An overview of the challenges faced in the implementation of the national youth policy in Lesotho.
Matsieli, Molefi Lawrence.
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Public policy implementation is central in steering government intentions to provide good governance and better service delivery. Lesotho, like all countries in the developing world, struggles to maintain an efficient policy implementation process to enhance the social and economic development of the citizenry. This deficit prevents citizens from fully benefiting from the outcomes of the expenditure of their public funds and resources invested in programs and initiatives aimed at achieving policy goals. Consequently, it is of crucial importance that policy actors understand an array of dynamics in the implementation process. Thus, this study explored the potential variables that may hinder or aid policy initiatives in order to understand the overall challenges faced in the implementation of the National Youth Policy in Lesotho. A review of the literature unveiled that policy implementation cannot be understood in isolation from other policy stages and so a comprehensive framework was employed. The literature further revealed that policy implementation challenges are not unique to developing countries, but are experienced even in developed countries. The theoretical framework informing the study was the Public Policy Implementation Framework, which considers various factors which affect the implementation process. The study employed an exploratory, qualitative research design. Major findings were gathered from in-depth interviews with officials from the Department of Youth in Lesotho‟s Ministry of Gender and Youth, Sports and Recreation. From the findings, it could be argued that the National Youth Policy suffers from similar challenges to implementation that most of the policies in Lesotho do. These include, but are not limited to, insufficient legislations guiding programs, inadequate resources, paternalism, multi-sectoralism, political uncertainty as well as inefficient monitoring and evaluation. Drawing from the findings, a review of the policy and other subordinating legislation frameworks such as the National Youth Council Act is recommended.