Youth Represent Lesotho at the 10th UNESCO Youth Forum in Paris, France

By Nvulane Nhlapo

Zwelithini Matsoso
Zwelithini Matsoso

25 year old entrepreneur, youth development practitioner and civic leader Zwelithini Matsoso was selected by UNESCO Headquarters alongside 3 Southern African and 52 other encouraging young leaders from the rest of the world to participate at the 10th UNESCO Youth Forum that was held at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France  from the 25th to 26th October 2017.

“The UNESCO Youth Forum is a two-yearly event that was incepted in 1999 with a plan to give youth an innovative platform to discuss pressing youth issues related to UNESCO’s competence areas. The forum brings together expert youth from across the world to guide UNESCO’s youth actions during the next biennium of which the same guidance’s are compiled into a white paper of recommendations the same documenting pressing youth issues of today, recommended actions and priorities which were represented to the 39th Session of the General Conference.” Says Matsoso

The Lesotho National Commission for UNESCO has a dedicated Youth Desk meant to respond to youth issues on a national level, and Matsoso is the Executive Vice President.

Since the inception of the Youth Desk in Lesotho, Matsoso has pointed out that the Youth Desk has been very crucial in many other projects contributing to the development of the National Youth Policy (NYP) which has been completed in 2017.

The NYP is the government’s and youth’s long term vision on youth development. He emphasized that the Youth Desk is the front desk of youth to be engaged in UNESCO’s activities and to also deliver their recommendations to.

Since 1999, the UNESCO Youth Forum have provided an innovative, ongoing opportunity for youth to work in dialogue with UNESCO, to shape and direct the Organization’s approach and to present their concerns and ideas to Member States.

Every two years, young women and men come together at UNESCO’S Headquarters in Paris for several days of debate and discussion about pertinent issues related to the Organization’s fields of competence.

Zwelithini Matsoso has since 2016 been supporting as a volunteer the Lesotho National Commission for UNESCO serving as the Vice President and Youth Development Ambassador of the resident UNESCO Youth Desk.

His work within the Commission is to direct the leadership of the Youth Desk. He is the Chief Contact person for the Youth Desk and acts as a trustee in ensuring that youth are Civically engaged in UNESO’s work, policy formulation and review.

His career within the Commission started in 2014 whilst serving as the Treasurer General to the UNESCO Youth desk, then his duty was to direct the financial management and management of resources of the institution.

Returning from Paris France, Matsoso says he will continue deepening advocacy for the course of youth development; ensuring that youth are engaged in decision making, National Youth Council speedily established, youth representation in parliament and senate be increased through a preferential zebra system for equality purposes, youth entrepreneurship be fueled through cutting red tape that exists in registering a business, this being in terms of fees, and establishing a youth entrepreneurship finance facility so as to create jobs.