Over 500 Students trained in total since 2015; 164 graduated this year; five institutions of higher education involved and 12 modules covered – the Student training for Entrepreneurial Promotion (STEP) in Lesotho is an outright success!
From Left: Secretary General with Minister of Youth, Honourable Rethabile Marumo, Florian Schmitt from German Commission for UNESCO and the Lerotholi Polytechnic Rector - Dr. Mpooa.
For the development and the advancement of Lesotho, it is vital that young Basotho contribute to shape the country and find employment. However, despite many well-trained young professionals, they find the labour market in Lesotho as quite tense. The government also find it difficult to absorb new graduates in the public service. This has resulted in a high rate of youth-unemployment.
The Lesotho National Commission for UNESCO is committed in tackling this issue by making young professionals aware of other career options such as self-employment. Thus, in February 2015, a programme called “Student Training for Entrepreneurial Promotion” (STEP) was introduced in Lesotho. Aimed at changing the mind set of university students from job seekers to job creators and become entrepreneurs – STEP is a project by German Leuphana University, coordinated by the Lesotho National Commission for UNESCO and funded by the German Commission for UNESCO.
STEP Trainees 2017
The programme has been a full success ever since its implementation in Lesotho. On Wednesday 13th December, the 2017 STEP intake success was celebrated in a graduation ceremony held at Lehakoe Recreational Centre in Maseru. The relevant stakeholders didn’t let the opportunity pass to congratulate the graduates on their success. The event was grassed with the presence of the Deputy Minister of Youth, Honourable Rethabile Marumo, and also in attendance was a representative of the German Commission for UNESCO Mr. Florian Schmitt.
In her opening remarks, Secretary General of the Lesotho National Commission for UNESCO, Ms. Palesa Montsi, highlighted the long-standing and successful cooperation with the German National Commission for UNESCO and stressed UNESCO’s mission for peace-building, sustainable development and education, which are all promoted through programmes like STEP. The importance of entrepreneurship for the future of employment was emphasized by Dr. Mpooa, the rector of Lerotholi Polytechnic as well as Florian Schmitt. Coming to Lesotho for the first time, Florian Schmitt was not only stunned by the beautiful landscape of the Mountain Kingdom, he also talked about plans to establish STEP as a long-term project for capacity-building in Lesotho.
STEP trainees were also afforded an opportunity to speak as well, to report about their experiences. Similarly STEP trainees from the past years were also given the opportunity to provide testimonies as well as presenting their successfully established businesses, which they managed to build up because of STEP.
Minister of Youth representing Minister of Education in the handover of STEP Certificates
In closing, the Minister handed out certificates to all the graduates and once again highlighted the importance of an entrepreneurial mindset. She thanked all the institutions who helped in the implementation of the program, universities/colleges in Lesotho, Leuphana University, Lesotho National Commission for UNESCO and the German National Commission for UNESCO.