#Top5atFive: Here’s what’s happening in Lesotho and around the globe

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From International Youth Day to a Mozambican port seized by Islamist militants, here’s a wrap of a few local and global headlines ahead of the weekend.

1. Local headlines

The role of young people in solving problems in their communities came under the spotlight as Lesotho joined the rest of the world in marking International Youth Day in the midst of a global pandemic on Wednesday, August 12.

According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), young people have been frontline responders to the Covid-19 pandemic, mobilizing across the world. They are health workers, activists, innovators, and social and community workers. To reach and engage young people during this pandemic, we must share information, clarify misinformation, and we must equip them to take action to contain the spread of the virus. We must validate the leadership of young people and uphold their human rights.

UNFPA, the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency, listens to the voices of young people and supports their meaningful participation in decisions that affect them. “Last week, UNFPA spearheaded a global #YouthAgainstCOVID19 conversation. Young people everywhere are encouraged to upload videos that highlight their actions to combat the pandemic and to share lessons about how they are charting new paths forward for their communities. 

[Lesotho marks International Youth Day, The Reporter]

2. Local headlines

Earlier this week the Development for Peace Education (DPE) oversaw the talks with the representative from the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET), National Manpower Development Secretariat (NMDS), Student Representative Council  (SRC) representatives and the Ministry of Development Planning over modalities of online learning it be inclusive in the tertiary schools.

DPE’s Peace Education Researcher Thaabe ‘Moso said the discussions were borne out of their working relations with the SRCs since last year. He said the DPE convened the meetings as the MoET was “quiet.” He said the DPE’s part was to create a platform for engagements. “We do not hold a firm position on whether the schools should open or not.”

‘Moso said it was agreed that this issue be discussed and the SRCs representative submit their plan to the National COVID-19 Secretariat (NACOSEC). Summing up, he said the task force in which all stakeholders was set and will apply their minds on the tertiary schools learning needs in the next two weeks.

The SRC President at Lerotholi Polytechnic, Ts’oloane Thaanyane said they want the online learning gap to be closed in order to accommodate all tertiary institutions. He went on to say that the schools higher learning institutions should have the online learning platforms like the National University of Lesotho and with advanced servers to handle high-volume data.

As e-learning requires tools, he urged the NMDS to increase their monthly stipend so that each student can be able to have either a laptop or tablet and the money to buy data.

[Stakeholders discourse over e-learning, Informative News]

3. Global headlines

Mozambique says its troops are fighting to regain control of the key port of Mocimboa da Praia, following multiple reports that it had fallen to Islamist militants on Wednesday. The city is near the site of natural gas projects worth $60bn (£46bn).

The military says there is ongoing action to “neutralise” the Islamic State group-linked militants, who have been using local people as shields. Dozens of soldiers are reported to have been killed, and a patrol boat sunk, while the army says it has killed about 60 militants.

BBC Africa correspondent Andrew Harding says the loss of the city was a serious blow to Mozambique’s military, who are struggling to contain a growing rebellion in the gas-rich province of Cabo Delgado.

Earlier this week IS claimed, though its own media channels, that it had taken over two military bases near Mocimboa da Praia, killed Mozambique soldiers and captured weaponry, including machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades.

[Mocimboa da Praia: Mozambique battles for port seized by IS, BBC]

4. In lifestyle

The 2020 Motul Roof of Africa rally which was scheduled for November this year was indefinitely postponed due to Covid-19 restrictions which have resulted in the closure of borders between Lesotho and South Africa. The event was initially slated to start on the 18th November, running to the 21st November 2020 in Maseru, and it was planned to have three classes (Gold, Silver & Bronze).

The organisers say they cannot, at the moment, confirm that the border will be opened for the staging of the Motul Roof of Africa on 18 – 21 November 2020. “We have not yet decided on a new date, but one will be confirmed within the next two weeks.”

[Roof of Africa Rally called off, The Reporter]

5. What we’re reading

Today’s reading recommendation is a short, thought-provoking article about the nature of happiness. The writer asks, “How would it help if we tried to define happiness for ourselves? Is it the overall achievement of goals that we set out for ourselves? Is it a general satisfaction with our lives? Or is it simply the absence of negative emotions?” We think it’ll be a great weekend read. 

[The truth about happiness…, Medium]

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Matlhabeli Molaoli
Matlhabeli is a reader, an Afro-feminist and a firm believer in the power of human-centered design to create lasting social-economic impact. She is a rising junior at Smith College where she majors in both Biochemistry and Anthropology and also dabbles in venture consulting for the local start-up ecosystem. Matlhabeli also enjoys dialogue so she has spent much of her time attending, speaking at and organising TEDx conferences in both Lesotho and South Africa during her time as a student at the African Leadership Academy.