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Tsoelopele Women’s Hub launched

By Liapeng Raliengoane

MASERU – With the objective to provide a platform for women in various business sectors in Lesotho, to connect, engage and contribute to the transformative roles of women in Lesotho’s economy, as well as empower other women, girls and females with disability in the country, Tsoelopele Women’s Hub (TWH) was launched in Maseru on Thursday.

The launch went on under the theme: “Advancing women leadership, entrepreneurship, economic empowerment and financial inclusion.”

Speaking at the event, TWH Secretary General ‘Manthati Phomane said Tsoelopele Women’s Hub is a non-profit and non-governmental organization that was founded in April 2021, and registered in February 2022 under the Societies Act 1966 in Maseru, Lesotho.

TWH Chairperson Mojabeng Matsau indicated that women are mothers, sisters, daughters, neighbours and friends.  She said TWH’s aims and objectives are to network nationally, regionally and internationally with organizations alike, through the promotion of women leadership and entrepreneurship initiatives for women and girls, while advocating for access to finance and financial literacy.

“TWH believes that women’s collaborative initiatives, networks and programs are fundamental to the growth of any economy, and so it is our desire to be a core part the local society culture known as “mekhatlo ea bo mme” where women support one another (“ba tents’ana lithethana”) and advance each other’s growth in different facets of life,” she said.

Matsau also pointed out that TWH will among others prepare girls for careers from a very young age. She indicated that TWH’s key objectives are aligned to and give effect to achievement of the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goal 5 – Achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls.

“We aspire to achieve: Promotion of women leadership and entrepreneurship, Promotion of different development programmes for women and girls, Advocacy for access to finance for women and financial literacy programmes. Our Network is open to Individual members, Organization members, local non-governmental and community based organization,” Matsau added.

Graca Machel Trust Expert Leaders Group (ELG) Convener ‘Mathabo Makenete said “We talk a lot about barriers to women’s financial inclusion, but the time is now, for us to really explore these challenges and to bring solutions to them. Where we have seen that things are not working as expected, the questions we should be addressing now, are, how as women in all spheres of life, do we make a difference for the better?”

“You will be surprised if you read through the latest Finscope Survey report of 2021, comparing results from 2011, to realize that actually, women are not as financially disempowered, as   we would like to believe. As at 2021, of the total population of 2.1 million in Lesotho, 51% were women, 87% of adults are financially included. Among the reasons is that 82 % of Basotho own a mobile phone, an increase in mobile money transactions drove the financial inclusion figures up, from   2011   to   2021,   both   formal   and   non-formal   financial inclusion increased, 85% of women have access to at least one formal   financial product, 93% of women are financially included as   compared to 89% men, though women are less banked,” she added.

As stated on the press release by TWH, the essence of Tsoelopele Women’s Hub, is to be an advocate for varying facets of women’s economic empowerment by amplifying women’s movements to engage regulators and key players in financial services sector for financial inclusion. This will open up opportunities to seek ways in which women can access finance and markets for their businesses, in addition, to contributing to a gender inclusive financial sector that places women at the core of change.