The Lesotho Minister of Communications Science and Technology, Mr. Tšoinyana Rapapa handed over the championship-winning award from the World Summit on the Information Society Forum (WSIS) prizes 2022 to the GEM Institute. The award titled *Category 15 – AL C8, Cultural diversity and identity, linguistic diversity and local content champions was awarded to GEM Institute during the World Summit on the Information Society Forum (WSIS) 2022 held in Geneva, Switzerland in May 30-03 June 2022.
When handing over the award, Mr. Rapapa congratulated and encouraged the youth to expand an opportunity to grow a circular green economy using mechanisms that youth understand, such as technology, creativity, and innovation. He noted that the ability of youth to work together with schools and the farming community in rural areas to develop an eco-system of support is a model that is a consideration by all partners. He stressed that Lesotho is faced with a high unemployment rate, saying it is the responsibility of his ministry to lay out a master plan to expand opportunity spaces that accommodate and cater for youth.
He noted that as the ministry responsible for Information Communication Technology (ICT), they take serious note of their efforts as the youth of the country and the ministry will support them to explore ICT opportunities. “It is worth noting that the tour project was amongst the 997 proposals that were submitted and evaluated, and your project came out first, and this shows that Lesotho has the capacity to transform our economy,” he noted. Also speaking, the Lesotho Communication Authority, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr. Nizam Goolam congratulated the Gem Institute, saying this is a big achievement that needs recognition. He encouraged GEM institute to diversify its programs and work with other sectors like agriculture in the country.
On the same token, the Chief Executive Officer of GEM Institute, Ms. Mpho Letima said GEM Institute submitted a concept to 2022 WSIS prizes about the work they do and what they aim to archive using technology and creative cultural industries to build a value and supply ecosystem working with schools, farmers, and youth to address climate change issues and skills. She congratulated her team, saying it was not easy, but they made it. She, therefore, appealed to the Ministry of Communications, Science and Technology to support their initiatives.
GEM Institute is a women-led organization founded in 2015, it offers entrepreneurship mentorship, coaching, and talent management for in and out-of-school youth. GEM had trained more than 10 000 girls and 450 teachers in Coding Week Lesotho through the Africa Code Week program. It held the first annual Girl Tech Talk Conference for 150 girls countrywide. In 2022, it introduced the first Annual Green Arts and Tech Awards for youth and students.
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