GOAL: To empower participants to become role models, socially responsible citizens and leaders who take positive action for individual and social change.
DEFINITION: The concept of “leadership” can broadly apply to social, political, corporate and education milieus. In the context of its programs, Help Lesotho defines leadership as “taking action for positive individual and social change,” believing that each individual can inspire meaningful change in others. Community contributions can and will vary enormously, in magnitude and impact, depending on age and ability.
Leadership development refers to a progressive acquisition of skills, abilities, experiences and attitudes that foster responsibility and decision making in social contexts. Leadership, whether in formal or informal settings, develops over time with mentorship and opportunities to lead. Key components of leadership development include self-esteem, self-worth, goal orientation, communication skills, facilitation, listening, compassion, and a sense of social responsibility.
DESCRIPTION: As well as delivering leadership-specific programs, various elements of leadership development and training are integrated into all Help Lesotho programs, wherever relevant, to create a critical mass of young people who will take on leadership roles in their families, communities and society.
Leadership programs vary from intensive opportunities for carefully selected youths, to short-term training focused on equipping children and youth with essential skills and knowledge. All of Help Lesotho’s programs include regular references to the value of community contribution and inspiring positive change in their communities. Participants are expected, coached and encouraged to share what they learn and take on leadership roles wherever possible.
RATIONALE: Good leadership is the key to the future of Lesotho society. Lesotho has suffered an enormous loss of productivity and leadership due to high rates of death and illness related to AIDS. There are few parents and role models to guide young people on how to grow up as socially responsible citizens. Given that people learn by example, intentionally or not, building positive role models is a powerful tool in encouraging attitudinal and behaviour change in others. In Lesotho, the devastation of HIV/AIDS and poverty deprive many of hope for the future. By developing youth leaders, entire communities are revitalized. Knowing their communities and their country need them brings new meaning to young lives. Conversely, without support, disenfranchised youth are prone to alcohol and drug abuse, sexual violence and depression. Our leadership motto is LEADERS NEVER GIVE UP!
APPROACH: Help Lesotho focuses on youth leadership programming as a crucial component to the future of Lesotho. With so many adults ill or suffering from HIV/AIDS, youth already act as important role models in their families and communities. By targeting youth with leadership development, and targeting programs to support girls leadership development in Africa, Help Lesotho’s programs indirectly impact far more people than those who directly attend programs or activities.
Positive acts of outreach, no matter how small, contribute to the welfare of others. Although Help Lesotho encourages community contribution that impacts social and political outcomes, small contributions are equally valued and supported.
Support Girls Leadership Development in Africa: Basotho Girls’ Leadership Corps:
The BGLC Program seeks to establish a critical mass of young girls who can stand up for themselves and who provide meaningful peer leadership and advocate for the rights of children and women.
Both boys and girls participate in Gender Conferences which address the consequences of gender inequity and promote both attitude and behaviour change related to gender roles in Africa as youth become agents of change in their communities.
Leaders-in-Training (LIT) Program:
Selected young adults participate in a 3-month intensive training program 4 days a week, followed by 4 weeks of voluntary community engagement. The program has grown each year and now accepts up to 60 young people for the training. The goal of the program is to develop a cohort of young resilient people as peer-to-peer agents of change in their communities. **For Basotho interested in participating in this program in 2016, please click here!
Between 150-200 children are divided into two groups by age and attend an annual five-day Help Lesotho Leadership Camp. They enjoy meaningful learning opportunities, receive nutritious meals and snacks, make new friends and have fun in a safe place. Trained Help Lesotho youth and staff run the activities as examples of local role models in leadership roles. Click to learn more.
Out-of-School Youth Training:
The Out-of-School Youth Training empowers out-of-school youth with the knowledge and coping strategies for positive behaviourial and social change and HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment.
Teachers and principals from partner schools participate in training related to knowledge sharing and professional development at an annual 5-day conference, at both of Help Lesotho’s Seotlong Leadership Centres and in various rural communities. The content of the program is developed as a direct response to educator requests for professional development.
Youth Leader Volunteer Program:
Youth Leader Volunteers support Help Lesotho’s work with orphans and vulnerable children. Volunteers are assigned shifts at each of Help Lesotho’s Seotlong Leadership Centres where they assist with programming and run activities and events. The Volunteers are selected from the graduates of Help Lesotho’s intensive Leaders in Training Program, and they receive a small stipend for their work.