The European Union (EU) in Lesotho has provided support to Lesotho's women’s rights organisations to fight for gender justice, gender equality and women's empowerment in the southern African Kingdom.
The multi-lateral organisation has awarded a grant under a financing agreement called the EU Support to Civil Society to the Lesotho chapter of Women and Law in Southern Africa (WLSA). The agreement was signed at the offices of the European Union Delegation to Lesotho in Maseru on 2 September 2019.
Previously, the EU has awarded grants to non-governmental organisations [PDF] in Lesotho under another instrument called the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) The instrument supports actions by civil society promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the elimination of children marriage.
This new grant will support a project led by the WLSA Lesotho called Socio-Economic Empowerment through Gender-Responsive Policies, Legislation and Action. The project aims to contribute towards the development of transformative gender policies and laws, improving knowledge about gender-based violence (GBV) and to the economic empowerment of women, especially survivors of GBV. It will cover activities in all 10 of Lesotho's districts, such as, the reforming of policies and laws that disadvantage women, entrepreneurship training for women running small businesses and research on violence against women and girls.
WLSA Lesotho will work together with other leading women’s rights organisations in the country on the project, namely, the Federation of Women Lawyers - Lesotho (FIDA) and Gender Links Lesotho (GLL).
The Lesotho National Council of Women (LNCW), the Women’s Law Clinic (WLC), the Migrants Workers Association of Lesotho (MWA-Ls) and the Lesotho Youth Federation will also come on board for the 48 month project.
Representing WLSA Lesotho at the signing were its National Director Advocate Libakiso Matlho and its Programmes Manager Advocate 'Mamosa Mohlabula. Representing the EU at the signing was Programmes Officer Mathe Tau.
A local call for proposals was published by the European Union under the financing agreement EU Support to Civil Society in Lesotho, to which WLSA Lesotho and its partners in the project responded. The agreement to support civil society was signed in February 2018. The EU Support to Civil Society in Lesotho provides support to the Lesotho Council of NGOs (LCN) - an umbrella organisation in the country - with a grant of EUR4.5 million Euros (about 65 million Maloti) in order to increase the organisation's overall institutional and coordination capacity. It also provides support to other organisations through funds allocated under a Call for Proposals.