MASERU – Queen ‘Masenate Mohato Seeiso has been appointed a National Champion for UNICEF Lesotho in recognition of her outstanding and enduring work in promoting children’s rights in the country.
In her new role, the Queen will continue her collaboration with UNICEF by concentrating on advocacy efforts to improve education, child protection, health and water, sanitation, and hygiene across the country. In her acceptance letter, she highlighted that children are the future of the nation, and all must do everything possible to make and ensure that they can fulfil their potential. “I look forward to working closely with UNICEF to fulfil the rights of children and young people in Lesotho,” she said.
Queen ‘Masenate has a long history of speaking out on children’s rights, particularly in supporting campaigns against early child marriage, and has been collaborating with UNICEF for more than 10 years. She has long advocated for improved awareness of the importance of menstrual hygiene for young girls. In 2016 she started a project – Hlokomela Banana – to ensure that all girls in the country’s high and secondary schools receive free sanitary towels.
She was also a keynote speaker at the first-ever national Menstrual Health and Hygiene stakeholders’ consultative forum, held by UNICEF, commemorating global Menstrual Hygiene Day. According to 2019 data from the Bureau of Statistics, children in Lesotho account for approximately 39 percent of the population. In 2018 Queen ‘Masenate launched UNICEF Lesotho’s #Early-Moments-Matter-campaign, highlighting the need to invest in the first 1 000 days of a child’s life, through good nutrition, love, play, and health.
“Her Majesty’s advocacy and fundraising work on behalf of children have inspired the nation and we are honoured to have her Majesty join UNICEF Lesotho as a National Champion. Her Majesty has a strong and genuine commitment to children’s rights, and in this role, she will continue her work to communicate to the public, especially young people, the vision and values that guide UNICEF’s work for children.
She will also have the opportunity to urge policymakers to commit to making a better world for children,” says UNICEF Lesotho Representative, Deepak Bhaskaran. UNICEF has been in Lesotho since 1967, serving as the national advocate for children and a trusted government partner for more than 50 years. Their efforts have significantly improved the school enrolment rate – it is near universal at the primary level and has nearly doubled in early education – and have resulted in important policies that facilitate inclusive learning environments for all children.
UNICEF’s work with various government ministries helped to build a sector-wide approach to education. One example is the 2013 National Policy for Integrated Early Childhood Care and Development, which successfully enumerates the comprehensive services including education, protection, health and nutrition, and stronger cross-sector coordination, all of which must be administered in early childhood.
They also provide early childhood educators with comprehensive training before they enter classrooms and after they have begun teaching; creating a specific diploma in Early Childhood Development has also helped convey the importance of this field. Founded in 1946, the UN agency promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child in 190 countries and territories, with a special focus on reaching those in greatest need.
The world’s largest provider of vaccines for poor countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and Aids. UNICEF is funded entirely by voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments