Lesotho’s Ministries of Education and Training and of Health have long recognized the importance of the linkages between them for aiding young people to access youth-friendly health services. Both have used the former’s Extracurricular Risk Reduction and Avoidance Handbook for Youth to assist learners and out-of-school youth to cope with the challenges they face growing up—such as developing positive relationships and protecting their sexual reproductive health and rights (SRHR)—and to improve the situation they find themselves in their communities.

However, the manual has been in existence for some time and the Ministries felt it was necessary to include three new components—modules on nutrition (nutrition in adolescence, household food security, maternal nutrition and nutrition and HIV), climate change and gender-based violence (GBV)—and to update the handbook generally to bring it in line with current trends: hence the workshop. As she explained in her opening remarks, Chief Education Officer–Secondary Mabakubung Seutloali indicated that the aim of the workshop was to align the nutrition content to the CSE manual and the Risk Reduction and Avoidance Handbook, as well as the standard operating procedures.

Workshop participants discuss the handbook

The FutureLife-Now! Programme’s Health Coordinator, Puleng Nthinya, also participated in the review as part of the programme’s community empowerment. She noted that the new modules on good nutrition are important for young people, especially for those who are pregnant, lactating (that is, new mothers) or living with HIV. But in general, the nutritional needs of adolescents and problems leading to malnutrition need to be attended to at this stage of their lives. These modules complement FutureLife-Now!’s strategic objectives of bolstering the education sector’s responses to HIV&AIDS, including through increased access to youth-friendly services related to SRHR (including HIV and the uptake of antiretroviral therapy). FutureLife-Now!’s Country Manager, Rantsane Kuleile, indicated that the programme’s youth facilitators would test the manual to see how user-friendly it is and to give feedback that can incorporated.

At the close of the workshop, the Chief Education Officer–Secondary assured the participants that the GBV content will also be reviewed by the CSE Specialist; once done, the revised manual, with the new nutrition component, will be complete, and can go for final approval within the Ministry of Education and Training.

This review of the handbook by the two Ministries’ will result in a valuable resource that FutureLife-Now!’s youth facilitators can use during their peer education sessions with learners.



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Lesotho reviews its Extracurricular Risk Reduction and Avoidance Handbook for Youth || Introducing components on nutrition, climate change and gender-based violence