Lesotho: DWF and IFAD to launch participatory action research study at PYWEIG Policy Dialogue Cafe

The Federation of Women Lawyers of Lesotho (FIDA – Lesotho) is a leading organization for the rights of women and children in Lesotho. Its primary mandates are to educate, advocate for government, provide legal advice to individuals, and empower women to be empowered and to act for themselves. DWF, in partnership with IFAD, implements the project titled “Placing Youth and Women at the Center of Inclusive Economic Growth (PYWEIG)”, financially supported by the European Union Delegation in Lesotho. The program is implemented in the districts of Butha Buthe, Leribe and Maseru. The project is designed and calibrated on the two priority areas mainly; ‘Support civil society organizations in initiatives that promote youth participation and empowerment at district and national level’ ‘Strengthen the capacities and commitments of women CSOs for participation in decision-making processes. The program aims to increase the participation of youth and women in Lesotho’s small, medium and micro-enterprise (SMME) ecosystem.

Context and objectives

Lesotho’s policy direction, through the National Strategic Development II, is anchored on the pillars of Promoting Inclusive and Sustainable Economic Growth, Building Human Capital and Strengthening National Governance and Accountability Systems (NSDP). II), but women and young people remain on the margins of this development. and decision-making processes. In a generally high unemployment rate, women and youth in Lesotho experience the highest unemployment rates (35% and 30%). The exclusion of women and youth from economic activity breaks the principles of good governance and resilient democracy and renders business development service providers unresponsive and non-functional with financial and fiscal policies that cannot contribute to the economic growth and sustainable development. Participation and inclusion remain concrete pillars to promote sustainable development and economic growth for inclusive economic growth.

In order to facilitate the political and economic ecosystem in which women and youth-led businesses are represented in government decision-making, it is imperative that initiatives that strengthen and support participation are launched. As part of the inception phase of the PYWIEG project, DWF and IFAD conducted Participatory Action Research (PAR) in the three districts targeting business support CSOs, BDS service providers, women-led businesses and young people, local authorities and businesses run by women and young people. CSOs/CBOs should identify priorities, needs and bottlenecks in the business support services they receive, legal and gender barriers that hinder participation and participatory models in planning business plans. district and community action. The study was conducted to inform the design of evidence-based advocacy and interventions in the country.

The study has since been completed and the report is now ready. It is in this context that DWF, in partnership with IFAD, organized a symposium to launch the PAR study report and present the findings of the study targeting relevant stakeholders operating in the sector. The launch will also aim to raise awareness of the barriers, needs and challenges that hinder women and youth-led businesses.

in local and district economic activities to participate more meaningfully in political decision-making processes.

DWF and IFAD will use this platform to identify other areas of coordination between stakeholders for their input and thoughts on business regulation, advice on the best business development support services, gender mainstreaming and governance components to increase participation and inclusion in the business ecosystem. Thus, the second half of the symposium will include a dialogue session that will feature a panel discussion on the challenges and opportunities to reinvigorate collective efforts to place women and youth at the center of inclusive economic growth and to find locally appropriate solutions. . informed and inspired by the findings of the PAR study.

Target group

Study launch and dialogue targets women and youth-led businesses, CSOs focused on enterprise development, women and youth-led CSOs/CBOs, development support service providers companies, government and parastatal ministries, local authorities, the private sector and development partners.

Event details

Avani Maseru, Lesotho on September 2, 2022.

Download the concept note and follow the Policy Dialogues Café on all our social media platforms.

Paul N. Strickland