The Lesotho Red Cross Society (LRCS) Secretary General Mr. Kopano Masilo congratulated the Communication Youth Volunteer Ms. Sma Phethoka to have been selected among 700 youth who have taken part in the IFRC Limitless Youth Innovation Academy which commenced in June this year.

The Secretary-General of LRCS expressed how proud he is as a person and as a National Society. He thanked Ms. Phethoka for having heeded his plea to enter the competition.

“Now the sky is the limit. Management please assist Sma where ever she may need support” Mr. Masilo said.

He expressed how proud he is for the effort and informed that although he had asked other youth to enter the competition, only Sma tried.

“This will also be a motivation to your fellow youth to also participate in projects like this,” Masilo applauded.

According to Mr. Masilo, a congratulatory email was received from Mr. Xavier Castellano; the Under-Secretary-General for National Society Development and Operations Coordination (NSDOC) at IFRC head office in Geneva Switzerland.

The email read “I am very pleased and honoured to inform you and to congratulate you for your leadership, and for the display of the high quality of volunteers that you have. The selection committee has selected some of the youth proposals from your National Society to proceed through to the next stage of the initiative.

The young people selected will have more opportunities to develop their idea further and receive support from mentors and experts. The youth will also receive small funding grants of 500 CHF which is about M7700.00 to begin to help them develop their ideas further.”

On the other hand, Castellanos thanked Masilo saying, “I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you on your leadership to engage and motivate the youth within your National Society to continue to think out of the box and develop innovative ideas that can benefit their communities, truly resonating with the IFRC Strategy 2030 of the importance of local action. With your vision and continued support, the young people within the National Societies will become drivers and leaders of change.”

“Good things happen to us when we least expect them. Since this was a global challenge I never believed I could grab this opportunity,” said the proud winner Ms. Sma Phethoka.

Phethoka expressed that when she heard of this opportunity, she was not moved especially when she noticed that there were a lot of people from different countries who submitted their innovation stories.

“I then decided to submit my story addressing problems that have been brought by the COVID 19 Pandemic in my community at Tsenekeng in Semonkong . I had to take two separate videos. In the first video, I had to introduce myself, and then address the problem that I wanted to focus on, while in the other video I had to address ways in which the problem could be solved”

My assignment will focus on creating awareness about COVID19 in my community since it is one of the hard-to-reach areas that either receive messages late or don’t receive them at all.

“We do not have electricity and radio signals are very poor. This means we are cut off from the rest of the world and yet some of us still go to town or city to do chores. How do we know if these people are bringing the virus into our village? We have to make sure everyone is aware of the virus and how to take care of oneself”, Sma continued.

Phethoka, on the other hand, explained that the day she took those videos, she locked herself up in the office, because she did not want anyone to interrupt. She added that she did not tell anyone about the videos because she did not want anyone to know when she does not succeed.

This opportunity was open for youth of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. The youth had to come up with problems that people in their communities are facing due to COVID 19, and then come up with solutions to the problems.