The impact of government and non-government organizations’ economic empowerment programmes with respect to poverty reduction and gender equality in Manonyane rural community in Lesotho between 2010 and 2015.
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Poverty, unemployment and gender inequality remain huge global problems despite measures to eliminate the scourges. In Lesotho, poverty and unemployment are particularly endemic in the rural areas. Economic empowerment is a phenomenon that is fundamental for combating the above mentioned social problems, among others. This study set out to evaluate the impact of Government and Non-Government Organizations’ economic empowerment programmes with respect to poverty reduction and gender equality in Manonyane rural community between 2010 and 2015. The study mainly employed quantitative approach while qualitative approach was used only to collaborate it. Quantitative data were collected from a sample of 120 unemployed adults aged between 21 and 64 years with the use of a questionnaire. On the other hand, qualitative data were collected from six Government officials and six NGOs officials using an interview guide. Quantitative data were analysed using Microsoft Excel 2007 and qualitative data were organized into information by sorting it into emerging themes. The study unearthed that the impact of economic empowerment by both the Government and NGOs was very low since an overwhelming majority (80%) reported that they received very little assistance and no assistance at all. Notably, gender equality was ensured when enrolling beneficiaries in those few programmes undertaken in Manonyane as the ratio of unemployed males (57%) to unemployed females (43%.) established in this study agrees very well with the male to female ratio of beneficiaries (56% to 46%). The study also revealed that the unemployed people were facing numerous challenges, including lack of access to the most basic human needs - food, water and sanitation. Moreover, the poverty levels were shown to have increased over the 6 year period, 2010 to 2015. The study recommends that Government needs to institute more stringent measures to monitor the implementation of the economic empowerment programmes in place and to add more such programmes. Unemployed people should use local resources and be more proactive by approaching the Government and NGOs for assistance to tackle poverty and unemployment.