Stories and podcasts Spotlight Feature Spotlight Feature: Lesego Gaetwesepe Name: Lesego Gaetwesepe Age: 25 Country and Location: Botswana-Gaborone Area of interest in International Development: Human Rights, Women’s rights Twitter Handle/Social Media accounts: Facebook-Lesego Liz Gaetwesepe, Instagram [email protected]_am_favored_94 Website: Organisation/affiliations: Gogontlejang Phaladi Pillar of Hope Project Background – Tell us a little about yourself? I am a young lady passionate about driving change within my community. I am a volunteer at a youth-led organisation dubbed Gogontlejang Phaladi Pillar of Hope Project and I also represent the organisation as a national coordinator at the Pan African Youth Network for Building a Culture of Peace. Furthermore, I am also one of the two Africa Regional correspondents for the Commonwealth Student Association, a freelance writer and have also submitted articles for the Law Blog, International affairs. Moreover, I also served as a local expert for the World Bank Group (Women, Business and the Law) Report of 2018. Tell us about your area of work? I advocate for the rights of women and explicitly express myself through submitting articles. Through this, I was granted the opportunity to be part of the group discussions on HIV/AIDS Prevention amongst young people coordinated by NACA and the Age of Consent project which was aimed at collecting views amongst young people and also at urging stakeholders to harmonise the laws on the legal age of consent. What issues do you consider to be the most prevalent to women and young people in your country? Gender-based violence, lack of external support by stakeholders towards youth organisations and projects. What programmes are currently operational in your country and do you think they are working? If yes why, if no why? And what could be done better? There are programmes such as YALI, affiliated with the US embassy aimed at promoting youth leaders and at ensuring that the capabilities and talents of young people are fully incorporated. Through this programme, many young people are able to harness their skills and use them to come up with ideas in order to curb narrative and social impediments within their societies-enabling the recruited young people in Botswana to execute their projects and ideas as solutions. What do you think is the biggest obstacle that needs to be overcome in the field of International Development? Exclusion of young people, lack of safe spaces for youth participation (including the displaced, marginalised and disabled young people). What do you think are some solutions to these problems? Creating safe spaces at grassroots levels for youth participation in civic, governance and policy making platforms. Establishing synergies between youth organisations and stakeholders Implementation and adoption on Youth Policy Frameworks within different states Strengthening the rule of law within different states Accountability and holding stakeholders accountable What makes this sector so special for you? As research has unravelled, the future of Africa lies solely with young people not only because they establish the majority of the population in Africa but also because their innovative ideas and talents are the very over arching factors towards establishing the Africa we want. Therefore, it is imperative to strengthen youth inclusion at different levels and ensure that not only are the voices heard but that they too spearhead the future of the continent. Therefore, this sector is important for me as it enables me to give young people a voice and also be exemplary to many young people to also take on the wheel and be the force this continent needs What future progress in International Development – regionally, across the continent, or even for your own personal future – excites you the most about this sector? The adoption of the AU Agenda 2063, which entails how young people envision the future of Africa. I therefore believe that through this, we will not only have an Africa we want, but also an Africa driven by young people.