Lesotho

Lesotho MenEngage Network

MenEngage Lesotho is a network of organisations and associations whose purpose is to engage men and boys in all efforts geared towards the promotion and protection of the rights of women and girls. The network intends to facilitate and intensify the involvement of men and boys in advocacy and social mobilisation activities with the ultimate goal of eradicating sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) as a major driver of poor maternal health. The network draws from healthy socio-cultural and medical practices to promote comprehensive solutions that encourage healthy sexual and reproductive health practices that empower women and girls through the support of men and boys.

OBJECTIVES OF THE NETWORK

  • To engage men and boys in the fight against SGBV throughout the country.
  • To use mobile film to generate dialogue on issues of sexual and gender-based violence, HIV/AIDS, crime, alcoholism and drug abuse, poverty and hunger.
  • To use community education methodologies on SGBV, PMTCT, HTC and SRH in rural Lesotho.
  • To engage ex-prisoners and survivors of SGBV in the fight against violence.
  • To create safe spaces for men and boys (men’s clubs and boys clubs).
  • To promote positive masculinities in all spheres of life.
  • To create awareness and create dialogues on the rights of sexual minorities, that is, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex (LGBTI) people.
  • To provide a support base for victims of SGBV.
  • To work with the government in all efforts to eradicate SGBV.

MEMBER ORGANISATIONS

  • Sesotho Media and Development
  • She-Hive association
  • Society for Women and AIDS in Africa Lesotho (SWAALES)
  • Crime Prevention Rehabilitation and Reintegration of ex-prisoners(CRROA)
  • Matrix
  • SAFAIDS
  • Corridors of Hope
  • GEM Institute
  • WILSA
  • LPPA

Addressing HIV in the Lesotho prison system

lesotho-hiv-prisons

The mountainous Kingdom of Lesotho, with a tiny population of just over two million people, is one of the countries of the world that are hardest hit by HIV, with the second highest HIV prevalence after Swaziland. More than 23% of Basotho people, or about one in four people in the country, have HIV. In 2009 there were around 23 000 new HIV infections and approximately 14 000 people died from AIDS-related causes.  Over half of the 260 000 adults living with HIV in Lesotho are women. There are currently more than 200 000 orphans in Lesotho, with most of the orphaned children being due to AIDS.

As in many other countries, there are also a number of key affected populations in Lesotho – one of them being prison inmates. Studies have shown that prisons are a high-risk environment for HIV transmission. Furthermore, prisoners who are already HIV-infected often end up with very weak immune systems because of overcrowded living conditions, stress, malnutrition, drugs and violence that is so prevalent in prisons, making them more susceptible to getting ill. But, in spite of this knowledge, the health and well-being of prisoners is often neglected and overlooked.

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