Africa-Press – Lesotho. The Lesotho Defence Force is currently conducting an outreach programme specifically dedicated to high school students in three of the country’s 10 districts as part of its Civil-military Cooperation Campaign 2021.
The campaign is meant to demonstrate the army’s resolve to make a clear shift from the past and foster relations with the young generation and communities by contributing to social cohesion and reconciliation as part of a nation-building initiative and by exposing the former to the military environment.
This programme is also intended to make students see the present military as a symbol of hope, capable of defending and protecting the sovereign territorial integrity of Lesotho and its people.
Students are also privileged to get rare information on the military structure, organisational role, and availability of various military career options in the LDF, thereby exposing them to youth participation programmes in the national reform agenda.
LDF Public Relations Officer, Captain Sakeng Lekola, said after counselling the youth from the Sekamaneng and Koalabata communities who were notoriously referred to as “Manomoro” several sections of society pleaded with the army to continue with their counselling programme as an ongoing activity.
“So, we found it only prudent to take up this outreach programme,” Lekola said.
“We started this week on Monday and, so far, we have covered four schools in the Mafeteng district and the reason why were choose high schools is because we gathered that a lot of the ‘Manomoro’ were around the ages of 16 and above, which is the high school going age,” the Captain said.
He added they have found a positive response in all the four schools they have covered and they plan to reach eight schools in Mafeteng, Maseru and Leribe.
The reason to kick-start the programme in the three districts, according to the army spokesman, is because since these are in an urban area, they are cheaper to reach and they are still learning about the response they are getting in these current schools before they can decide to venture into other districts and rural areas which need more resources to access.
With reference to the recent past experience on numerous challenges facing the youth, the LDF Command, Lekola adds, is determined to place the students in high schools at the centre of its strategic plans with a view to creating a highly disciplined, patriotic and well-informed breed of citizens.
In order to achieve the above enabling objectives, the students will interact with a number of prominent military career personalities from the LDF to gain knowledge and insight in terms of career opportunities in the LDF and patriotism for their future endeavours and there will be several competitions amongst the pupils, with awards to be won.
The campaign is being conducted in collaboration with numerous stakeholders that are supporting the LDF in its endeavors, namely: the Ministry of Education, Vodacom Lesotho, the Lesotho National Broadcasting Service, Maluti Mountain Brewery, Alliance Insurance, KFC, and other businesses.