MASERU – World Vision Lesotho has launched a Community Voice and Actions (CVA) to COVID-19 initiative through the formation of teams in the country’s 10 district – kick-started on Thursday in Sekameng, in Mafeteng.
In the main the CVA teams are meant to enable citizen engagement, education, mobilization and understanding of public policy.
They are expected to increase opportunities for citizen to share information and generate knowledge within their various communities, focused on the performance and reform of public services.
They will further seek to increase opportunities for citizens to actively engage in and influence decisions that affect their lives, and to develop capacity to engage in advocacy to demand answers from those in power.
‘Maseisa Ntlama, Wolrd Vision Lesotho Advocacy and Justice for Children Manager, notes that children are the most vulnerable people on earth who need protection and love, and that in this time that the Lesotho and the world are in grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic they are the most threatened.
And that through the engagement of the CPAs the World Vision, in concert with the World Health Organization and the Lesotho Mounted Police Service Child and Gender Protection Unit (CGPU) will monitor that children’s rights are being protected – working together with village leaders.
The CGPU investigates child labour violations and enforces child labour laws, and offers services to victims of gender based violence.
“As CVAs it’s our job to see that children’s rights are protected everywhere they are. We are going to observe all institution to ensure adherence to COVID-19 rules and regulations in everyday societal practices, and if things are being done inappropriately it is our responsibility as a CVA to report the matter to the government. We are teams tasked with ensuring that the spread of COVID-19 is prevented before it kills Basotho, that is our work,” Ntlama.
As GBV violates human rights and children who are victims of GBV, including domestic violence, are unable to enjoy their rights as their wellbeing is affected it has become pivotal for the organization to ensure children enjoy life in its fullness, she said.
“Our interventions include raising awareness, strengthening reporting and referral mechanisms so that people know who to report to,” she added.
“We link victims to relevant service providers to provide psychosocial supports, help communities to advocate for their rights and take appropriate action against GBC; we promote child participation so that they know their rights and responsibilities and are able to help their peers who face violence,” continued Ntlama.
In the initial meetings, community leaders were taught about the characteristics of a good service in schools, clinics and in all other institutions where children receive service; mainly to observe service provision and advice on improvement is there is such, for the benefit of the children.
The leaders were also were honoured in learning that their views and opinions expressed will be relayed to government as individuals and as a community from the dialogues held; and should expect accountability.
The World Vision CVA initiative is hinged on its driven Gender Based Violence (GBV) project that is focused on ending GBV, child marriage and trafficking; the project entails awareness raising, provision of psychosocial support and provision of food packages to the most vulnerable.
It is funded by the UNFPA, and has, in the advent of OCVID-19 incorporated sensitizing its beneficiaries on COVID-19.
The organization has also adopted an adult and child safeguarding policy interested in protecting the rights of children and adult beneficiaries.