiary of National Students Guidance Programme (NSGP) whose aim is to empower youths by identifying ways to improve their economic status and overall morale towards contributing positive change in Lesotho.

It was formed in 2016 by a group of Maseru youths with the aim of sharing books and holding discussions on socio- economic development issues.

Addressing the recent meet-up session, Ms Lebofa said literate youths had a social responsibility to promote the use of clean energy by spreading awareness about climate change issues or Sustainable Developmental Goals (SDGs).

“You are fortunate to know that there are SDGs, so use the knowledge to help illiterate people,” Ms Lebofa said adding, “People are impactful either positively or negatively, so why not impact positively and protect the environment that you live in?”

“It is our responsibility to develop this country so use your projects to benefit future generations.”

She said through ignorance, the public sometimes made the wrong choices such as relieving themselves and littering which contaminated water sources resulting in the spread of diseases which cost lives.

She challenged the youths to utilise international commemorations such as the annual tree planting days to advance the sustainability agenda.

Ms Lebofa recounted her childhood experiences where she and others in her community fetched firewood on a daily basis without planting new trees to replace those they cut down.

She said such deleterious practices continued to this day, leading to desertification and the destruction of the ecological system which ultimately prejudiced future generations.

Mantopi Lebofa, TED Founder at the African Book Club Meet-up

She therefore called for remedial action to ensure the sustainability of biodiversity through the planting of indigenous trees which were also a source of medicinal herbs.

“The future generation has as much right to those plantations as we do, hence it is important to sustain our indigenous plants and try by all means to not upset the balance,” she said.

For his part, event organiser, Mziwakhe Makhaya said the session was prompted by the need to ensure that youths overcame their challenges of translating their theoretical intelligence into concrete actions that helped advance the sustainability agenda.

“As the youth we have academic intelligence but we seem to be struggling to take action and responsibility to make changes we want in our societies,” Mr Makhaya said an interview with the Lesotho Times.

“I noticed that pollution is one of the problems in Maseru and by educating the youth about its effects and encouraging them to mobilise their neighbours to stop littering, we are actively taking part in solving the problem.”

A participant, Neo Kabi welcomed the platform, saying it enabled the older generation to pass on useful information to youths.

“There is a need for more platforms like this one to enable older people in the private and public sector to pass their knowledge to youths,” Ms Kabi said.

The participants concluded their session by cleaning up Moshoeshoe Status, commonly known as Sefika Park.

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